Diners want memorable moments. That’s what McCain Foods uncovered when it partnered with Boston Consulting Group to conduct a study of 10,000 diners in late 2021: when consumers go out to eat, they are looking for a social experience they can share with friends and family. Ideally, the food served would help connect them to that process in a memorable way.
This led McCain Foods to develop McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites, a new chef-driven, “bite-sized, craveable potato shareable” that can be used in a variety of different ways to unlock memorable dining experiences. The item is crispy on the outside with a creamy, mashed potato interior—its build, flavor, and texture make it a versatile culinary canvas that can drive innovation.
“McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites are a craveable addition to any menu, and they stand up to seasoning, saucing, and tossing without losing their distinct shape,” says Chef Mark Slutzky, director of culinary at McCain Foods. “Customizable with minimal prep, they streamline back-of-house prep and make it easy to create ‘wow-worthy’ experiences.”
This slideshow is a look at some unique applications that exhibit the versatility of McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites—and why the product is exactly what both chefs and diners are looking for.
According to the National Restaurant Association’s “State of the Industry” report from February, 62 percent of operators still can’t meet demand with the staff they have. Further complicating kitchen operations, about 22 percent of restaurant job openings in 2022 were filled by first-time employees, meaning there’s a dearth of skilled labor in the restaurant industry.
McCain Mini Mashers™ are an antidote to these ongoing challenges. Nashville Hot and Ranch Mini Mashers, for example, is a menu idea that requires very little labor in the kitchen. McCain Mini Mashers™ can even be served on their own with a signature house dipping sauce—keeping labor costs in check without sacrificing on menu excitement.
“How do you create a great experience if you don’t have the staffing for it?” Slutzky says. “I think that’s what we, as a food manufacturer, bring to the table. McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites are this beautifully consistent product that really doesn't require a lot of labor in order to be turned into a great menu item.”
Shareable menu items are trending—Datassential recently predicted charcuterie boards would grow 25 percent in the next four years. After a couple of years of restrictions placed on gatherings, consumers now more than ever favor social occasions when they dine out.
Slutzky and his team work with a large full-service bar and grill concept that lives by the philosophy of “trips to lips,” he says.
“They measure the success of a menu item based on trips to the mouth, or ‘trips-to-lips,’” Slutzky says. “You’re there for hours with your friends, you want some finger food to keep popping into your mouth—that’s what McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites are perfect for in my mind.”
Korean Sweet Soy Glazed Mini Mashers provide something “poppable” and social—perfect for any menu.
Just by adding them into the mix, McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites can help create unique menu items and standout LTOs. This BBQ Brisket Wrap designed by the McCain culinary team is a great example of how adding McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites adds an extra element to something that might not otherwise be a menu highlight.
“McCain Mini Mashers provide chefs not just this great culinary canvas, but also a way to easily elevate something you may already have on your menu,” Slutzky says. “The possibilities are endless, really.”
McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites were first brought to market in January, 2023. Because of their unique build and composition—as well as their versatility—the bite-sized potato product has fast become a hit. Operators are steadily creating their own applications for a SKU that can be used in multiple places on a menu. And for those looking for even more possible uses? Slutzky and his team are more than happy to help out.
“This is a product I’ve shown to operators across segments—from major quick-service brands, to full-service operators and everyone in between,” Slutzky says. “Everyone is really excited about this innovation from McCain Foods. And we’re really excited to see what everybody comes up with using this product.”
Pictured: Greek McCain Mini Mashers™ Salad Bowl.
For more on McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites, visit the McCain Foods’ website.