News and Stories

The Importance of Spring and Summer Salads

May 15, 2013

Using seasonal ingredients can impact this segment’s sales


A recent article in the March issue of QSR Magazine drove home some points that reminded me how important salads are during the spring and summer seasons. Of course, salads have made quite an impact on menus over the last few years, going from a starter or side dish to bona fide entrée status, but as we continue to explore how this segment can satisfy our customers’ needs, we should remind ourselves that a salad is not a salad is not a salad. While people no longer go to quick-service and fast-casual restaurants strictly for burgers and friesmore than four of every five American adults bought salads in 2011—their expectations have also increased. That’s where our opportunity as foodservice providers comes in. By differentiating our salads with flavorful toppings and dressings, we increase sales while pleasing our guests and attracting new ones. 


What’s in season for spring? Think arugula, asparagus, peas, and ramps. And summer? Go for bold, bright flavors like cherries, peaches, and sweet corn. Classic toppings like carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes can be upgraded with different colors, specialty sizes, or heirloom varieties. Dressings can be made with fruit or vegetable purées to increase the flavor profile as well as reduce the fats and calories of oil. Try options such as avocados, fresh chervil, and radishes in the spring and switch to ingredients like grilled onions, mangoes, papayas, and watermelon for the summer months.


Of course these are just a few ideas that I have been thinking about while working with our fresh produce customers this month. It’s up to each individual restaurant to choose what works for their company culture—but that’s what’s so exciting—more than ever before, there are countless ways to bring adventurous, healthy recipes to the menu with delicious salads.