A recent Fáilte Ireland initiative, Place on a Plate, revealed some interesting changes taking place in customer behaviour in relation to restaurants.
Some of the key findings are listed below.
Consumers, especially tourists, want to know the provenance of their food and get a sense of place from eating freshly prepared food that has been produced and supplied locally. Consumers want to make an emotional connection with their dining experience and want to know the story and traditions behind their food.
Comfort food and casual dining have been reinvented as consumers move away from gourmet dining to a more informal and relaxed dining experience. Deconstructed menus with no distinction between courses and options for sharing are becoming the norm.
Healthy options are becoming more mainstream with consumers looking for healthier choices with information on how the food was cooked and its calorie content. This is particularly prevalent with children’s menus as parents are demanding options to encourage children to eat more healthily.
Maxwell’s on Williamsgate Street is constantly evolving to keep pace with emerging trends in customers’ dining behaviour and adapting its food concept to these changes. The menu now changes daily to allow the chef buy only what is fresh and in season from local suppliers. Butcher John McGrath from Mervue has come up with some great ‘nose to tail’ cuts for slow cooking which were previously forgotten during more affluent times. Ali’s Fish Shop continues to supply all Maxwells’ seafood and there are at least four options daily including cod, hake, and mackerel. Kelly’s mussels from Clarenbridge are back in season and back on the menu.
In the salads section, warm St Tolas goats’ cheese with beetroot, red onion puree and roast Mediterranean vegetables is now a house favourite. A new gourmet sandwich section has been added with delicious ingredients being offered on baguettes from Arbutus Bakery. A lunchtime combo of soup, gourmet sandwich, mini chocolate pot, and tea/coffee for €10 is already a winner with those who work nearby and like something affordable but delicious for lunch.
For children the homemade pizza, freshly breaded chicken goujons, and fish lollipops are the big winners. There is also a healthy adults’ half portion to ensure the choice of freshly cooked nutritious food.
The rise in the preference for gluten free dining is also on the increase and Maxwells has its own gluten free menu. Bread for the sandwiches is supplied by Holland’s Bakery from Westside. Butcher John McGrath has come up with a gluten free steak burger. All in all its is a well balanced blend of salads, seafood, pasta and homemade desserts all modified to meet the specifications for a gluten free diet.
Maxwells is open until 9pm and has great offers between 5pm and 7pm and an extensive wine list.
The culinary and service teams at Maxwells are looking to the future, listening to what customers want and delivering it consistently. It is now nearly two years in business on the corner of Williamsgate Street and Eglinton Street, and customers keep coming back.