Simplified menus, plant-based options reign in post-pandemic foodservice

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As foodservice locations get back to some sense of relative normalcy, many operators are taking the opportunity to assess what’s what about the menu—what dishes are perpetual big sellers, which ones might be eliminated and if there are any trends that need addressing. According to Technomic’s January 2021 U.S. Foodservice Planning Program, 63{bd1a3fb8a267bf65dee3fa7bd5bef83d11dd7659b283768a0375222e95be74bd} of operators plan to simplify their restaurants this year, and part of that includes simplifying their menus. Additionally, with the rise in popularity of plant-based and plant-forward diets—47{bd1a3fb8a267bf65dee3fa7bd5bef83d11dd7659b283768a0375222e95be74bd} of Americans want to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet in 2021, according to Technomic—many operators are adding vegetarian and plant-forward options to their menus to keep up with the demand.

Finding versatile ingredients that can meet the demand for plant-based choices while also being used in other menu items is key when simplifying the menu. By ensuring the ingredients available in the kitchen are workhorses, operators can feel confident that a pared-down menu will still be satisfying for all of their customers.

Thankfully, the Gardein® line of foodservice products is perfect both for attaining goals of menu simplification and boosting plant-based options. With real-meat taste and texture, low cholesterol and less saturated fat and calories than traditional proteins, Gardein products offer operators the versatility and simplicity they need while fulfilling plant-based needs.

Here’s a few ways to use Gardein products on a simplified menu—in dishes that can be made with or without meat:

1) At breakfast: Chicken and Waffles. Use Gardein® Chick’n Breasts, breaded, and serve them alongside Krusteaz® Belgian Waffles with maple syrup or Log Cabin® Original Syrup. For diners who want a traditional breakfast, this dish can be served with bone-in fried chicken or chicken tenders.

2) For lunch or dinner: a Classic Burger. Made with a beef patty or Gardein® Ultimate Burgers and topped with all the traditional fixings, such as American cheese, dill relish, ketchup, mustard and lettuce, the classic cheeseburger is a menu staple—perfect for a quick and comforting meal and easy to make vegetarian, it’s a crowd pleaser any day of the week.

3) On the appetizer menu: Chicken Wings. Crispy chicken—or chick’n—wings are a hit on shareables and small plates menus. Serve crispy Gardein® Chick’n Wings tossed in buffalo or barbecue sauce, or with a trio of delicious dipping sauces.

Find out more about menu simplifying dishes at

This post is sponsored by ConAgra