Foodservice challenges show opportunities for potatoes
September 21, 2022
The foodservice industry continues to face challenges with inflation, labor shortages, and changing consumer eating habits. Staying on top of the ever-changing food sector is critical to capturing the opportunities for potatoes.
Learn more about how restaurants are innovatively adding potatoes to the menu and the details about current foodservice challenges and trends.
Potatoes on the Menu
Chain restaurants are innovating with potatoes and launching new menu items.
- The Thrillist reported that Taco Bell celebrated its 60th anniversary by creating a new vegetarian meal, including a spicy potato soft taco.
- According to Chew Boom, Boston Market showed innovation with breading by launching a potato panko-crusted cod available as a dish or a sandwich, which was available for a limited time.
- Taco John’s launched a breakfast griller featuring crispy potatoes and pico de gallo wrapped in a flour tortilla, as seen in The Fast Food Post.
- Millers Ale House leveraged the trend of upscale potato chips and launched housemade potato chips with a signature garlic parmesan sauce.
- Flavor & The Menu featured an article on Chef Nick Bognar of Indo in St. Louis, MO, because of a dish he created with fingerling potatoes smothered with Kombu (edible kelp) and Asian sauces for an upscale take on a potato side dish.
- Harper’s, a globally inspired steakhouse concept in Dallas, TX, is serving next-level culinary craftsmanship. The item is a twice-baked bone marrow potato, also featured in Flavor & The Menu.
- This craveable dish is created by removing the flesh of a baked potato and combining it with bone marrow, rendered beef tallow, butter, cream, and salt. The potato shells are fried, filled with the marrow mash, and topped with Gruyère and crème fraîche. Additional mash is piped into a split bone and broiled until crispy.
- A virtual restaurant in Chicago called Funeral Potatoes is gaining much attention. It drops a menu every Sunday for delivery on Thursday and Friday, and the menu has a version of funeral potatoes weekly.
- California Pizza Kitchen launched a limited-time offer (LTO) of North Atlantic salmon roasted on a cedar plank served with fingerling potatoes and seasonal vegetables, reports Datassential Menu Trends.
- Datassential Menu Trends also shows that TGI Fridays launched a Twisted Steak Frites LTO, which consists of 6 ounces of grilled sirloin topped with Parmesan Butter and Twisted Potato Frites.
*All menu items shown are pulled from the identified sources within this article.
Potatoes on The Menu
General Foodservice Trends
- Inflation continues to be a top concern for foodservice operators. Due to increased labor and food costs, restaurants must pass some of these costs on to consumers. Technomic originally predicted that menu prices would increase by 3.3% but has now adjusted that to 6.5%.
- This change will impact how consumers eat out, from where they eat to how often they dine out.
- All segments struggle to find labor, particularly healthcare, retail operations, and hotels, which has caused these segments to cut back on cash operations and room service, as reported by Technomic.
- With the rise in delivery and take-out, colleges and universities had to expand their dining hall options and add more global flavors to entice students, according to Technomic.
- In a study by Datassential, 47% of foodservice operators said that their business traffic is higher than pre-COVID levels, 14% say their traffic is the same, and 39% say their traffic is lower compared to pre-COVID levels.
- Due to the rise in inflation, Technomic predicts we may see “shrinkflation,” which means offering less food for the same price.
- Shrinkflation is starting at some chains, like Dominos cutting down the number of wings served and Burger King moving from 10 to 8 nuggets in a serving.
- There is an opportunity for potatoes to replace higher-priced menu items as an option. Datassential points out that the average profit margin for foodservice operators has declined from 21% pre-COVID to 13% as of August 2022.
- During a recent Technomic webinar, it was stated that plant-based options will continue to grow, and consumers are willing to pay more for plant-based menu offerings.
- While most consumers are meat eaters, a Datassential reports that 29% of the population limits meat consumption in some way. Thirty-six percent of Gen Z is considered a meat limiter and has a higher proportion of vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians.
- At the same time that consumers are interested solely in plant-based foods that mimic meat, consumers are also looking for plant-based whole foods.
- This continued focus on plant-forward positions potatoes as an excellent option for more center-of-the-plate offerings versus just a side dish.
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