Great poolside snacks are crucial for a fun day in the sun, so when creating a snack bar menu having a balanced menu mix is essential.
As the weather gets warmer, clubs begin to open snack bars for pool-going members and as a complement to other outdoor amenities like tennis, pickleball and golf. Snack bar menus are usually created months in advance, but it’s important to consider the same guidelines used for an indoor dining menu.
Snack bar menus should not only feature fried foods. Menus should still include dishes that are innovative, incorporate seasonal ingredients, provide diet-specific choices, and are creatively presented.
Snacking by the pool is all about instant gratification. Members should never wait 30 minutes or they will most likely avoid ordering anything during their next visit. When planning a snack bar menu, club and resort chefs need to focus on providing items that can get from the kitchen to the member quickly. Just because members are lounging for much longer than when dining indoors, ticket times shouldn’t lag.
Menus should be small and the real all-stars of a snack bar menu will not require any or very little kitchen prep at all once the order is placed. Popular snack bar items include:
- Appetizers or shareables, such as hummus with veggies and pita bread, chips with a dipping trio of salsa, guacamole, queso, or seared tuna nachos
- Quick bites such as chicken tenders, pretzel bites, tater tots, hot dogs and french fries
- Larger bites such as burgers, tacos or wrap sandwiches
- Fresh salads and cold fruit
- Candy, milkshakes and other frozen novelties
Chefs should consider creating menu items that are easily shareable, easy to eat and relatively portable. Smaller bites are always going to translate better for snack bars. And when temperatures go up portion sizes should go down since people tend to not eat as much when basking in the sun. Choose vessels that are shatterproof and transport, as well as present dishes in a practical manner, so guests can consume them easily.
At the end of the hot day, it’s all about staying cool, keeping it simple, and making member satisfaction a priority.