What You Need for a Great, Profitable Pub Food Menu

Pub Food

What You Need for a Great, Profitable Pub Food Menu

Ok, so you’ve opened your bar or craft brewery, and are living the life of “Sam at Cheers!”

Like any traditional tavern, it’s just common sense to have a complement of lunch and snack foods ready to serve hungry and thirsty patrons.  The author stipulates that popcorn is the most preferred bar food…especially if it’s free.

“If I owned a bar and wanted to serve great food, I’d make sure I had a combi oven!”  That’s a quote from a chef who was advising a friend of his upon the opening of his micro-brewery.

Deciding on a menu of “pub food’ is important . Making a profit on that menu is critical.

Let’s start with the food.  A Google search of popular pub grub lists the usual and unusual snack items. While nachos may be a universal staple of pub food, Oysters Rockefeller may be an acquired taste with a limited number of fans.  But everyone knows bar food has come a long way since pickled eggs and sausages.  And the food listed below will satisfy the cravings of 90% of your patrons.

Our quick research showed the most popular bar food items are (in no particular order):

  • Buffalo Wings
  • Sliders 
  • Beef sandwiches
  • Nachos (naturally)
  • Pizza (personal and shared)
  • Assorted dips with Chips
  • Poppers/Mozzarella sticks
  • Chicken tenders
  • Potato skins

Now, what types of commercial cooking equipment do you need to make the above foods?  Perhaps a fryer for the wings, poppers and tender, a countertop convection oven for the nachos, potato skins and pizza, and a small grill for the sliders, right?

Or you could do the whole menu, and more, with a countertop combi oven. And make those Oysters Rockefeller a reality!

The countertop combi oven has to be the most incredible, most versatile cooking device ever made. And it can make all those food listed above in less time than you think.

In a cozy bar, countertop space is king!  Check out the countertop footprint of the small combi oven: only 21” wide and fits on a standard 36 “deep counter…about the width of a household microwave oven

The biggest challenge for a bar with a combi is hooking up the water and drain lines, along with  30Amp service to accommodate the 208-240/60/1 electrical service.  You’ll need to do that with a multiple pieces of traditional cooking equipment anyway. But in choosing a small footprint combi, if you plan well with your installer or contractor, you’re going to be astonished by what you save in footprint, energy, and menu productivity.

Make 4 large pizza’s in under 10 minutes!

In that oven, if properly equipped with a finishing oven option, you can roast, broil, steam, bake, sear, and by choosing the right food broker, make fried foods like the tenders, wings and poppers.  Imagine serving roast beef sandwiches from an overnight cook ‘n hold function.  If you know you’re going to serve pizza by the slice, you can bake and stage 4 large pizza’s at a time.

Don’t have room for an oven under a hood? You can get a combi with a catalytic converter…no hood necessary. The also come with ventless hoods; same footprint, but a little taller.

Does your staff hate cleaning your equipment at night? Most counter combi ovens come with a self-cleaning option; set it and forget it.

Want to make nachos and grilled sandwiches?  Use the toasting element available on select ovens. 

Today’s combi ovens, even the small ones, can cook 90% of the entrees and snacks you want to have on your menu, in 1/3rd of the counter space.

It costs about $4,000 to get “less expensive” countertop grills, fryers, convection ovens and a microwave.  But if your local inspectors say you need to put them under a hood, that requires almost 7 feet of linear space, and hoods that size can run you $7,000+ to install.  

You can outfit your bar with a countertop combi with a catalytic converter for under $9,000, and use less than 24 inches of counter space to produce great food.  No grease vapors, no hard cleaning chores, much less heat into the room, programmable menus for ease in food prep, and get it from select vendors in any color you like.   When you rack it all up, what you’ll save in energy, cleaning, labor, menu flexibility and variety, it is worth the extra outlay for great equipment.  Most of the folks we know who put these into their establishments state they pay for themselves in less than a year.  

Like we said, if we wanted a great pub food program for our bar, we’d build it around a countertop combi oven.  If you’d like to see one of these combi ovens in action and experience the great pub food you can introduce into your bar, tavern or craft / micro-brewery, just click on the link (here) or ask your Boelter rep to arrange a visit!