Pizza has been an American staple since its arrival in the late 19th century in cities with large Italian populations such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. Pizza sales began as peddlers walked the streets with metal washtubs filled with pizzas and selling them for two cents a slice¹. What can pizza do for your foodservice business? With its universal appeal and virtually limitless choices of toppings and sauce styles, it can fill an important role in your kitchen by both driving consistent business and manage cost by using available kitchen ingredients. Here are four ways to expand menu options without too many additional SKUs.
Did you know that 93% of all Americans eat pizza at least one time a month²? All of this demand for pizza warrants a fresh perspective on how to best cater to that critical segment of the dining population. Pizza isn’t just for lunch or dinner. Consider breakfast pizza. Tapping into the breakfast segment can increase traffic resulting in a more profitable bottom line. And why not consider serving breakfast pizza for dinner? This breakfast for dinner trend continues to grow and has blurred the lines between traditional foods served in exclusive time segments and crossover dishes finding new life no matter what time of day they are served³.
Pepperoni remains the most popular type of American pizza topping, but consumers are looking beyond pepperoni to new pizza horizons. New twists on pizzas is fusion – featuring Latin, Asian, and Greek inspired toppings and sauces – to expand the pizza audience in delicious ways. It can be as simple as using an Asian-inspired sauce, like Sweet Thai Chili (with grilled shrimp, sliced jalapenos, fresh chopped green onions and mozzarella) to add Asian flare to your menu. Specialty pizzas can appeal to multiple consumers – those seeking pizza and Asian food lovers alike. Do you have the basic ingredients for a Mexican dish? With a few ingredients, making a taco pizza with taco meat and salsa, lettuce and tomatoes is an easy menu extension.
Looking for more unusual, seasonal spins on pizza? Butternut Bourbon Tavern Flatbread is a rich, crispy flatbread crust with squash, arugula, and baby spinach with an easy Bourbon Sauce as the base for this fresh pizza creation which is accented with goat cheese and olive oil. Suddenly, new tastes and seasonal, fresh ingredients along with different sauces give customers exciting new pizza options. And expanding on seasonal ingredients, consider apples. A Steak Apple Walnut Blue Cheese Pizza rounds out any pizza menu with shredded steak, apples, and baby spinach. The rich tastes of hearty steak and crunchy apples brings unique flavor to an old favorite. This would be a perfect fall creation: a new comfort food creation.
What about a white pizza instead of the traditional red, tomato-based sauce? Using a creamy Alfredo sauce works well to create a more elegant pizza offering. You can use just about any topping on a white pizza that you would use on a red sauced pizza. It can be topped with chicken for a White Chicken Pizza or with shrimp for a Seafood Pizza. The sauce is also very accepting of add-in ingredients like basil pesto, minced garlic, or dried dill to really pop the flavor and create a signature taste that customers can only get from your restaurant.
From its humble beginnings being sold out of washtubs in New York City to the evolution of an entire menu of options, pizza continues to keep guests coming back for more. More options, more sauces, more recipes…the possibilities of pizza creations are as endless as the ingredients in the kitchen.
¹”The History of Pizza.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_pizza. Accessed 9 October 2014.
² The Editors of Publications International, Ltd. “Twelve Facts About Pizza.” Howstuffworks. http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/fresh-ideas/dinner-food-facts/12-facts-about-pizza.htm Accessed 9 October 2014.
³”Restaurant.com Predicts the Top Food and Restaurant Trends for 2014.” Restaurant.com. 14 January 2014. http://www.restaurantnews.com/restaurant-com-predicts-the-top-food-and-restaurant-trends-for-2014/. Accessed 9 October 2014.