Expand the menu without adding labor by using versatile ingredients

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Meeting the modern consumer’s demands is a balancing act. Now more than ever, customers want fun, innovative meals, but operators still need to manage waste and trim labor costs while responding to the demand. For restaurants and foodservice facilities looking to please crowds while limiting waste and labor spend, this calls for some creativity.

The key lies in meal customization. Technomic’s 2018 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report projects that mix-and-match menus will likely grow in order to meet differentiated customer demands and to encourage consumers to trade up to pricier, more filling options as part of their chosen combo. By providing more customization opportunities, operators can pare down the number of items in the kitchen while adding variety to the menu. Here are a few ways to do this.

Transform snack foods into all-day eats

Snack foods are among the simplest products for operators to incorporate across dayparts and menu parts. Technomic’s Snacking Occasion report projects that, in the coming years, more consumers will choose snacks in lieu of traditional meals, and between-meal snacking will remain a daily staple. In other words, more consumers will be grazing all day rather than eating only at mealtimes. This provides a wealth of opportunities for operators to incorporate elements of snack foods throughout the menu without adding labor.

Soft Pretzels, for example, are a great prospect for customization. Diners love pretzel buns with burgers, so for a snack-sized, shareable option, try topping SUPERPRETZEL® Soft Pretzel Fries from J&J Snack Foods with cheeseburger toppings such as ground beef, shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes and dill pickles. Offer those same soft pretzel fries as an alternative to traditional fries on the side of an entree, or chop them up and serve them as a premium salad topping—who wouldn’t want to try pretzel croutons on a chopped salad?

Indulgent breakfast items

Breakfast and dessert are other menu parts that benefit big-time from versatile ingredients. Transform frozen dinner rolls from Country Home Bakers® into cinnamon monkey bread or use them to make a classic breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon. By using a versatile, low-prep item such as frozen dinner rolls across dayparts, operators can trim the number of things they need to keep on hand and cut down on waste from products used during just one meal. For instance, English muffins are a popular breakfast item, but they can be difficult to repurpose throughout the day since consumers tend to strictly associate them with breakfast. Frozen dinner rolls, however, offer a more neutral base that can be reshaped into other dishes in a snap.

Using simple, easy-to-prepare ingredients not only provides consumers with opportunities to customize but also helps reduce food waste at the same time. When operators limit the number of items in the kitchen to ingredients they can serve all day long, they dramatically decrease the chance that any food goes unused.

J&J Snack Foods provides the craveable classics that operators can transform into signature menu items with minimal back-of-house prep. From soft pretzels to dinner rolls, churros, funnel cakes and more, customers will order J&J Snack Foods’s products all day. With a little strategic thinking, operators can leverage a varied menu to give customers the versatility they want while saving time and labor in the process. To learn more, visit www.jjsnackfoodservice.com

This post is sponsored by J&J Snack Foods