As an increasing number of consumers feel comfortable returning to dining rooms, they’re looking for twists on flavors that they haven’t been able to try during their time spent at home. At the same time, the ongoing labor crunch has left restaurants scrambling to meet customer expectations, which are now higher than ever after years of pent-up demand.
“As a restaurant operator, maybe you don’t have a trusted group of employees anymore, or maybe they don’t have enough time in the day to devote to scratch recipes,” says Lucia Falek, vice president of development and quality systems at Butterball Farms. “It’s a totally different market now, and oftentimes, there isn’t a single extra body to do anything. Restaurants need to save time, labor, and money while keeping the same complexity of design and flavor in their food.”
Prepared and pre-portioned flavored butters, such as garlic butter, truffle butter, or a Nashville Hot butter, can be melted quickly over loaded fries or tots, offering an easy trend-forward flavor innovation on a familiar comfort food. Fries continue to dominate the world of comfort food—in fact, a report from Datassential recently found that fries have increased in popularity by 68 percent since 2017.
Upscaled “heat-and-eat” take-home meals are a growing trend. The National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry Report found that one in three full-service restaurant operators believe offering fresh or packaged food on-premises for retail sale will become more popular in their segment this year.
Butterball Farms prepared and pre-portioned dollops in a wide range of flavors offer a labor-saving solution to add to take-home meals—simply top proteins, veggies, or grains with a flavored dollop. Butterball Farms gravy dollops add an extra burst of savory flavor to holiday meals. And for operators looking to see how those dollops might fit into their own restaurant, Butterball Farms is now offering operators free samples.
When planning for the summer months, seafood boils present an opportunity for operators to add a simple seasonal dish to the menu.
“Consumers will be more into seafood boils as we get ready for the summer,” Falek says. “There are a variety of flavors that can go well with seafood and get people interested, such as Blackened Cajun and Chile Lime Cilantro.”
Butterball Farms’ new seafood boil butter sauce is a low-labor way to create a new dish. Staff can add seafood, corn on the cob, and potatoes to the specially seasoned sauce and simply heat and serve. For chefs and operators curious how much labor might be saved making the switch, Butterball Farms also offers free samples of this sauce.
Every generation of adults say they now eat more seafood compared to eating more red meat, according to a March 2022 report from Datassential. Mintel has found that 70 percent of U.S. seafood consumption happens in restaurants, so operators may consider tweaking their seafood options to entice these customers and save time back-of-house.
All seafood varieties from salmon, tuna, sea bass, shrimp, and mahi mahi dishes can benefit from pre-portioned, prepared flavored dollops. Dollops help eliminate pre-mixing time and the need to train staff, as they help ensure a consistent experience across multiple locations.
As takeout maintains its popularity, the logistics of transport are another important consideration. Flavored dollops can help hold heat in fish, keeping an appealing temperature throughout the trip to the customer.
Versatile, available, and affordable, eggs are making a comeback on menus this year. Eggs are becoming a workhorse ingredient in inventive all-day sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, and bowls. Even traditional scrambled eggs are making plays for the lunch and dinner menus.
Shaped butter balls or roses are an easy way to upscale eggs on a plate. Pre-portioned, prepared flavored butter such as Parmesan Black Pepper and Bacon Shallot can enhance bowls, omelets, steak and eggs, or quiche. Butterball Farms also offers free samples of its shaped butters.
When it comes to enticing consumers back to the dining room, the experience is still a major pull. The National Restaurant Association found that 68 percent of adults would prefer to spend money on an experience like going to a restaurant rather than buying something from a store.
At many restaurants, bread is an essential part of the dining experience. Operators can make their bread more memorable by using shaped butters to dress up a plate, such as a rose, a ball, or a customized logo featuring the restaurant’s brand. Of course, upscaling the dining experience can also lead to increased bar and wine sales.
Even as more people return to dining out, off-premises sales remain strong. Full-service restaurants can enhance their takeout counter with portion-control flavored butters such as Butterball Farms’ new Honey Butter. Butterball also offers custom-flavored portion-control butters with brand customization on the cup, which can create a memorable impression for takeout, delivery, and grab-and-go customers. They are also able to provide individually wrapped shaped butters with custom printing like brand, best-by date, allergens, and so on.
“If operators have a current product like a signature sauce that they are making in-house we can make it for them, ensuring consistency and saving on labor,” Falek says. “Or maybe they have an idea in mind that they would like to introduce—then we can help with the innovation process. Either way, we provide the high-quality product customers expect from a restaurant experience that is also easier for the staff to prepare.”
According to a 2022 report from Datassential, gouda cheese is up 6 percent on menus over the last four years. Operators may consider creating menu items with low-labor gouda cheese options such as Butterball Farms’ prepared cherry gouda cream cheese. With bits of real cherries blended in, it can serve multiple applications, such as a stuffing for grilled chicken. It doesn’t require pre-mixing, so the kitchen staff can save time on this elevated twist.
To try free samples of Butterball Farms products, visit the company’s website.