Baked goods have always been popular on menus, according to Chef Ted Osorio, of General Mills Convenience and Foodservice. “Consumers crave familiar favorites like muffins, fresh-baked rolls, and biscuits,” he says, “but baked goods are also a fun way to surprise and delight your customers with a new twist on an old favorite.” Unfortunately, scratch-made baked goods can take a toll on kitchen efficiency and labor hours, which is why many successful brands are integrating more speed-scratch or scratch-like items, such as freezer-to-oven baked goods that allow chefs to offer fresh-baked quality without the strain of menuing from-scratch items. Here, we look at three of the biggest reasons why chefs are making the switch.

Operators often think of baked goods as being an essential part of their breakfast menu, but in fact they provide a robust amount of versatility that can be incorporated in menus across meal times.

“For example, biscuits are no longer just for biscuits and gravy or egg sandwiches,” Osorio says. “Chefs can incorporate them as a carrier for sandwiches beyond breakfast.”

Menu inspiration: French Onion roast beef sliders, which can be offered up for lunch, dinner, or snack times in between.

According to Osorio, there are many ways to customize baked goods by adding different toppings or fillings, or creating different shapes such as muffin tops or miniature loaves of bread.

“Baked goods are a canvas for creativity and allow chefs to showcase their talent,” he says. “For example, cinnamon rolls can be molded into a rose shape or baked with apple slices inside.”

Menu inspiration: Cinnamon roll cobbler, served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

When it comes to menu offerings, operators should try to create a balance between classic baked goods that customers know and love, and signature items that will stimulate new interest and encourage impulse purchases.

“There are ways to increase the perceived value of baked goods as well,” Osorio says, “by adding a drizzle of maple icing and bacon crumbles, for example, or leveraging the current s’mores craze by adding marshmallows and gingerbread crumbs to a chocolate muffin.”

Menu inspiration: Scone bear claws, which reshape dough rounds to form a classic sweet breakfast treat.

Baked goods will always be popular on menus. One of the reasons for this, according to Chef Dawn Petersen of Jarrety’s Place in Rochester, Indiana, is that consumers often don’t have the time or know-how to create quality baked goods at home and they want to treat themselves when they eat out at a restaurant.

Capitalizing on this demand, restaurateurs can rely on baked good sales to be key drivers of revenue, however maximizing that profitability means incorporating the most efficient techniques.

Menu Innovations, Slideshow