Pandemic leads to restaurant menu changes

Coronavirus

ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’ve gone out to eat lately or even ordered food to go, you may have noticed some changes to the menu.

Rockford Brewing Company executive chef Cameron Sauser says they’re just one of many restaurants that have had to make tweaks to their menu amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

“What we’re doing now is different than what we were doing before, so the menu is going to have to change with that,” Sauser said.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Sauser has had to make a few hard cuts along with some creative additions. He said the items offered on their slightly scaled-back menu need to be durable, as take-out orders remain a big part of their business.

“How does something hold up when it sits on someone’s lap for 20 minutes on the drive home?” Sauser said.

Dishes that don’t travel well, even customer favorites like the ramen bowl, have been temporarily removed from the menu.

“You’re going to see a lot less entrees and a lot more sandwiches,” Sauser said. “We’ve kind of bulked up the sandwiches and the handhelds on our menu.”

Many of the dishes are also made using the same ingredients, a trick that cuts down on costs and labor. 

“Finding ingredients that you can use in more than one area on the menu to scale down how much you’re ordering,” Sauser said.

Out on the patio, customers were just happy to be dining out again, even if it means ordering something other than their usual.

“If it’s not even on the menu, then I find something to substitute,” Josh Almy said after realizing the French dip he usually orders has been temporarily taken off the menu due to a spike in the cost of beef.

“It’s very understandable that restaurants are having to adjust because we’re having to adjust to different things,” another customer, Dawn Slovoda, said.

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