Pantry hero products help labor-stretched operators

Lamb bourguignon mashed potatoes
Photograph: Shutterstock

After over a year working and adapting to numerous challenges brought on by the pandemic, operators are facing yet another tough spell. Current labor shortages mean longer wait times for customers, more difficulty preparing every dish thanks to a shrunken kitchen crew, and more. Operators are choosing to trim menus to focus on top sellers and customer favorites—as well as items that are quick, easy to prepare, and profitable. Versatile ingredients that can be used across the menu throughout the day are a great help. Options that don’t require a lot of culinary expertise and items that hold well for traveling in to-go meals are an operator’s best friend right now—and really, always.

Here are a few reasons why it’s fresh-dried mashed potatoes’ time to shine—and some menu inspiration to get started.

Minimal, easy prep

When kitchen staff is stretched thin, an easy way to ease the stress is to choose menu items that require minimal prep and little expertise—enter fresh-dried mashed potatoes from Idahoan Foodservice. Made from real Idaho potatoes, they require only boiling water to prepare and are ready in minutes—perfect for ensuring meals come together quickly with little room for error.

Shelf-stable and easy to store

Versatile ingredients shouldn’t just be easy to cook—they should also be easy to store, whether prepared or not. Fresh-dried mashed potatoes from Idahoan Foodservice fit the bill here, too. These potatoes are shelf stable for easy storage in a kitchen’s pantry, where they won’t take up valuable refrigerator or freezer space. What’s more, they can be prepared in bulk and held—they keep safely when refrigerated for up to three days, so it’s easy for kitchen staff to prepare for a few days’ service at a time without worrying about waste. Shelf-stable ingredients are especially helpful in today’s landscape, with fluctuating traffic levels and ever-changing shifts in consumer behavior.

Great for traveling

The pandemic brought forth an unprecedented rise in takeout and delivery orders, thanks to dining room shutdowns and consumers’ hesitancy to visit restaurants in person. Even as things get back to normal, however, that boost in off-premise business is expected to stay. For many operators, ensuring their food is as high quality and delicious when it travels can be a challenge—but not with mashed potatoes. They hold well for to-go meals, retaining heat without the threat of going soggy like some other sides can. And because they’re easy to reheat, they’re perfect for diners who love leftovers.

Delicious, craveable and familiar

Mashed potatoes are a winner for an array of reasons listed above. Above all, they’re a customer favorite. Comfort foods are always a popular menu option, and for operators that want to branch out a bit, they’re great for LTOs and seasonal offerings, too. Try a Mashed Potato Lasagna, for instance, or Papadillas Nachos with Peruvian Potato Dip, perfect for diners seeking internationally inspired meals.

The current labor shortage doesn’t mean operators have to skimp on great food. Learn more about fresh-dried mashed potatoes’ possibilities for restaurants anytime at

This post is sponsored by Idahoan Foods


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