Crowd-pleasing appetizers are on the rise as customers look for sweet and savory options.

The term “star” in the foodservice industry refers to a menu item high in popularity and low cost to produce—a menu staple. Soft pretzels are one of those foods if a restaurant can manage to find a way to produce consistent, high-quality, soft pretzels. 

“Bavarian soft pretzel bites have grown about 66 percent in menus over the past few years, specifically mini and bite size,” says Norma Abbattista, senior director of foodservice marketing at J&J Snack Foods. “This led to the development of our new Bavarian soft pretzel bites, which are a fluffier dough, slightly sweeter, and have a more interesting look to them with some ridges.” Furthermore, soft pretzels are projected to grow by 9.8 percent on appetizer and side menus by 2026, according to a study by Datassential. Trends with vegan diets and appetizers point to soft pretzels’ continued popularity within a wide range of dining establishments.

A Tough Market Meets a Soft Pretzel

With labor, inflation, and supply chain issues straining the restaurant business more than ever, all operators must consider where they can make operations more efficient. This must be balanced with providing great experiences and food for customers, which is a feat all on its own.

“Bavarian soft pretzel bites have better hold times and stay warmer,” Abbattista says. “They are easier prep for operators, because they can prepare them and set them for a bit, and they’ll still deliver a great tasting product to customers.” 

With longer hold times and a consistent product, operators and customers can depend on J&J soft pretzels even when everything else in a restaurant environment is moving quickly.

Consistency in Flavor and Delivery

Appetizers, unlike some menu offerings, are expected to be delivered in a short period of time. Generally, they must be delivered before a meal and should be something customers can rely on. Soft pretzels are complicated to make with consistency in-house, and variations may not be appreciated by customers. This is in large part why buying ready-made soft pretzels can be a game changer for kitchens. 

“The labor is something a restaurant doesn’t necessarily have the time to perfect on their end,” Abbattista says. “That is why we offer something so simple to prepare but also fresh tasting and high quality. I think it allows our operators to feel proud to serve something from J&J Snack Foods.”

A Tiered Approach

“We have different tiers of pretzels and desserts,” Abbattista says. “For fine dining, we offer more upscale pretzel sticks or twists that are more of the German style and have complex ingredients and a richer taste than your traditional soft pretzel.”

Evolving to meet customers’ needs is as necessary as it is difficult. Experimenting with menus and knowing what will be successful is a challenge before considering training, menu changes, and operational efficiencies. Partnering with a company that has established product success, ready-made menu items, and keeps an eye on trends can alleviate many challenges. 

“Partnering with someone like J&J Snack Foods, which has such variety in its portfolio can make it easy to incorporate an LTO or try one item for a little bit and then maybe move into a different item later while not disrupting the supply chain,” Abbattista says.

A Solution for Every Problem

Managing relationships with suppliers and finding the right supplier can be a struggle; however, J&J Snack Foods can reduce supply chain complexities, as it offers many different products that have been rigorously tested. 

“J&J Snack Foods can provide one or two products for your menu, but we can also help innovate and come up with other items beyond just the appetizer or dessert space,” Abbattista explains. “A lot of our competitors are just a single source solution or single product offering. Our breadth within our portfolio is something that makes us unique.“

Trusting a supplier is integral to the success of a restaurant. Customer satisfaction and experiences rely on the quality of products received from suppliers. Soft pretzels are a trending space that can be difficult to break into without an experienced supplier to guide operations. However, putting a “star” food on the menu can unlock greater profit margins, simplify operational complexities, and cater to customer needs. 

“When partnering with someone for soft pretzels, operators want to partner with someone who knows and understands the product,” Abbattista asserts. “This is why J&J Snack Foods should be your partner.” 

For more information on J&J Snack Foods soft pretzels visit their website.

By Ya’el McLoud

Slideshow, Sponsored Content