One way to capitalize on existing inventories is to offer a fresh take on one of your most popular and profitable menu items, fries. Fries make a versatile base for new topped & loaded dishes that can include regional flavors and ingredients, and appeal to today’s foodies. Afterall, 51% of consumers want more unique and interesting fry options.2
Restaurants can consider taking some of the most popular dishes they currently have on the menu and adapt them to create loaded fries, suggests Chef Miguel Mendoza, Marketing and Innovation Corporate Chef at Lamb Weston.
“If you have, for example, a chicken Parmesan that's really popular on your menu, or a specific pizza that has special toppings that are unique to you, you can take that and put it on fries,” he says.
Mendoza says he likes to think of loaded fries as a “one, two, three” creation—with a protein, a cheese and a sauce. Operators can explore their existing inventories to find combinations of these three ingredients that work on top of French fries.
If an operator has a unique sauce created in-house, that’s all the better as it can be incorporated into a French fry dish that differentiates an operator from the competition, either as a topping for loaded fries or as a sauce for dipping. Mayonnaise can easily be modified with some seasonings to also create a great dipping sauce, similar to an aioli, Mendoza says.
Buffalo chicken wings are an example of a dish that can be transformed into a loaded fry dish with strong visual appeal and good economics. In order to maintain portion control, Mendoza suggests putting less than a full order of wings atop a plate of fries, along with sauce, ranch dressing or cheese, and thinly sliced carrots and celery that would routinely be served on the side.
“Remember that we eat with our eyes first, and you are going to see a lot of color in this dish,” he says. “Your common, everyday ingredients can take it to the next level.”