5 new ways to menu comfort classics

pizza pierogies

From Mrs. T’s Foodservice.

Today’s college and university students demand customization, but they also seek out creative riffs on familiar dishes, making comfort food an area of opportunity for college & university operators.

This is especially true as more restaurants across all sectors add comfort-food favorites such as meatloaf, potato tots and loaded fries to menus.

Operators are already starting to see how a comforting, customizable ingredient such as pierogies meets those needs: Menu mentions of pierogies as an entree are up 9.3% over the last two years, according to Technomic MenuMonitor data.

A product such as Mrs. T’s pierogies is well-suited to the changing face of college food-service. Here are just some of the ways they can make operators’ jobs easier while catering to the on-trend dining needs of guests:

1. Customization

Some 51% of Gen Zers say the ability to customize is important when choosing a limited-service restaurant, and 49% of them say the same about full-service restaurants, according to Technomic’s 2016 Generational Consumer Trend Report. Those numbers are significantly higher than those of other generations.

Mrs. T’s pierogies are a blank canvas for a wide range of build-your-own topping options—everything from meats to cheeses to vegetables and legumes. Serve up customizable pierogy nachos, serve as you would a baked potato bar or offer them plain with a variety of dipping sauces.

2. Add in ethnic flavors

More than half of Gen Zers (59%) say they like trying new flavors from time to time, according to Technomic. And they’re particularly receptive to trying new flavors when they’re presented with well-known, familiar ingredients—such as pierogies. So, menu pierogies in Latin- or Asian-inspired dishes, such as glazed with a sweet-and-spicy Sriracha sauce.

This can be a good way to lure hesitant diners into trying new flavors. Pierogies can also be served baked, fried or sauteed and are well-suited to a wide variety of dishes.

3. Don’t forget breakfast

Breakfast is big on commercial menus, of course. And savory breakfast items are growing in popularity as operators look for new ways to present all-day breakfast. Pierogies marry well with a variety of flavors, making them a good fit at any daypart. Try layering pierogies in a breakfast casserole with eggs, cheese, vegetables and breakfast sausage.

Or, for an innovative breakfast dish, try wrapping pierogies with bacon and sprinkling with brown sugar before baking. This sweet-and-savory combination works as a snack or late-night offering, too.

4. Work with ingredients on hand

Mrs. T’s pierogies also work across different eating occasions, and they’ll mesh well with on-hand ingredients. They make for a hearty, savory breakfast. Pierogies work well in lunchtime soup-sandwich combos and are a welcome addition to dinner menus, whether in ethnic applications or more-traditional offerings. And they’re a craveable choice, with dipping sauces, for late-night study breaks.

5. Vegan and vegetarian

Today’s students increasingly are drawn to plant-based dishes. Mrs. T’s offers fully vegan pierogies. And all of the varieties are vegetarian, ready to be combined with meat-free sauces and toppings to suit consumers looking to eat more produce-forward options.

Contact your foodservice rep to learn more about the many delicious ways to work Mrs. T’s Pierogies into your menu.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chefs

We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

Ideas and Innovation
tapas

I’ve created a high school “focus group” to see what future college students will want in terms of foodservice. This year, I called up two now-seniors from the last group to get 10 of their friends together. I also include a sophomore or two so that I always have a contact for next year. Tapas, grain bowls and late-night breakfast all originated from this group.

Ideas and Innovation
making meals

This summer, we teamed up with a church to deliver meals to three housing projects. We brought the meals to the church, and then the church recruited volunteers to deliver the meals to the children. We’ve been very impressed with this new model, and it shows great promise in getting meals to children who otherwise would not be able to leave their housing project.

Industry News & Opinion
sharing love

Having never personally experienced a hurricane, I can only imagine the horrors faced by the millions of people whose lives were affected by Harvey and Irma in late August and early September. It’s a group that comprises uncounted noncommercial operations, including Houston Independent School District, which serves 215,000 students.

But from that tragedy has come one of the most impressive feats of foodservice I’ve seen since coming on board at this magazine, partially spearheaded by Nutrition Officer Betti Wiggins , who only just joined the district. For the entire school year,...

FSD Resources