Draw consumers in with holiday-inspired comfort classics

Photograph: Shutterstock

From roast turkey with all the trimmings to desserts featuring seasonal, festive flavors, year-end holiday menus offer operators an opportunity to drive sales and create meaningful, memorable experiences for their guests.

Operators can consider putting their own twist on familiar items by adding fruit-flavored glazes to turkey or ham or by incorporating seasonal add-ins to classic side dishes such as rice or stuffing. Here are a few strategies for amping up holiday menus.

Innovating with holiday sides

UNCLE BEN’S® offers two varieties of stuffing and several varieties of rice, which can be offered alone as holiday side dishes, or combined with add-ins to create unique, flavorful accompaniments.

For example, operators can incorporate some seasonal flair into their side dishes with fall vegetable flavors, such as in this Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash, made with UNCLE BEN’S® Converted® Brand Rice, shallots and butternut squash.

Stuffing can also be prepared in a variety of unexpected forms as a side dish for holiday meals. Consider forming prepared UNCLE BEN’S® Classic Cornbread Stuffing Mix into balls, coating them with breading and creating Cornbread Stuffing Croquettes.


Holiday desserts are an especially effective way to drive customer satisfaction. Customers who have dessert are much more likely to give a restaurant an excellent rating, according to a December 2018 Category Intelligence report from Technomic, which found that 58% of dessert customers reported having an excellent overall experience compared to 51% of diners overall.

Fall heralds the warm flavors of the season, such as apple, cinnamon and pumpkin. Consider shareable seasonal desserts such as Apple Pie Puffs Made with TWIX® Cookie Bars.

Then, shift gears to Christmas with colorful treats such as Mini Pastry Cream Cups with M&M'S® Red and Green Chocolate Candies.

For holiday menu plans, MARS Foodservices has the resources and ingredients restaurants need. Visit for more recipes and culinary inspiration.

This post is sponsored by Mars Foodservices


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