Small plates sell big

New Lamb Weston® Tavern Traditions™ Beer Battered Appetizers delight the crowd

From Lamb Weston.

Look at a variety of eating establishments today—anything from casual restaurants, pubs and taverns to college dining halls and healthcare cafeterias—and chances are you'll see customers enjoying appetizers, small plates, snacks and other items that are smaller than typical entrées.

Customers love appetizers and other small foods because of the sheer pleasure of eating them, of course, but that's not the only reason. They are at the center of a fun and sociable trend of sharing little nibbles with friends at the table. In addition, these tasty mouthfuls are perfect for creating custom-designed eating experiences while staying within budget. For the operator, selling appetizers is a high-margin way to encourage customers to try new flavors and ingredients with little risk or cost.

You can be a player in the small plates trend by offering your customers exciting new Lamb Weston ® Tavern Traditions™ Beer Battered Onion Rings, Fries and Mozzarella Sticks. Each of them trades on the wide appeal of beer battered appetizers and the heritage of the American tavern, updated for contemporary tastes. Each Tavern Traditions item adds upscale appeal to pub, appetizer and snack menus. And each can be served as an appetizer with on-trend dips, as a side item that raises the appeal of the entire plate or as an ingredient in a variety of innovative recipes.

Whether you're running a casual dining spot, neighborhood tavern, workplace cafeteria or campus dining hall, the quality ingredients of Tavern Traditions will please patrons and keep them coming back. For example, the Beer Battered Onion Rings feature the natural sweetness of Spanish onions, an appetizing golden color and a perfect light crunch. The Beer Battered Fries, available as thin regular cut or platter fries with the skins on, up the appeal of traditional fries with an extra layer of crispness. The Mozzarella Sticks are made with smooth, creamy real mozzarella cheese in a premium four-inch length for maximum eye appeal. What they all have in common is a rich beer flavor that makes them even more craveable.

You will also notice how Tavern Traditions items speak to customer needs across a variety of foodservice segments. In restaurants and pubs, they satisfy the constant demand for flavor and variety in bar menus and appetizer selections. On campus, they are great snacks for students taking a study break. In corporate dining rooms and healthcare cafeterias, they are appealing side dishes that make sandwiches and entrees more special.

When it comes to menuing appetizers, take a cue from casual dining operators around the country:

  • Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar offers Mozzarella Sticks, golden fried and served with a tasty marinara sauce.
  • The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grill, based in Edgewater, Md., menus Pub Fries—hot fries topped with melty cheddar-jack cheese and chopped bacon, served with a side of ranch dressing.
  • Timothy O'Toole's Pub in Chicago makes it easy to share good times at the table with its Bucket of Fries, offered with a trio of sauces: ranch, BBQ and honey mustard.

On top of that, operators can use Tavern Traditions appetizers as the launching pads for their own signature creations. For example, make Pub-style Poutine Fries by topping crispy Tavern Traditions Beer Battered Fries with fresh cheese curds, a dark, rich gravy and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley. Or use a large, crispy Tavern Traditions Onion Ring tossed in buffalo hot sauce as the base of a side salad drizzled with bleu cheese dressing.

Patrons will also appreciate Snack Shooters, small portions of fries or mozzarella sticks served in small, galvanized pails. Price them at 50 cents apiece and pair them with a variety of flavorful dipping sauces.

Operator support includes an introductory rebate, recipes and serving suggestions, table tents and other merchandising, and special offers with Meal Ticket® Social and Mobile App for Smartphones and Call-em-all® Text Messaging Club program. They make it easy for operators to harness the power of social media and promote Tavern Traditions and drive traffic.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
lettuce eat dining

Forced to battle crumbling infrastructure and a constant churn of trends, sometimes the best way to save a foodservice operation is to change it entirely. As Steve Mangan, director of dining at the University of Michigan, puts it, “At some point when your building starts to fail, the cost of maintenance stands out.” But for operators with limited budgets, the challenge is discerning the right time to do so—and how far to take it.

At Jefferson High School, change came because little worked anymore. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school’s cafeteria hadn’t been updated since 1957; students...

Managing Your Business
farmer produce

The seeds of farm-to-table 2.0 have officially blown into noncommercial foodservice. Since the movement has caught the attention of the segment during the past decade, operators have broadened agricultural collaborations outside of just supply. As a result, a new strain of the movement has been created that treats farms as allies in events, training and innovative growing systems.

The 500-bed Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., didn’t start out sourcing produce from local farms; instead, it administered its own growing programs, including an on-site garden and honeybee apiary...

Ideas and Innovation
fsd screenshot web

A full year has passed since we redesigned FoodService Director magazine, taking the publication from its longtime tabloid dimensions to a more convenient size and more creative design, and recasting the content to provide actionable, peer-to-peer insights and ideas for FSDs.

Now we are thrilled to announce that we’ve extended the makeover to our website as well. The new FoodServiceDirector.com has been redesigned to be more engaging and even easier to use. We’ve made it faster to find information, from recipes to HR best practices, that will help you run your facility better....

Managing Your Business
wage feud business

As plans to increase the minimum wage surge ahead in states such as New York and California, operators eventually will feel the reverberations shake up labor costs for more than just hourly workers. As associate wages gain on manager salaries, operators will have to answer a call for reciprocal increases. FSD spoke with operators who advised going gently into the brave new world of heightened labor costs, investing in talent and making cuts elsewhere; however, they did offer three perfectly proactive tactics to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Keep talking

Even though...

FSD Resources