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Elevate salads with premium ingredients

Greek Mediterranean salad

Salads have been stealing the show for a while: They’re the top-selling entree in full-service restaurant chains and bested only by sandwiches in limited-service restaurant chains. So it’s no surprise that there are increasing ways to make a salad enticing. Consumers order salads in restaurants an average of 1.4 times per week, and operators are working hard to ensure consumers have delicious and flavorful options to choose from.

One way operators are increasing the appeal of salads is by promoting premium ingredients, particularly specialty cheeses. Forty-two percent of all consumers, and 64% of Gen Zers, are willing to purchase and pay more for salads described as premium, so adding artisan cheeses to salads can be a great way to increase a salad’s profitability.

Feta is one cheese that’s making big waves. Over a five-year period, salad entrees that feature feta cheese have increased 20% on restaurant menus.

Feta cheese is commonly offered on Greek salads, but it’s being featured on other salads as well, and diners are interested: 35% of consumers say they would consider ordering feta on their salads. Feta cheese adds a salty, indulgent edge to salads, while also allowing restaurant owners to charge a bit more for menu items.

Here’s a look at a few ways operators today are adding premium cheeses on salads:

  • Best Hamburgers and Deli, a fast-casual restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y., offers its Bella Salad, which features grilled chicken breast, roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella over garden salad.
  • Broadway Cellars, a casual-dining restaurant in Chicago, offers its Broadway Chopped Salad, which includes greens, chicken, bacon, egg, tomato, zucchini, green onion, Gouda and provolone cheese.
  • Ram Restaurant & Brewery’s Kale and Quinoa Salad features kale and quinoa, grape tomatoes, Marcona almonds, red onions, cucumber, olive oil, salt, pepper, feta and balsamic reduction drizzle.

This post is sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

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