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Three ways queso invigorates menus

As consumers increasingly head back to restaurant dining rooms, visiting their old favorites and checking out new hotspots alike, many will notice that menus have been updated—some restaurants have streamlined their offerings and eliminated all but the top-selling items, while others have chosen to expand their menus to feature more of the ingredients their diners love most. One ingredient—queso— has the opportunity to revitalize menu offerings in a few unique ways, while offering restaurants the versatility they need right now. With supply chain and labor challenges forcing operators to adapt and readapt to whatever the market throws their way, queso offers a great solution for menu updates. Here are a few ways queso can invigorate restaurant offerings and boost customer satisfaction at the same time:

Behind-the-scenes creativity and back-of-house innovation

Queso—typically thought of as merely a side or topping for nachos—can be used for so many other dishes, too. The cheese sauce’s versatility means kitchen staff can add it to an array of different dishes, from appetizers to sides to entrees alike, with ease—and not just Mexican or Mexican-inspired foods, either. For instance, it can be made into on-trend Nashville Hot Chicken Queso Dip to satisfy spice-seekers. For a unique side, try offering Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Truffle Queso—a rich, indulgent dish that comes together in a snap. Because queso requires virtually no prep work, kitchen staff have the freedom to let their imaginations run wild—without worrying about adding extra labor to a dish.

Bespoke meal customization

Queso’s versatility not only means that it tastes great in a wide array of dishes, but also that it’s perfect for offering as a customization to just about any meal. For example, queso can be offered as an add-on dipping sauce for french fries or used in place of (or in addition to!) sliced cheeses on an indulgent burger or sandwich. It can be added to customize a grain bowl, or to upgrade a breakfast burrito, too. According to Technomic’s 2021 Flavor Consumer Trend Report, 41% of consumers say they are tempted to order a menu item when it is served with an “original” sauce, topping or ingredient that they can only get at a particular restaurant. What’s more, 53% say it’s important or extremely important to be able to customize their meals with sauces or condiments, while 59% say the same about toppings and ingredients. By offering queso as an option for customizing meals, operators can boost menu appeal and diner satisfaction.

Premium add-on delight

Technomic’s Flavor report found that “cheesy” is the most craveable flavor, with 57% of consumers saying so. For operators interested in boosting the bottom line and raising check averages, offering queso as a premium upgrade or add-on to a dish can be a great way to do so. And because diners love customizing their meals—particularly with cheese sauces—queso offers a big opportunity for operators.

A low-labor menu add-on that not only boosts flavor but also customer satisfaction is a big deal for restaurants. To learn more about queso and get inspiration for how to add it to the menu, visit www.landolakesfoodservice.com.

This post is sponsored by Land O'Lakes Foodservice

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