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Boost menu versatility while keeping costs low

Pizza sticks dipping sauces
Photograph: Shutterstock

As they head back to foodservice locations, many consumers will be looking at menus in search of familiar favorites they missed out on during the pandemic. Others, however, will be looking for new and exciting options—signature menu items, unique flavors or limited-time-only menu items. According to Technomic’s 2020 Future of FSR: Family Style and Casual Dining Consumer Trend Report, 43% of consumers say it will be important for foodservice locations to offer signature items that they can’t get elsewhere; 41% say it’ll be important that there are menu items that feature unique flavors; and 29% say the same about new or limited-time-only menu items. It stands to reason, then, that consumers will also find these to be important factors in non-commercial dining locations, as well.

For operators, the pressure is on not only to draw new and existing customers in, but also to encourage repeat visits. One way to do this, of course, is by offering a varied menu, and a great strategy for offering a varied menu is using versatile ingredients to allow diners to customize their meals.

Prioritizing versatile options shouldn’t mean increasing costs or labor, however—and pre-portioned dipping sauces are just one great way to put a focus on versatility. Here are some benefits of offering pre-portioned dipping sauces and dressings to boost menu versatility.

Customization

Customizing one’s meal is the top priority when choosing where to eat, according to Technomic’s Future of FSR report—49% of consumers say it’s important. The easiest way to customize a meal? Changing the dressing or sauce. But operators need not spend hours toiling to create dozens of different housemade dipping options or dressing choices. By choosing pre-portioned dressings and dipping sauces, such as those from Ken’s Foodservice, operators can offer their diners an array of different customization options without adding back-of-house stress, and customers can enjoy their favorite dressing or dipping sauce—a win-win situation.

On-premise safety

As consumers begin to return to their pre-pandemic routines, including going to work and school in person again, their priorities when it comes to foodservice are likely to have shifted. Of course, they’re still interested in menu variety, but many are also concerned about the relative safety of being there. According to Technomic, 37% of consumers say foodservice locations going above and beyond government safety guidelines would encourage them to dine in, and 30% say transparency around safety protocols would also encourage them. While not necessarily classified as a “safety protocol” or safety guideline, one way operators can emphasize food safety is to minimize use of high-touch items, such as pump-dispensers for condiments. Switching to pre-portioned pouches or cups is a low-labor, cost-effective way to ensure safety while still offering menu variety.

Off-premise convenience

Similarly, those consumers who continue to order off-premise eats will also remain focused on safety. Rather than using individually portioned pouches or individually portioned cups of sauces that workers have to fill and cap—and hope they don’t spill during transit—operators can switch to sealed containers of brand-name dips, dressings and sauces. This not only ensures food safety, but also prevents spillage and order contamination from non-spill-proof cups. Customer satisfaction is key with off-premise ordering, and ensuring the order gets to the customer in excellent condition is easy when operators don’t have to worry about a condiment mess.

Portion control

Pre-portioned pouches and cups offer the benefit of, well, portion control. This is great not only for the customers, who may be conscious of the serving sizes of dipping sauces they are using, but also for operators, who can monitor the exact cost to produce a dish. Gone are the days of consumers using the pump dispenser to dole out much more condiment than is needed, leading to waste and lost money.

Shelf life

Finally, a long shelf life of pre-portioned sauces and dressings is a huge benefit. This way, operators can purchase a wide variety of dipping sauces to offer without having to worry too much about whether diners will use them up before their best-by dates. Long shelf lives of these products are a key benefit when operators want to vastly increase menu customization options without breaking the bank.

To learn more about pre-portioned dipping sauces and dressings from Ken’s Foodservice, visit http://www.kensfoodservice.com/.

This post is sponsored by Ken's Foods Inc.

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