Nobody needs to tell operators how hard it’s been to staff a restaurant during the pandemic, but perhaps those operators could use some help in finding products that speak to quality and maximize labor.
That’s why Chef Salvatore Gisellu, of Urban Crust in Plano, Texas, looks to reliable vendors for high-quality products that require little labor in the kitchen during uncertain times like these. In particular, Chef Gisellu touts his ongoing relationship with Belgioioso as one of the things he can count on these days.
“We definitely have issues with labor,” says Chef Salvatore Gisellu. “We have everything from 19 year olds, to 55 year olds working for us, and sometimes there is a language barrier. That means if we can have consistent products that are easy to use and don’t need to be processed, it’s a huge advantage for us, and Belgioioso has always delivered a consistent and quality product, with great customer service.”
In this slideshow, we’ll take a look at how Belgioioso’s burrata and mozzarella products offer chefs versatile, portion-controlled ingredients that can reduce labor and help bolster sales.
Chef Gisellu is a self-proclaimed mozzarella connoisseur who could talk about the cheese endlessly. He’s partial to BelGioioso fresh mozzarella and uses it across his menu. In fact, Urban Crust has no fewer than three starters that leverage mozzarella: a Caprese Salad, Wood-Fired Boccoconi, and a starter Buffalina pizza.
“I’ve been using BelGioioso cheese for 12 years, since we opened this restaurant,” Gisellu says. “There is a consistency to the cheese, and a richness to the fresh mozzarella. The flavor is both intense but delicate at the same time. Fresh mozzarella is not always a very strong cheese, but BelGioioso’s flavor is the best out there.”
Another Belgioioso item that's helping operators stay on trend is its burrata offering. According to Datassential, burrata is up on menus over 83 percent since 2015. Still, it’s found on just 6.5 percent of U.S. menus, leaving operators an opportunity to establish unique offerings. Datassential also reports that burrata has highest interest among the Gen Z and millennial demographics, making it a great way to draw in younger diners.
Urban Crust has a special where avocado is substituted in for tomatoes in a caprese salad. This might play especially well in winter when local tomatoes aren’t as ripe and avocados are in season.
“That’s a really popular special because you can present it really nice and it has great flavor,” Gisellu says. “In general, the way you plate any version of a caprese salad can help play it up.”
Burrata—made from cream and mozzarella—is similar to mozzarella in that it can be used across a menu, in appetizers or salads, pizzas, sandwiches, or much more. It can also help create some eye-catching LTOs, especially in the fall, where it pairs nicely with squash, fruit, and nuts.
Not only do pre-packed, quality cheeses help keep labor down, but they can also offer high margins on menu items like salads and pizza. Calling out a brand like Belgioioso on the menu can command top dollar.
“One of the biggest challenges in the restaurant industry is achieving consistency,” says Chef Salvatore Gisellu of Urban Crust in Plano, Texas. “Consistency of the product, consistency of the business, just consistency of the brand. My restaurant is open seven days a week, and with everything that comes up throughout each day, it’s really important to have one less concern when you’re buying a product that is consistent from a dependable vendor. I don’t worry about my mozzarella, because Belgioioso delivers a consistently great product.”
For more information on BelGioioso’s famous cheeses,check out its website.