In an era when more diners are choosing where to eat based on photos they see on social media, finding unique sides can help plates become more aesthetically pleasing, drawing in customers and driving sales. When it comes to America’s favorite side, french fries, an opportunity to create separation from competitors presents itself.
“Everyone has fries on the menu, but most restaurants serve the same kind of fry,” says Roberto Roman, corporate executive chef with Simplot. “If chefs can provide the flavor that everyone is accustomed to, but in a new, more exciting way, it can really help attract business.”
Here are some ways unique french fry shapes create a memorable dining experience.
While most french fries work well with ketchup, standard cut fries might have trouble absorbing smoother dipping sauces. Twisting shapes provide more surface area for sauces to stick to.
“Take a fry like Sidewinders,” Roman says. “These work really nicely with dips and cheese sauces, and the customer feels like they’re getting something unique. We call them a ‘wow fry’ because it’s something that really ignites a connection.”
While a plate of regular fries with ketchup might not be worth adding to a menu as a standalone appetizer, a diverse shape with an elevated dipping sauce is. Roman says this is especially true for patrons enjoying a few drinks.
“Bars can really benefit from a unique french fry offering,” Roman says. “When you’re sitting at the bar, you want something that is comforting and has great flavor, and Simplot products can help deliver. Picture the Sidewinders with a signature mustard as an appetizer—that’s attractive to bar patrons.”
With the wave of off-premises ordering growing rapidly, food offerings, including french fries, must make the adjustment; Serving soggy fries isn’t going to win repeat business. Even when used for in-house operations on the side of a burger or handheld, fries are often the last thing a diner eats.
“When you go to a restaurant and order a burger and fries you don’t always eat the fries immediately,” Roman says. “They’ll probably be on the plate for 10 or 15 minutes before you finish them, and you want fries that will hold their crunch and flavor through that process.”
Roman says the sidewinder shape can be a solve for operators looking to add something unique to their menu.
“Sidewinders are the ultimate fun-fry,” Roman says. “They go really well with dips and cheese sauces. They create value because a little goes a long way—the fries will look better because the shape creates volume.”
For more information on how to add photogenic, fun french fries to your menu, visit Simplot’s website.