How a 50-Mile menu can transform your business

Creating a 50-mile menu in Stirling, Scotland, is like going on a culinary adventure in your very own neighborhood. But it isn’t just something fun to do, incorporating a 50-mile menu can be a strategic move for food and drink businesses.

It emphasises locally sourced ingredients, guaranteeing freshness and quality, while also aligning with sustainability and ethical practices. Your menu will become seasonal with unique offerings. All of these qualities will help your brands appeal with both local customers and food tourists alike. This unique marketing angle, coupled with increased menu diversity and transparency, fosters trust and customer loyalty. Finally, a 50 mile menu contributes to the local economy, supporting your fellow local businesses, making the local business community more adaptable and resilient in the face of unforeseen challenges—we all know what happened to the supply chain because of COVID and the war in Ukraine.

Ok I’ve convinced you this is a good thing to do and why, but where to start?

Identify Local Suppliers
Start your foodie quest by uncovering local farmers, fishermen, and food producers within a 50-mile radius. It’s like discovering a hidden treasure map of flavours right on your doorstep. Here’s some ideas on how to identify local suppliers in Central Scotland:

· Speak to me – I work with local businesses in Stirling.

· Get in touch with support organisations and food associations such as Scottish Enterprise, Scotland Food and Drink, Forth Valley Food and Drink, Chamber of Commerce and more.

· Attend local farmers’ markets, food and drink festivals and meet the buyer events – Any excuse right?! – Engage with vendors, ask about their products, and gather contact information. We host a Forth Valley Meet Our Producers event each year. 

· Get your Google on!—Searching online, through website directories and social media can be valuable.

Menu Planning and Adaptation
Once you’ve discovered the amazing ingredients you can get locally, its time to get your creative juices flowing to make the most of the local ingredients you’ve discovered. Remember to embrace seasonal menus. Designing menus that harmonise with the seasons, not only allows you to adapt to local suppliers but keeps your menu exciting for your regular local customers.  Thinking further than meat and veg – think local breweries, distilleries, preserves, pastries, wild plants and more.

Collaborate with Local Producers
Once you’ve established local suppliers, it’s time to approach them and let them know you’re on a mission to showcase the best of Stirling. Its crucial you have a strong and trusting relationship with your suppliers.

Quality Control and Consistency
Make sure every dish packs a punch just like granny’s secret soup recipe. But don’t just test the taste – what will you do if your local supplier can’t fulfill, do you have a back up, an alternative, this is your time to plan for the worst. Ensure the provenance is accurate is vital, so make sure you verify the origin.  

Education and Transparency
Train your staff to tell the tales of the ingredients like ultimate foodie storytellers. They should know where every ingredient comes from and be proud of the locality of your businesses, singing about your 50 mile menu from the hilltops. 

Launch Your Menu and Tell the World!
It’s finally time to tell the world about your culinary journey and the local suppliers you’ve teamed up with. Encourage customers to ask questions and provide feedback, fostering a sense of community engagement. Aim to become a respected figure within the neighbourhood, akin to a culinary expert with the perfect recipes at your disposal.




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