Shareable dishes, snacks, and small plates continue to trend upwards as popular menu categories. To cut down on food and labor costs, turning to speed scratch products can help deliver exceptional flavor without hurting your bottom line.
Whether it’s sports fans sharing snacks as they cheer on their favorite teams, college students splitting apps to save money, or foodies looking to try something new, shareables are key to boosting sales.
Bite-sized portions are a fun way to pique consumers’ interest. Mini waffles, for example, are up 40% on menus over the past four years (Datassential, 2022). A dish such as chicken and waffle bites, featuring Custom Culinary® Gold Label Bacon Onion Marmalade folded into maple syrup, brings a touch of whimsy to the morning daypart.
And according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2023 Culinary Forecast, bar snacks and loaded fries are two of the year’s hottest trends. Take your tater tots or fries that you’re serving with your burgers and sandwiches and easily elevate them into a poutine-inspired shareable dish with the addition of prepared Custom Culinary® PanRoast® Brown Gravy, pimento cheese, and pork belly.
The Secret to Small Plates
Traditional entrée-sized portions can easily be turned into fun and tasty shareable dishes and tend to be what a lot of diners are going for these days. Have a hearty Philly Cheesesteak on the menu? Create Philly bites or egg rolls served up with a spicy mustard or horseradish aioli dipping sauce. Pizza and pasta are two popular favorites and guests will love seeing their favorite comfort foods in snack form that they can share with friends. Serving stuffed pizza rolls with a marinara dipping sauce or using already cooked risotto to create comforting arancini with mozzarella cheese are low-cost winners.
Four in 10 consumers are motivated to visit a restaurant with unique sauces.1 This gives you a chance to experiment with pre-prepared sauces that can help elevate the flavor while saving on labor. Consider Custom Culinary® Latin Citrus Chili Sauce to create a creamy dip for empanadas, a quick sauce to braise chicken thighs or pork shoulder for tostadas or to infuse some global flavors into ketchup alongside crispy fries.
You can also tailor sauce and gravy bases specifically for your menu. Create a delicious spread for sandwiches if you’re a busy sandwich shop, jazz up poke sliders or yakitori for Asian-inspired cuisine, or use them to add a little more appeal to your late-night munchies menu.
Snacks are Back
According to research, nearly 50 percent of people eat three or more snacks per day. Utilize speed scratch products to jump on the snacking trend in a cost-effective way. Take a pre-spiced base to heighten flavors in appetizers like salsa and hummus or to use as a glaze or marinade for chicken wings.
Nostalgic flavors are always a smart play to score big with customers. In fact, almost half of consumers say they like sweet flavors that remind them of childhood. Play off that nostalgia and make it easier on BOH staff with pre-made syrups like salted caramel to play up crispy churros, drizzle over cheesecake bites, or to use as a frosting for cookies.
1Mintel, Flavor and Ingredient Innovation on the Menu, February 2022
Content provided in collaboration with Custom Culinary®.