How to Make French Fries the Star of Your LTO Program

From food trucks to fine dining, french fries are making dining fun again.

As diners begin to return to restaurants this spring and summer, brands will need to draw in customers with flavorful, on-trend products and menu items. In the quick-serve space, fry-focused limited-time offers (LTOs) are a fun and lucrative way to keep both first-timers and loyal regulars coming back for more.

For chefs and brands looking to show their creativity through LTO offerings, french fries are a logical and cost-effective solution. The product is familiar and available across the world and serves as a perfect vessel for carrying a wide variety of ingredients, such as sauces, vegetables, meat, and cheese.

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Chef Rocco Whalen, owner of three successful restaurants and a food truck in Cleveland.

Plus an outpost of his signature concept, Fahrenheit, in Charlotte, North Carolina, says LTOs that focus on fries as the star ingredient present an opportunity for chefs to stay creative and push the envelope.

“I always build out my dishes with the potato as the focal point as opposed to looking at something else for the center of the plate,” he says.

At Fahrenheit Cleveland, Whalen created an LTO with a twist on traditional French onion soup. Instead of a crouton element, golden-brown Lamb Weston® fries served as a raft for caramelized onions and melted Swiss cheese in a rich beef broth base.

“The big strength of Lamb Weston®’s fries is how they carry and hold their heat,” Whalen says. “It was a natural marriage for the soup. By simply taking out one ingredient in a classic soup recipe and making the french fries the center of the plate, the dish was more complex and the visual appeal upped the ‘wow factor.’”

Ethnic and regional spins can also elevate the flavor factor.

We have an extensive LTO recipe collection with several variations of loaded fries. Pizza Joint Fries come smothered in mozzarella, black olives, tomatoes, red onion, and Parmesan ranch sauce; Greek Fries are dusted with herbs, lemon juice, and feta cheese; corn-battered Huevos Rancheros Fries are topped with black beans, green olives, tomatoes, and jalapeños; and skin-on lattice-style Buffalo Bleu Chips come laden with chicken, blue cheese, celery, ranch, and tangy hot sauce.

“At the Fahrenheit food truck in Cleveland, we serve a dipper-style fry with a Parmesan fondue base and finish it with crispy bacon, pulled pork, and green onions,” Whalen says. “It’s more of a build-your-own dish instead of something that is just sitting there.”

Some chefs are even taking french fries to the dessert menu with dishes such as Chocolate-Covered Potato Waffles and Vanilla Sweet Potato Fries.

Whalen says the consistency and integrity of Lamb Weston® fries makes them applicable in any restaurant setting. “Whether it’s a food truck, a quick serve, or a white tablecloth setting, I can utilize their fries in all different scenarios.”

By Davina van Buren

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