The many tasty faces of fries… and their profitable perks Wednesday 21 October 2020
Fries can make up a significant part of your restaurant business. They come in many forms, sizes, shapes and servings, and numerous opportunities can make them a very profitable aspect of your menu. How and when you choose to offer your fries is of course up to you, but there are major benefits to taking a broad look at this product category and asking yourself: “how can I do more with my fries?” The good news is that there are many ways to optimise their use, sometimes in surprisingly easy ways. Curious? Let’s take a closer look at the five most popular (and profitable!) methods to serve up some tasty fries!
1) Loaded fries and loaded margins
Canadian poutine, fries loaded with garlic cheese, truffle and Parmesan or bacon and cheese – there are as many exciting and tasty toppings available as your imagination allows. This appetising alliance between fries and other ingredients can turn your fries from a side dish into an exciting main event that offers lucrative opportunities for your restaurant. That’s because fries love to be the hero in a main dish and their relatively low price ensures they provide quite a margin. As long as you don’t load them with comparatively expensive toppings, your fries will turn into a mouth-watering, high-value dish!
2) Popular plate fillers that complete your guest experience
Next to an Oscar-worthy leading role, fries make perfect supporting actors, modestly playing second fiddle to meat, fish or vegetarian dishes. But don’t underestimate the power of the supportive fries! Customers might focus on the main dish when ordering, but the right fries complete the dish. As fillers they are affordable, offer a higher margin and add volume and appeal to the plate served. Fries can make a real contribution to the total dinner experience. The steakhouse fry, for example: the perfect match for your gourmet burger. Together they form a strong, authentic meal in which the steakhouse fries play a supporting, but very important role.
3) Make your fries on the side a premium
Regular fries, crinkled sweet potato fries, seasoned wedges, skin-off, skin-on… fries take on many tasty, flattering shapes. Their variety makes them suitable for pairing with all sorts of meals and toppings, at almost any time of day. Fries are a side dish that love company and these combinations create profit margin potential (especially when served in larger quantities!). That’s why offering them as a side dish option on your menu is just perfect. Fries as a side dish allow guests the opportunity to personalise their meal, or order additional potato side dishes next to what is included and turns them into a premium choice. A win-win on all fronts!
TIP: Depending on the dishes they accompany, it’s up to you to decide where to put margin emphasis. Pairing fries with a comparatively expensive dish might be more lucrative as it puts your margin with your main.
4) Finger-lickin’ food
There’s a time and a place for everything, and that goes for fries too. Customers often prefer their fries to accompany their meals, but fries are also suitable as an appetiser or finger food. In fact, it’s a starter that everyone loves, which is very easy to share… a risk-free, yet satisfying crunch.
5) To upsell or not to upsell, that’s the question!
You put a lot of time and thought into compiling the perfect dishes. Carefully creating the right combinations of textures and flavours. However, sometimes your customers decide otherwise. Instead of rice, they want fries… or sweet potatoes. Or instead of the regular fries you suggested, they desire a different variety, or even loaded fries. Get tactical: allow personalisation or upgrading as an easy upsell option. Everybody’s happy!
TIP: Be sure to mention this opportunity on your menu as well, since not all guests will be confident enough to express their desire for an alternative combination.
As you can see, there are many ways to offer your fries, all with their own advantages. But don’t get too carried away with the options you decide to offer. Identifying which opportunities are already available in your restaurant business is key. Category management can help you find opportunities within your menu. By optimising your current business instead of adding dishes, you make sure your costs stay low, customers don’t develop a severe case of decision stress, and life for your kitchen staff doesn’t get harder. A fast food environment, with cash registers and menu items at the ready, demands a different type of menu than a casual dining restaurant where customers can really take their time. The less time available to decide, the fewer options you should offer. So, use your fries wisely and they are bound to repay you with attractive returns.
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