There’s no need to normalize “hangry” guests.
Unfortunately, it’s a common scene across the industry right now: Hungry guests darting their eyes around the dining room as overtaxed waitstaff scrambles to keep everyone happy. The labor shortage has wreaked havoc on the guest experience, with a lack of back of house employees affecting the front of house experience like never before.
“It’s tough to have a positive dining experience when you sit and wait for longer than usual for your food to come out,” says Steve Blount Jr., brand manager for Blount Fine Foods. “It’s especially hard right now because we’re all so excited to be back out eating at restaurants. You go into it hoping for this great experience and when it’s something less than that, it doesn’t help anybody’s stress level.”
Blount’s suggestion is to build a starter menu with high-quality, delicious options, like soup, or mac and cheese, that can be heated up and plated in a hurry. This keeps guests happy and alleviates stress on kitchen employees, helping them turn over tickets.
“That’s really how Blount Fine Foods is helping operators right now, and always,” Blount says. “We help offer that incredible dining experience that consumers are looking for right now. Our ready-to-use soups all require virtually no labor—anybody can boil a bag in the kitchen and serve soup. So you get that beautiful, high-quality product to start the meal off on the right note. It helps keep the kitchen stress level down and everybody wins.”
Some of the products Blount highlights as great solutions include his company’s new Vegetarian Creamy Jalapeno soup, which he calls “spicy and awesome,” and recommends using across applications. Not only can the soup be heated and ladled into a bowl for consumption, he says, but it can also be thickened up and used as a queso.
Similarly, Blount’s famous line of mac and cheese products can be used right out of the bag, or as a base for things like Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese, Jalapeno Mac and Cheese, or Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese.
“You really can’t go wrong with mac and cheese,” Blount says. “So many of our customers have used our mac and cheese to develop a signature mac that has become a really, really popular menu item. All of our macs are decadent, creamy, premium mac and cheeses that diners really love. They want comfort right now, and this is such a great way to deliver that.”
A New England-based company, Blount Fine Foods has always been known for its creamy soups, including Clam Chowder, which Blount refers to as a “bulletproof” menu item that helps make sure “guests start off a meal right.”
“The core soup game is where it’s at right now,” Blount says. “We have every flavor under the sun, and we’re always doing research and development to find the newest thing. But you really can’t go wrong with a cup of chowder or lobster bisque. I would eat those two for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we see a lot of diners treating it that same way.”
These mouthwatering examples are sure to help full-service brands at a time when they need it most, Blount says, whether these low-labor solutions are served as an appetizer, or as the base for a signature center-of-the-plate item.
“People are shifting to premium ingredients,” Blount says. “But that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to add labor. We’ve never cut corners, we’ve always used the best ingredients we can possibly find in house, so that what we produce is of the highest quality it can be. That means that our restaurant partners, even when they don’t have a ton of help in the kitchen, know they are putting something great on the table for guests. At the end of the day, these are products your customer wants. We spend time on the trends, we spend time turning these into bulletproof, ready-to-use items chefs can count on.”
For more on Blount Fine Food’s ready-to-use solutions, visit the company’s website.