When you want to update your menu or create a startup menu, don’t fear getting creative!

Customers will not be as resistant as you may think.

You should always keep your popular items or people’s favorites.

You know what dining guests love! Why mess with a good thing?

BUT just as it is human nature to stay with the familiar, you’d be surprised how many want to try the newest food trend.

The restaurant industry has always been innovative, regardless of keeping with traditional palate favorites.

Watch the food channel, and you’ll see how favorites and trends keep a steady pace with each other.

Look how well-fried chicken and waffles, chocolate-covered bacon, stuffed burgers, avocado toast, or lobster mac-n-cheese has taken off, name a few.

Notice what those selections have in common, incorporating familiar and favorite ingredients into new dishes.

When your guests can find a recognizable ingredient, it can encourage them to try a new menu item.

Data Drives Your Menu Selections

According to Technomic’s a data company that provides insights for both operators and suppliers, covering menu trends reported in 2019, 70% of consumers eat chicken dishes at least once a week. A full 93% of restaurants have it on the menu. As a food that consumers eat all the time, chicken lends itself particularly well to innovation, both with flavors and format.

Chicken Little NOT!

Because a chicken has a neutral flavor, it can be marinated and grilled. It can be breaded, seasoned, fried as an appetizer, or chopped in a fresh and healthy salad. Chicken also is the center of the plate entree. No matter what diners are in the mood to eat, chicken is reliable and the go-to food option. That’s why you can use it to experiment with classic favorites and come up with all-new creative options.

Dips, Sauces, and Condiments Oh My!

There is a lot of options to innovate chicken dishes. Using dips and condiments, trending flavors and ingredients can completely change the taste of a dish.

For instance, chicken wings offer your customers a tasty new adventure when tossed with garlic parmesan or Thai chili jam instead of traditional Buffalo sauce.

Putting a twist on barbecue chicken when you mix in exciting new ingredients into the sauce such as sriracha, bourbon, even a honey pineapple purée.

Further, customize their meals with multiple dip options!

This can eliminate consumers’ reluctance to try a new sauce for fear of not liking it!

What Are the Big Guys Doing to Their Menu?

Since chicken is so universally popular, it’s no surprise that it’s often used in formats across the industry. For instance, Einstein Bros. Bagels recently introduced a French Toast Chicken Sandwich as a limited-time offer. This sweet and savory sandwich features cage-free eggs, crispy chicken, cheddar cheese, and honey almond shmear on a French toast bagel. Their experiment with breakfast sandwich toppings for the morning menu and offering popcorn chicken and waffle bites perfect for a kids’ menu.

Innovating with chicken makes upgrading appetizer offerings easy, too— for example, use chicken chips instead of tortilla chips for a protein-packed plate of nachos. Serve chicken tenders with a flight of signature sauces, or offer loaded chicken fries topped with cheese, bacon, scallions, and other toppings typically found on French fries.

The Pandemic is the Immunity Buster On The Menu

Because we’re in a pandemic, many choose to eat healthily! Immunity-boosting ingredients are and will continue to be sought after by consumers. Many menus are touting those benefits directly on menus. You may want to put some immunity building items on your menu too.

No matter what menu changes you have in mind, chicken acts as the perfect canvas for their creativity. When using No Antibiotics Chicken products, restaurants can also feel confident that they’re offering their diners high-quality poultry that tastes great every time.

Expect to continue to see operators turn to ingredients such as leafy greens to help relieve stress and anthocyanin-rich plants to boost immunity.

Don’t Fear Updating or Creating Your Restaurant Menu.

The thing to remember, your customers are going to want options, especially if they love your food.

They already want to order from you!

Suppose your customers are doing curbside or having your food delivered more often since the pandemic. Creating a new menu with assorted options shows a greater chance they will order from you and not your competition.

bartender and manager in restaurant

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