Getting Dressed: A Case Study


Poised for expansion, the 7-unit MarketPlace Concepts in Arkansas, known for its fresh, homestyle menu, was searching for a way to streamline its distribution chain. The parent company includes both full-service MarketPlace Grills and fast-casual MarketPlace Express stores. The concept’s signature salad dressings (creamy herb, honey mustard and blueberry poppy seed)had always been made from scratch at each MarketPlace Grill, forcing the Express locations to be completely dependent on the Grill’s commissary services.


To get out of this bind, purchasing manager Andy Caron hunted for a dressing manufacturer that could custom develop recipes in quantity. “By manufacturing in bulk, we aimed to eliminate costly labor hours while at the same time maintain consistency,” Caron explains. MarketPlace eventually partnered with Arcobasso; the former’s culinary team and the latter’s food chemists worked together and after many revisions, Arcobasso was able to match the flavor and quality of the original dressings while extending their shelf life. Arcobasso ships and delivers the products through Sysco.


“The dressings held up beautifully in blind taste tests and our guests never even noticed that they were not made onsite,” Caron says. He reports that the manufactured dressings have relieved pressure on the full-service kitchens and even though they are more expensive to produce, the price is recouped in labor costs. In addition, the Express locations can now be built as stand-alone units and MarketPlace can expand to other sites without planting a commissary in each area.

New house specialties

A signature house dressing is a surefire way to differentiate your salad program. But should you stick with mainstream ingredients or go for originality? Paul Fiorentino, VP of culinary and operator support services at Ventura Foods, identifies the trends that are currently driving salad dressing development with his customers.


•Ranch, Italian and Caesar are still the top three dressings, but twists on these classics are starting to emerge. Chipotle Caesar and Santa Fe Ranch, for example, reflect our current preference for more intense flavors.


•Health and wellness is boosting the popularity of vinaigrettes. “They are perceived as a lighter product,” Fiorentino says. He’s experimenting with Chianti, Chardonnay and other wines to enhance standard vinaigrettes.


•Reducing fat while preserving flavor and mouthfeel is a goal. The industry is exploring starch systems that can replace some of the oil used in traditional dressing formulas.


•Fruit flavors are gaining ground. “Recently, we’ve been focusing on pomegranate and blueberry—‘the superfoods’—which also tie into the health and wellness trend,” Fiorentino reports. “Stone fruits, like cherries and peaches, are also popular flavor profiles.” He’s also drilling down from the familiar to make it more “romantic,” substituting Meyer lemons in a lemon-tarragon vinaigrette, for example, or blood oranges in an orange-poppy seed dressing.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools are the latest districts in the Urban School Food Alliance to switch to compostable plates.

The move to the eco-friendlier products will save 19 million polystyrene products from landfills, according to a news release .

Schools often use polystyrene products due to their low cost. Polystyrene trays cost on average around 4 cents apiece, while compostable plates cost an average of 12 cents each. The Urban School Food Alliance’s collective buying power enabled them to create a compostable plate that costs...

Managing Your Business
allergies

Guy Procopio got a taste of the future when Michigan State University hosted a Boy Scout event in 2015. Out of 10,000 participants at the East Lansing, Mich., campus, Procopio, the director of dining services, received 1,400 requests to meet special dietary needs, including a wide spectrum of allergies, gluten intolerance or insensitivity, and other new or unusual hyper-specialized diets.

This dining trend isn’t letting up, at least in America: Food allergies in children increased approximately 50% from 1997 to 2011. They now affect one in 13 children in the United States,...

Industry News & Opinion

Students of Broward County Public Schools in Florida were treated to a special meal by celebrity chef Aria Kagan during lunch last week.

The chef and former contestant on “The Next Food Network Star” prepared her farm-fresh pesto panini in front of students at McNicol Middle School in Hollywood, Fla.

Her visit was part of the district’s Chefs Move to Broward initiative, through which a chef from nonprofit Wellness in the Schools visits district cafeterias each month to prepare a healthy meal. The chef then teaches cafeteria staff how to make the dish so it can be...

Managing Your Business
woman alone in kitchen

In a post-Harvey Weinstein world, there’s an awful anticipation over which star’s worst-kept secret will be outed next. The outpouring of claims of sexual harassment and abuse helped popularize the #MeToo social media campaign, encouraging women to share their stories and spurring allegations against upwards of 60 high-profile men. In October, the movement’s momentum hit the foodservice industry. Since, behemoths such as Mario Batali, John Besh and Todd English were forced to confront accusations of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct.

For many women, the scope of the industry’...

FSD Resources