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Innovative ingredients create memorable restaurant experiences

Photograph: Shutterstock

In today’s competitive landscape, restaurant operators need to create memorable experiences to keep customers coming back. One of the best ways to do that is through differentiated menu offerings that stand out from the crowd with their quality and craveability.

Many restaurant brands have built their customer followings based on certain signature attributes: burgers that are flame-broiled or square, for example, or fried chicken made with a proprietary seasoning blend. Likewise, fries can also provide a point of differentiation through their shape, their level of crispness or the toppings or condiments that accompany them.

Consumers consistently cite crispness as an important attribute when asked to select their favorite fries, according to Restaurant Business’ annual survey of the “most craveable” fries. And as off-premise dining becomes an increasingly important aspect of operators’ sales, offering fries that maintain their integrity and crispness through delivery is also key. As craveable as a restaurant’s fries might be fresh out of the fryer, they need to be just as satisfying once they reach consumers’ homes.

Simplot Conquest® Crispy Potato Strips meet all of these requirements. These long, wide, thinly sliced fries not only boast a new shape but also offer triple the hold time of conventional fries, making them ideal for takeout, delivery or drive-thru thanks to the extra crispness of their gluten-free batter.

Their shape also makes them ideal as a stand-alone side dish, offering outstanding plate coverage, or as the base for creative sides and appetizers. With their novel appearance and broad versatility, Simplot Conquest® Crispy Potato Strips are tailor-made for the kinds of creative visual presentations consumers are seeking to enjoy with their friends and family and to share on social media, thanks to their ability to stay crispy longer.

Simplot Conquest® Crispy Potato Strips can function as the perfect carrier for a range of dips, or for toppings such as chili or cheese in a shareable “loaded fries” appetizer. In fact, loaded fries had the highest rate of growth of any fry menu item in 2019, with menu mentions up 5.4% in terms of restaurant menu penetration, according to Ignite menu data from Technomic. Cheese fry appetizers and other fry appetizers also saw growth of 1.8% each.

Fries are expected to make a strong comeback in 2020, according to Ignite menu data, which showed 47.6% menu penetration in 2019. Research projected an increase of 0.6% to 48.2% this year.

Simplot Conquest® Crispy Potato Strips represent an alternative to the traditional and iconic straight-cut fries and offer an opportunity for “safe experimentation”: a new variation on something familiar that consumers already crave. Without the risk of unfamiliar flavorings or seasonings on the dish, consumers will eagerly try this new item.

These fries can also be positioned as an upgrade to traditional fries to drive incremental revenues and higher check averages. They boast many of the attributes today’s consumers are seeking in a premium product, including being gluten-free and vegan, with zero grams of trans fat.

For more information about how to boost the french fry program, click here.

This post is sponsored by Simplot

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