Read the latest foodservice news from Red Gold, plus trends and insights important to your business.

Taking your menu back to its roots? Tips For Trimming Back Without Losing Excitement.

Craveable trends. Versatile sauces.

60 percent of restaurants shrank their menu since the start of the pandemic with an average reduction of 10 percent per menu*.

Inconsistencies in supply chain, price inflation and surging labor costs have led to menu cleansing across all segments. Some ingredients are more critical than others when considering a trim. What are some factors to remember that can also be leveraged for your future menu growth when the world gets closer to a new normal?

1. Count On Sauces To Carry The Crave –

Look for sauces that can be applied in multiple applications from an entree to appetizer and as a dipping sauce option. Fully Prepared Marinara Sauce is a good example. It improves kitchen labor efficiency and assures consistency, while simplifying ketchup prep.

Canned tomatoes and tomato-based sauces are plant-based and rich in lycopene, a nutrient that your customers know as an antioxidant. Cleanse your menu while offering a health forward ingredient that boosts immunity.

2. Double Down On Proven… And Emerging Winners –

Beyond burgers, chicken, fries, and biscuits are some surprising winners that withstood the pandemic. At least one item should be plant-based and call out ketogenic menu items on your menu as they increased 63% on menus between 2020 and 2021*!

Chicken Parm Strips
Chicken Parm Strips with Marinara Dipping Sauce

Another tactic is to apply a proven trend worthy winner in a new way that is sure to create excitement. Chicken parmesan is unique to fast food, so add a marinara dipping sauce on the side to generate excitement, while plating the dish in a format that has longer hold times.

3. Ramp Up Your LTOs –

Technomic reports, that among the Top 500 chains, there was an 11% jump in the number of LTOs during the first half of 2021 compared to the last half of 2020. If your menu got a trim, leverage your ingredients for more cravable LTOs. Consumers first eat with their eyes! Leverage those culinary creations for Instagram-worth dishes that bring traffic back to your table. The secret is leveraging a unique application of an ingredient into a handheld, side, or snack they’ve never seen before. For sure fire success, add bacon and consider a family size version for your take-out business!

Chick-Fil-A’s Honey Pepper Pimiento Chicken Sandwich, $5.49

Chick-Fil-A’s Honey Pepper Pimiento Chicken Sandwich, $5.49

Freddy’s Jalapeno Jack Steakburger, $5.69

Freddy’s Jalapeno Jack Steakburger, $5.69

Pal’s Bar-B-Dog with Slaw, $2.79

Pal’s Bar-B-Dog with Slaw, $2.79

*Datassential, State of The Menu, Aug. 2021