Unique varieties of burgers and hot dogs have become increasingly popular here in the UK. These traditional dishes have undergone a huge transformation, available in many shapes and sizes, with many food outlets offering some form gourmet food on their menus. Gourmet style burgers or hot dogs covered in delicious toppings and served in exciting ways are available in a selection that fits everyone’s tastes, from vegans to carnivores and even those that enjoy a bit of spice.
No gourmet dish would be complete without an equally exceptional side dish. Gone are the days of plain cut chips from the freezer as side dishes have been reinvented to complement their trendy new counterparts. Customers love to customise their food to meet their individual preferences and needs. One of the easiest ways for operators to introduce the feeling of customisation to their menus is by allowing customers to choose their side dishes. Moving forward at full speed the industry is beginning to move past the “swap chips for salad” option and provide more varied choices for diners.
A consumer focus on healthier diets has also brought change to side dish option, with chefs introducing vegetable based sides rather than only providing potato and carbohydrate choices. Vegetables are becoming revamped and exciting with items such as courgette fries, grilled cauliflower and experimental cutting methods such as spiralising.
Side dishes don’t always have to be healthy though. Indulgent options that draw from the popularity of dishes from around the world are joining the selection of sides. Spiced rice dishes, chips smothered in toppings, sweet potato fries and American classics such as ‘tater tots’, macaroni cheese and buffalo wings have proven to be especially popular with UK diners.
Take a look at our mac & cheese blog post to see how this American favourite launched itself onto UK menus.
The summer 2016 Menu Trend survey from Horizons has found that the proportion of side orders offered is now 18.2% compared with 17.1% across restaurants, pubs, quick service outlets and hotels. This shows that establishments are realising the potential of sides and are catering for the more flexible lifestyles of their consumers.
Offering a range of side dish options or meal additions will give operators the opportunity to upsell premium options which will raise the average cost per head.
Take a look at our Food Packaging E-brochure to see how our packaging could help your business to provide delicious side dishes to go.