French fries, chicken wings, nachos and sandwiches are the perennial favorites that customers love. But the familiarity of those choices can translate into boredom, a sense of eating the same old things—and that’s something foodservice facilities need to avoid. Have no fear, though—there are plenty of easy ways to spice up the tried-and-true in a fresh and different way. Something as simple as adding a new sauce or experimenting with a different marinade can create a newly craveable experience for customers.
Here are some suggestions to bring new life to traditional favorites:
Give traditional menu items a new twist
Menuing a unique dish like chicken alfredo nachos pairs the classic chicken alfredo taste with nachos to create a fresh Tex-Mex-Italian blend. It takes nachos to a new level, but keeps all the traditional qualities customers like—crisp chips, a creamy sauce and protein-packed toppings. Uniqueness blended with familiarity can be a true sweet spot. About two-thirds of consumers (65%) say they like trying new flavors from time to time, according to Technomic’s 2017 Flavor Consumer Trend Report. Stouffer’s® offers a scratch-quality, gluten free alfredo sauce that would be perfect for this dish—simply drizzle it atop crisp tortilla chips (or add another twist and use crispy pita chips!) and top with grilled chicken, parmesan cheese and other toppings.
Another traditional item, grilled cheese, can get a facelift in the same style. Offering a Chicken Alfredo Grilled Cheese gives diners a unique take on the diner favorite. Added protein and richness from chicken and cheese, plus crisp, toasty bread makes for a combo customers will love.
Still another option is a great idea that really combines two traditional favorites: the Grilled Mac and Cheese sandwich. Made with Stouffer’s delicious white cheddar Macaroni and Cheese, this unique sandwich suggestion screams comfort food.
Turn up the heat
Consumers are increasingly looking for spicy flavor as well as interesting combinations. Sriracha-based hot sauces have been rising in popularity, according to Technomic’s Flavor Consumer Trend Report. Consumer preference for honey glazes and marinades have also been rising with 46% of consumers preferring them (compared to 42% a few years ago), according to Technomic’s recent Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report. Honey-Sriracha Chicken Wings cater to diners who like both of these flavors—the spicy-sweet flavor pairing offers a change-up from traditional Buffalo sauce.
Sriracha can also be utilized with more traditional Italian fare. Sriracha Chicken Alfredo, made with Stouffer’s® alfredo sauce, offers diners a spicy twist on a classic favorite. And because it features trending spicy flavors, diners may be more likely to try it out.
When it comes to changing up burgers and pizza, it can be a real challenge to find a unique approach. One way to do so, though, is by getting creative with toppings. For instance, try using a different type of cheese—gouda, gorgonzola and feta are all growing on menus, according to Technomic’s Flavor report.
Sauces provide another avenue to explore unique ideas such as Chicken Alfredo Pizza. Tasty and craveable, it’s easy to make when using prepared alfredo sauce from Stouffer’s® as the base.
Unsurprisingly, bacon continues to be a popular addition to burgers and other dishes—but it’s also a little expected. Offer crisped prosciutto or salami slices, or pickled veggies to change things up. For the more adventurous, sweet and spicy pizza toppings have also been growing—chili and banana peppers are just a few great choices to create a spiced up pizza.
There are plenty of ways to update comfort foods. From new cheese toppings, to different sauces ad combinations. Consumers are looking for familiar items, but also want unique takes on those items. New combinations of ingredients, spicy sauces and unique toppings are great ways to deliver and create something different—but not too different.
This post is sponsored by Stouffer’s®