facebook pixal

Diners swoon for signature fries

Whether diners are after sweet potato fries, wedges, loaded fries, waffle fries or just about anything else, chances are there’s a restaurant out there willing to accommodate their wildest fry dreams.

Widespread availability of fry options means that for operators to stand out, it’s key to offer a signature twist—whether with seasonings, sauces or preparation styles. And because fries are the most popular side for lunch, dinner and snacks, according to Technomic’s 2016 Starters, Small Plates and Sides report, offering new and exciting iterations of this popular dish can keep things interesting for diners and operators alike.

While ketchup will always have a place in fry baskets, newer sauces and condiments for fries are making waves. According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, the top five fastest-growing condiments with fries are chimichurri sauce, mustard barbecue sauce, sambal, mango chutney and pepper relish. These zesty and fresh choices offer a delicious, craveable bite for those looking to branch out, and are key for creating unique and specialty signature fries.

What’s more, operators can often upcharge for signature fries, creating an opportunity for increased check averages. Recommendations for upcharge amounts for signature fries are 75 cents to $1.50 at limited-service restaurants and 99 cents to $1.99 at full-service restaurants. 

Signature dishes can also inspire social buzz, which can elevate both a restaurant's perception and its bottom line. Signature fries can always include standby ingredients such as specialty cheeses, bacon or green onion. But to really boost interest and social-media excitement, some operators are getting creative with what they’re piling on. Check out how these operators have created Instagrammable signature fry offerings with over-the-top add-ons and toppings:

  • Macaroni Grill’s Loaded Fries feature crispy prosciutto, parmesan, mozzarella cheese sauce, gorgonzola and Calabrese peppers.
  • HopCat, a regional beer-focused casual chain, menus its signature beer-battered Crack Fries, which are flavored with a cracked black pepper house seasoning.
  • Chicago’s bopNGrill restaurant serves up Kimchi Fries, topped with caramelized kimchi, cheese sauce, bacon, scallions, sesame seeds and truffle oil.
  • Spinelli’s Pizzeria, with locations in Tennessee and Arizona, offers Pizza Fries, which come with mozzarella, pepperoni and tomato sauce.
  • Wings Empire in San Diego offers two kinds of loaded fries, pulled pork and buffalo chicken. The former features pulled pork and coleslaw, while the latter is topped with spicy chicken and ranch dressing.

This post is sponsored by Simplot

Want breaking news at your fingertips?

Get today’s need-to-know restaurant industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from Restaurant Business on news and insights that matter to your brand.