The Mediterranean is home to a melting pot of cuisines… and opportunities. Adding new flavors from the region can add excitement to the menu as well as benefit your organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals.
With foods from more than 20 countries, Mediterranean options maximize the dining experience. For long-term care communities and healthcare operations, residents, patients, employees and visitors can find common ground through food.
“Food plays an important role in cultural identity and opens doors to inclusion and understanding,” said Gordon Food Service Healthcare Industry Sales Strategist Amanda Goldman.
Your kitchen plays a role
Food may not be the solution to world peace, but it gives kitchens an opportunity to play a leading role in DEI initiatives.
Adding Mediterranean entrees to the menu can increase flavor options and spark cultural curiosity. Applying spices or seasonings to a regular seafood or poultry dish can add fresh appeal that may lead to higher sales.
“A 2021 OnShift Workforce 360 Survey Report showed 89% of healthcare industry professionals said they need to improve their DEI, and 50% said it was a high priority,” Goldman said. “When it comes to mission, vision and values, foodservice can really help achieve those goals.”
In agreement is Gordon Food Service Consulting Chef Nick Gonring, who added: “Beyond the flavors is the diversity aspect. You need to be 100% confident in the ethnicity of the recipes you put forward, and we have recipes ready to help.”
Make Mediterranean exciting
Outside of Greek or Italian foods, many new menu items may be unfamiliar. Once you create new dishes, generate some excitement. Start with vivid menu descriptions and facts about countries where the food is popular.
One popular Mediterranean option is mezze–an appetizer or shared plate that’s a natural for bringing people together around food. Mediterranean-style dining prioritizes making mealtime an event, so encourage people on your team to share stories about their travels and experiences.
Make mealtime more fun and encourage diversity with these ideas:
- Plan theme meals. Set aside a day, week or month to feature one country or region. Prepare information or decorate your space to enhance appreciation for the food and the culture.
- Create a passport program. Get repeat business by creating a booklet that can be stamped when different foods are ordered. Offer a discount or a free dessert for a certain number of stamps.
- Invite suggestions. Welcome staff, residents or retail guests to offer menu ideas. Including those you serve generates excitement and may lead to a new menu favorite.
Mediterranean foods have been around for centuries. Your Gordon Food Service Sales Representative can help you rediscover them as part of your DEI mission.