While the restaurant industry grapples with the new normal and new health and safety guidelines, brands are seeking ways to both improve back-of-house efficiency and to create distinctive menu items consumers will enjoy.
As avocado consumption continues to grow, this popular fruit can help brands stand out and drive operational efficiency, but only if restaurant staff understand how to use it effectively.
In order to help restaurants drive menu innovation and bolster back-of-house operations, Avocados From Mexico has launched a six-part B2B video training series called Avo University.
Here, David Spirito, senior director of culinary and foodservice at Avocados From Mexico, shares one of the most useful and interesting tips from each video.
Even though Avocados From Mexico originate in another country, the fruit’s journey to U.S. restaurants is actually very short, meaning products arrive fresh.
“Consumers are looking for fresh food, but we rarely see avocados called out as a fresh ingredient on menus,” Spirito says. “Avocados From Mexico are delivered fresh to the U.S. within 3 to 5 days.”
Billing avocados as a “fresh” food can help differentiate restaurant menus.
To learn more about how the fruit makes it from farm to restaurant, watch Avocados From Mexico’s The Journey to Market video, which also explains Avocados From Mexico’s commitment to food safety and traceability.
Because avocados are fresh when they arrive at restaurants, it’s up to staff to help avocados age properly so that they hit their peak stage at the right time for the dishes on restaurant menus.
For example, Spirito says, avocados set aside for guacamole need to be fully ripe, so they should skip the refrigerator or cooler. However, if avocados are being sliced and pickled or diced, it’s crucial for staff to know the best way to refrigerate the product.
In the Handling and Storage video, restaurants can learn more about how to manage the lifecycle of the product in-house by thoughtfully storing avocados to maximize time at certain stages of the life cycle.
If you think dishes featuring avocados are best saved for warmer months, think again. Though American avocados are traditionally in season during the summer and early fall, Avocados From Mexico are available year-round.
“The biggest thing we see people miss with avocados is thinking they are only good in the summer,” Spirito says. “We’re always in season.”
Avocados From Mexico’s Blooms, Sizing, and Stages of Ripeness video not only teaches restaurants about the fruit’s bloom cycle, but it also teaches them how to best use avocados at each stage in the fruit’s lifecycle.
“No matter what stage an avocado is in, there is consumer demand for a dish featuring that avocado,” Spirito says. “If you have a stage 5 avocado, it’s ready to eat right away and might be made into a guacamole. Stage 2 or 3 is very firm, so you can slice it and pickle it.”
Because each stage of the avocado life cycle is best for different uses, restaurants can maximize their budgets by finding multiple uses for the same ingredient across the menu.
“Having more than one use for avocados can help restaurants cycle through the product to prevent waste and save on labor,” Spirito says. “For example, if you’re making guacamole, you need fully ripe avocados that should never hit the cooler or refrigerator. Then, you can reuse the unused guacamole and turn it into a dressing by adding to a vinaigrette.”
Restaurants can teach cooks how to properly work with the ingredient as well as how to improve operational efficiency in the kitchen by watching Avocados From Mexico’s Back of House Prep Tips video.
Though it’s already been mentioned that Avocados From Mexico are available year-round, it’s important to note that they also have great consistency throughout the year.
“We have four blooms per year, so even if you’re looking to promote an avocado dish for football season or cold-weather months, you’ll want to use Avocados From Mexico because they are fully ripe every season,” Spirito says. “We’re also importing more fruit into the market year-over-year, meaning that it’s got great availability.”
Restaurant staff can learn more about what makes Avocados From Mexico unique by watching the Why Avocados From Mexico video.
Culinary leaders—and their menus—are often highly creative, but with busy schedules and tight budgets, it can be difficult to manage the kitchen and drive menu innovation. Strong industry partners can help chefs and cooks reduce their workloads with timesaving techniques as well as increase menu variety with ideas for new dishes.
“Partnership doesn’t start and stop with the use of the product,” Spirito says. “Avocados From Mexico is a resource. We’re not looking to do one LTO or one recipe— we want a continued partnership with your teams.”
The sixth and final video in the series, Partnering with Avocados From Mexico, shows restaurants how they can work with the organization to educate their teams and drive culinary innovation.
“Avo University,” Spirito says, “is a great example of how we can get into your operations and train your team on who we are and how we can help your restaurant.”
To learn more about avocados, register for the courses on the Avocados From Mexico Education platform, AvoEasy.com.