Menu Inspiration

The Renewed Importance of Comfort Food

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There’s a reason why comfort food has that name. It’s familiar. It soothes. And it’s deeply satisfying.

Comfort food satisfies operators, too. It’s typically a low-cost, high-profit item. And, it’s easily updatable for LTOs and specials.

These days, especially, diners hanker for some comfort. There are many ways to satisfy them. Here are just a few.

Go Italian!

“This is a booming category,” declares Chef Kelli Welby, Shamrock Foods Business Review Specialist, NM. “There’s a huge uptick in pizza and pasta takeout. Customers find Italian food very comforting and you don’t have to be an Italian restaurant to serve it.”

Choose competitive, quality products that make it easy to embrace the Italian comfort-food opportunity pronto. Consider the complete, convenient selection from Trifoglio® and Villa Frizzoni®: olive oils, pasta, pizza toppings, Italian cheese, canned tomatoes, pizza boxes and more.

Menu Comfort Food for the Comfort of Home

Strengthen the way customers feel about your brand by leveraging the emotional connection they have with classic comfort foods and packaging them for home delivery. “A solid comfort-food lineup on your takeout menu provides the convenience consumers need and the soothing flavors they crave,” says Chef Tim Maness, Shamrock Foods Business Review Specialist, CO.

Carve Out Time for Creativity

Many comfort-food entrees and sides owe their rich flavor and tender texture to braising, roasting and long-simmering. Streamline the approach by using value-added and pre-prepped ingredients that free up time for the touches that make your signature dishes distinctive.

Ditto for desserts. Serve cakes and other baked goods warm from the oven. Pre-made, par-cooked baked goods and desserts from Brickfire Bakery® make it easy to bake something fresh for table service or to add desserts to family bundles for heating at home.

Serve the familiar with a twist

Diners love traditional comfort food, but also hunger for new dining experiences. “Familiarity gives guests the confidence to try something new,” Maness says.

Here’s how to strike a balance between the old and the new.

Boost indulgence

Give familiar favorites a tempting makeover.

“Specialty ingredients offer the best opportunities for adding indulgence,” says Chef Angel Morales, Shamrock Foods Corporate Chef, AZ.

One example: mac and cheese. Boost richness, creaminess and umami with artisan and imported cheeses from Artisanal Provisions or Cobblestreet MKT.® and Villa Frizzoni®. Add premium proteins such as salmon, lobster and shrimp from Pier 22 Seafood CO.®, or a Premium Angus steak from Gold Canyon Meat CO®.

Spice things up

Infuse mild and creamy comfort food with zing. Incorporate Nashville Hot Chicken in cheesy dips and pasta dishes. Make a meatloaf from spicy chorizo.

Go global

Swirl harissa, chimichurri and gochujang sauces into gravies.

Layer in flavor and texture

Build polenta bowls with sage, cream, carmelized cauliflower and cremini mushrooms. Use smoked Regal Crest Farms® Natural* Reserve chicken for your buttermilk-marinated fried chicken.

Offer Options

Menu “create your own” takeout options that put guests in control of their comfort-food experience and increase revenue.

The bottom line?

You can’t go wrong when you add variety and flavorful options to your comfort-food menu.

Comfort Food by the Numbers

of consumers are very/somewhat interested in purchasing DIY/take-and-bake comfort food from restaurants.
of consumers are ordering more comfort-food menu staples at restaurants.
of consumers are eating comfort foods more often as part of their daily routine.

Learn More

Ask your Shamrock Foods Sales Representative how we can offer even more menu inspiration.

*All Natural –  Minimally processed, no artificial ingredients

Source: Datassential, 2020

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