5 Steps In 5 Months to 5 % Savings

Pre-pandemic, restaurants were doing well! Products were available, prices are stable, and employers had the power. Then an unexpected punch to the gut happened when the supply chain took a major hit due to shortages and price increases.

What if we said there were things you can do today in order to keep costs low and improve your margins? That means that in a world where everything was all about marketing, sales, butts-in-seats, new locations…. is now all about cost reduction, streamlining efficiency and driving margin.

The biggest and brightest minds in the industry are shifting their focus from top-line revenue to margins and profitability.

Here are 5 steps that you can begin taking today to reduce your prime and operating expenses by 5% in the next 5 months putting you on the right path to profitability:

Integrate Technology


Are you calling your distributors every day to check on stock levels of your most pressing inventory? Many operators are finding out about substitutions only after the products have already been delivered to their restaurants. This does not work when you have been using the same ingredients since the day you opened your restaurant. By leveraging technology such as InsideTrack, you gain visibility into product sourcing and substitutions so you can prepare for menu changes ahead of time – instead of last minute.

What about carrying out core responsibilities in your restaurant such as auditing and price verification? That takes time and resources that not everyone has these days. Your in-house system of taking multiple spreadsheets and comparing them against each line item is no longer a very efficient way to audit. That manual process is too long and can lead to overlooked overcharges – which cost you money at the end of the day. By embracing technology in both your front and back of house, you can streamline operational tasks and reduce spend all at the same time.

Think About Outsourcing


Today, restaurant operators are having to do more with less and are being forced to outsource certain functions of their business such as Marketing, Legal, HR, Payroll, or Accounting.  So, why not outsource supply chain management and purchasing? This does not mean your current supply chain team is replaced. Instead, by partnering with supply chain experts you expand your resource pool and supplement your current staff. Most operators would love to add to their supply chain staff but the added cost to do so is too much, leaving them scrambling to manage the supply chain chaos on their own.

When you work with a supply chain management partner like Consolidated Concepts, Sundell and Associates, or even Restaurant Partners Procurement, you don’t have to pay for training, salary, insurance, and time off.  This is a popular option for many emerging and national chains, Private Equity firms, and even Publicly Traded restaurants.

Produce Management

produce management

Most operators don’t have the bandwidth, volume, or category expertise to efficiently manage their produce programs in-house. By leveraging a third party produce management company, you can reduce your produce spend by 5-10%.  On average, produce spend is about 15% of total food cost, so a 5-10% reduction in produce cost can lead to 100-200 basis points off your total food cost. Produce prices fluctuate throughout the course of a year due to things like seasonality and different growing regions. Yes, it’s true that you can occasionally buy better than the market but locking in contracted prices will protect you from volatility and you’ll ultimately be better off. Produce management companies such as Fresh Concepts or Produce Alliance will not only help you maintain, but improve your pricing, quality, food safety and traceability.

Operational Efficiency

operational efficiency

There are many changes you can make, both big and small, within your operation that can help you cut costs without making it so obvious to your customers. Take trash liners for example. If they are too big for your trash cans, you are wasting money on buying bigger bags without maximizing the full value out of each liner. By buying liners that are the correct fit, you can save on costs and extract the full value of each trash bag. What about your TV’s? Are all your TV’s running at the same time – even the ones where no customers are being seated? What a waste of power and electricity. Turn unused TV’s off and save on your electrical bill. Don’t forget about your kitchen burners. If you aren’t making food right away, they don’t have to be turned on as soon as your staff is clocking in. All that is doing is heating your restaurant up, forcing the AC to kick on – using unnecessary energy.

Making changes to your utility usage such as turning of lighting and electronics in unused sections of your restaurant, buying the correct size trash bags, using energy saving light bulbs are all small changes you can make cut costs.



GPO’s sometimes have a bad rap. They can cost an operator money and sometimes require you to switch products and change distributors. But not all GPO’s are the same. GPOs are widely used in the Healthcare and Hospitality space and the adoption rate for restaurants has dramatically increase over the past few years. Finding the right GPO partner for your restaurant brand can reduce costs and broadliner purchases by 50-150 basis points or more, depending on how contracted you are. Work with a GPO partner that is distributor and manufacturer neutral – one that will not require you to switch products or vendors and will honor your contracts. Work with a GPO partner that you can call on when you are looking for new product suggestions or reporting and analytics on existing purchases.

If you implement any of these suggestions, you will reduce cost and improve your margins.  It’s just a matter of how much. At Consolidated Concepts, we can help you tackle each of these steps, reach your business goals, reduce your costs, and streamline your operations. Become a member today for FREE and start making smarter business decisions.

Customer Perception is Everything – Invest in Tork Hygiene Solutions

According to Tork, 60% of consumers have higher expectations on restaurant hygiene due to Covid-19. Hopefully by now your operation has implemented a new cleaning process and invested in the right sanitation solutions to support the increased awareness your customers have when it comes to how clean a restaurant is – or is not.

Your guests want to see that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure their cleanliness. It builds trust and lets them know you care about their health and well-being. This can include staffing a full-time employee whose soul purpose is to clean the front-of-house at all seconds of the day or replacing all your high contact appliances and tools with solutions to ensure a more sanitary dining experience.

front of house technology

Tork Matic® Hand Towel Roll Dispenser with Intuition Sensor

You can make changes in every area of your restaurant – including the bathroom. Take hand towels vs. air dryers for instance. Tork reports that 70% of visitors wish more facilities offered paper hand towels as an alternative to air dryers. Why? Because jet air dryers can spread up to 10x more germs. Another reason customers prefer hand towels is that over half of consumers say they stop drying their hands before they are completely dry because air dryers take too long to dry their hands.

When you’re ready to swap out your restroom air dryers for hand towel dispensers, Tork has made the process easy by creating the Tork Matic® Hand Towel Roll Dispenser with Intuition Sensor. With a one-at-a-time automated dispenser, less hand towels will be used meaning less waste, clutter and best of all – cost.

restaurant safety

Tork Xpressnap & Tork Xpressnap Fit Dispensers

Embrace new front-of-house technology solutions to provide a more contactless dining experience. How many of us have gone to our favorite fast-food restaurant or ordered to-go, saw the napkin holder, and thought “let me just grab a few extra”. Then you grab a bunch of napkins, and some fall out of your hands and boom – now you have touched someone else’s napkins. This is not very sanitary.

Whether napkins are needed for your drive thru, dining room, or carry out windows, customers sometimes take more – and touch more – then they actually need. Tork has created solutions to help prevent customers from touching too many napkins at once with the Tork Xpressnap Dispensers. With one-at-a-time dispensing, guests always have a fresh napkin because they only touch the napkins they use. This controls waste with 50% less leftover napkins lying around giving a better guest experience and promoting hygiene.

restaurant sanitation

When it comes to choosing the right sanitary and hygiene solutions, Tork has products to help you improve every area of your operation. As a Consolidated Concepts member, you get access to exclusive savings on Tork solutions you need to make your operation a safer and cleaner environment.

How Can I Drive Restaurant Growth and Maximize Savings?

These days, every penny counts and anywhere you can maximize savings is crucial to your bottom line.

Is it the end of an era? Not quite. The current supply chain crisis doesn’t look to be coming to an end anytime soon which means operators must find ways to maximize savings to keep costs low and profits high while navigating an uncertain supply chain.

Bracing for continued price increases and supply shortages, restaurants are scrambling to keep up with commodity pressures and order delays.

More and more restaurants are outsourcing their supply chain management and turning to technology solutions to streamline processes and gain visibility into their purchasing.

At Consolidated Concepts, we are committed to helping you run a more efficient restaurant operation and are dedicated to maximizing your savings through the help of technology and industry expertise.

When you become a Consolidated Concepts member, you get access to exclusive savings and services that drive restaurant success such as:

Supply Chain Management

There is no better time then now to future proof your supply chain processes. Not only has it been difficult for restaurants to find a willing workforce, they’ve also been challenged with finding solutions to manage a chaotic and unpredictable supply chain.

Our experts work to identify the right products for your operational needs and solutions to help you reduce overhead. Our full-service supply chain management services minimize your costs so you can put money back into your bottom line.

We perform various functions such as product sourcing, contract negotiation, managing overcharges, managing inventory, and looking for new distributor contracts.

supply chain management

Data and Technology

Restaurants generate large amounts of data from multiple sources every day. This data is filled with incredible value and insights about your purchasing.

The challenge is understanding the data and what to do with it. By cleaning and organizing the data, you open the door to analyze your restaurants purchasing history.

For multi-unit restaurants, this can be a major opportunity for cost savings.

Our industry leading technology is the most advanced food procurement spend management tool in the industry. It provides clean data and dashboards with in-depth information into purchasing trends, pricing, contracts, rebate management, overcharges, location-level spending, and more.

data and technology

Maximize Savings with Rebates and Deviations

What if we said you could be earning cashback on the items you’re already purchasing?

It’s true.

As a multi-unit restaurant operator, taking advantage of rebates and deviations should be a no brainer.

At Consolidated Concepts, we analyze your purchases and identify savings opportunities and rebates so you can put money back into your pocket. Our rebate and deviation contracts with over 350 manufacturers on over 165,000 line items cover every category imaginable.

rebates and deviations

Produce Management

If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider utilizing a produce management program as they offer a wide variety of benefits to multi-unit restaurants.

One major benefit a restaurant receives by joining a produce program is full visibility throughout the produce process so you can choose the right produce specifications for your restaurants needs.

Produce management is a best practice and ensures your customers are getting the best quality foods on their plates – or in their cocktail glasses.

Not only can a produce program help you stay on top of food safety and traceability, but it also protects your operation from price fluctuations throughout the year.

produce management

Partner with Consolidated Concepts 

Take advantage of instant savings and fully customizable service and ensure your multi-unit operation is running at its full potential.

At Consolidated Concepts, our clients have the strongest procurement departments in the restaurant industry. By Partnering with Consolidated Concepts, you get access to massive buying power, hard-won expertise, and insightful data and analytics.

Boost profitability and improve procurement when you become a Consolidated Concepts member.

Solutions to Get Ahead of Cold and Flu Season

In partnership with Georgia Pacific

When you aren’t sanitizing your operation properly, there’s no point in having guests dine at your restaurant. Why would they choose your operation over your competitors who use high-quality products and solutions to clean their restaurant?

Ensuring the ultimate surface sanitation demonstrates your commitment to the safety of your staff and guests. Your customers will notice the steps you are taking to provide a clean environment. Remember, the level of effort you put into your sanitation is a direct reflection of your business.

Let’s take a look at two solutions from Georgia Pacific that can help you maximize sanitation and get ahead of cold and flu season.

Dixie Ultra™ Service System

Is your operation using the old “rag and bucket” cleaning system to sanitize tables and clean high touch point surfaces? If they are, did you know that you could be decreasing the sanitizer strength by 50%-70%? At this point, you really aren’t sanitizing your operation because you’re leaving behind germs and noroviruses. Time to enter a new era of surface sanitizing with the Dixie Ultra™ Service System. With a tight fitting dispenser lid, you can virtually eliminate the risk of spills, splashes, sprays, and vapors common with that open bucket and spray bottle your staff is currently using. Even better is their one-at-a-time dispensing mechanism that helps conserve wipes, allowing sanitizer concentration to last longer and less frequent solution changes.

Dixie Ultra SmartStock® Tri-Tower Cutlery System

Are your customers taking handfuls of utensils? Is your staff having to clean up un-used and now contaminated cutlery because customers over-grabbed? Your self-service station can be a common ground for germs. When you don’t have automatic dispensers for your cutlery, you risk customers touching more than just their own fork and knife.

Take control of your cutlery and help prevent the spread of germs with the Dixie Ultra SmartStock® Tri-Tower Cutlery System. Not only does it improve hygiene with its touchless automatic dispensing, it reduces load time too. With a fully enclosed dispenser, stocking up utensils is hygienic and easier than ever. The SmartStock® Tri-Tower dispenser holds up to 390 utensils so restocking happens less frequently.

No buttons or levers to push, Dixie Ultra SmartStock® Tri-Tower Cutlery System helps prevent contamination as patrons only touch the utensils they need.

Save on Sanitation Solutions as a Consolidated Concepts Member

As a member of Consolidated Concepts, you get access to exclusive savings and discounts on high-quality products and solutions to ensure your operation is a clean and safe environment. Our 350+ contracts offer pricing and rebates combined with our innovative technology to optimize savings and profitability for our clients. Our rebate and cost contracts are geared toward the products and deals that are most important to multi-unit operators.

Not a Consolidated Concepts member? No problem! Contact our experts today to start saving!

What Are Rebates and Deviations?

Are you taking advantage of rebates and deviations?

Making a profit is not always the main motive for opening a restaurant. It’s also about having a true passion for cooking and hospitality. Usually, the latter is behind the drive and motivation to open a restaurant.

But when you’re running a multi-unit chain operation, making a profit moves to the top of the list.

Restaurants are already running on thin margins.

Anywhere you can save money is vital to your bottom line. As a multi-unit restaurant operator, taking advantage of rebates and deviations should be a no brainer.

What are manufacturer rebates?

Rebates are marketing funds used by manufacturers as an incentive to build customer loyalty and improve sales.

Rebates are earned by the operator based on their purchases of the manufacturer’s products. 

Manufacturer rebates are dollars paid out quarterly to customers based on their purchases.

Any purchase on an item that is covered on a Consolidated Concepts contract, our team will track and pay back to operators.

What are deviations?

Deviations are off-invoice savings on items you are already buying.

Consolidated Concepts is able to leverage the spend of all our customers and offer competitive pricing on food and nonfood items from our partner manufacturers.

Our team will always do a deep dive into your current spend to make contract recommendations based on your current data, with the end goal of lowering your off invoice spend.

Why should I care about manufacturer rebates?

These rebates are provided on items you are already purchasing, so, it’s simply extra money in your account without any extra work.

You can use these funds in any way to help your operation– staff training, marketing dollars, employee incentives.

This means you can focus on your COP and contracted items– and you can still earn dollars back on everything else through our program without changing products.

How do I track manufacturer rebates?

Every quarter, Consolidated Concepts will provide operators with “proof of purchase” to the manufacturer and collect the rebates earned by the operator.

Every quarter, we will provide a breakdown of your manufacturer rebate check to you.

Partner with Consolidated Concepts

Consolidated Concepts has rebate and deviation contracts with over 350 manufacturers on over 165,000 line items that cover every category imaginable.

From canned tomatoes and frozen chicken breasts to garbage bags and plastic forks – you name it, we have it covered.

Contact us today to learn more!

Streamline Contract Management with the Help of Technology

When you own more than one restaurant location, you’re bound to wear more than one hat. Think of all the contracts that go along with managing each of those locations. From Master Distribution Agreements and Manufacturer Contracts – the art of negotiating and managing these documents is truly one in its own.

It’s 2021 and its time to welcome a new player to your team – technology.

This team player is great at multitasking. They don’t complain, they don’t require a weekly paycheck, and they don’t need hand holding or constant reminders about what they’re supposed to be doing. Their results are instant, actionable and profitable.

No More Doing it the Hard Way

By using technology for things like contract approval workflows, edits, audits and signatures, implementation becomes easier and less time consuming. Businesses who adopt contract management technology are able to streamline the contract lifecycle into an automated workflow minimizing errors and maximizing profits.

Having to manually manage each contract step by step leaves room for errors or inaccuracies. Using technology ensures contracts are routed to the correct person and increases visibility and accountability. Contract management technology allows stakeholders more insight into the performance of a contract so they can make quicker more accurate business decisions.  

Secure Your Contracts in One Centralized Location

No more filing cabinets organized alphabetically. This isn’t the library, and you don’t have the time to go searching A through Z. Having your contracts securely centralized in one location helps you stay in control of contract chaos and allows for a more efficient contract management process.

The goal is to stay in control of each of your locations bottom line. Technology allows you to store all you contracts safely in one place and minimizes risk that goes along with contract management.

Contract Management Technology Solutions

At Consolidated Concepts, we can help multi-unit restaurants like yours save money on your contracts such as your MDA – your most important contract. We have former Presidents from distribution houses on our staff who lend their expertise to analyze your contracts, find areas where there may be new places for savings and help renegotiate your contract with your distributors. We do everything we can to make your contracts work in your favor.

It’s time to optimize your savings and limit the amount of increases in costs and changes in structure which ultimately result in more profitability for your business. You can even put our experts to the test by sending over your current contracts and having them analyzed.

Ready to streamline the contract management process and go from manual to automated? Contact us today!

Full-Service Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management is more than a one-person job. Especially for operators with multiple locations, doing it all manually can be stressful and time-consuming.

These days, restaurants are looking to run lean and reduce their overhead amidst a nation-wide staffing crisis. Others may be having trouble staffing full departments. How can an operator manage their supply chain projects without the staff to support them?

More and more operators are turning to full-service supply chain management solutions to minimize their costs and maximize their profits.

At Consolidated Concepts, our service offerings are fully customizable to provide the appropriate level of consultation and support required by each client.

Let’s look at three areas where we offer expertise to help you streamline your supply chain management and meet your resource needs:

Spend Intelligence and Insights into Your Business

Our data and technology are designed to identify areas where emerging, growing, and established restaurants can unlock additional opportunities to save money and boost profitability.

Consolidated Concepts’ clients have access to the most advanced food procurement and spend management tools in the industry. Client dashboards provide in-depth information into purchasing trends, commodity pricing, category-level breakdowns, rebate management, overcharges, location-level spending and more.

Contract Management

Technology has become a convenient way to automate your contract management and ensure price corrections are quickly resolved. By utilizing technology to manage your contracts, you get access to key  agreement insights that improve business decisions and ensure maximizes value.

Our technology monitors every line item that our clients purchase for contract compliance. Through digital reports to distributors and electronic invoice auditing, credits and price corrections are quickly resolved to fully maximize the value of all your negotiated contracts.

Produce Management

Produce management programs offer a wide variety of benefits to multi-unit restaurants. One major benefit for operators is full visibility throughout the produce process. Knowing the answer to questions such as where did the produce you purchased come from, who handled the produce, what safety measures were taken during the handling, and what route did the produce travel to get to your operation, are all vital for the protection of both your customers and your operation.

Working with produce experts ensures each item that comes through your doors meets the exact needs of your operation. Our expertly Managed Produce Program focuses on improving clients’ food programs’ quality, safety, and traceability.

Operators can fully outsource their sourcing and supply chain projects to our team of experts who can perform various functions such as product sourcing, contract negotiation, managing overcharges, managing inventory, looking for new distributor contracts and product specs, and more.

Talk to our experts about what sourcing projects you’re working on now and let’s find out how we can add our value and our expertise to your team.

Save Staff Time and Keep Guests Safe with Tork Xpressnap Fit

In partnership with Tork

Reopening your operation these days is more than just ordering fresh inventory and investing in an Open sign. Now, you must take into consideration things like having less staff on hand, guest hygiene expectations and maintaining cleaner workstations.

As more people begin eating away from home in restaurants and at work, arm your operation with cost-effective safe solutions for your guests.

Let’s take a look at how using Tork Xpressnap Fit® napkin dispensers can reduce labor, save on space, promote a safe environment, and cut unused napkins thrown away by more than 50%*.

So Many Napkins, Too Many Hands!

With 67% of customers at a full-service restaurant preferring to receive their napkins via an enclosed dispenser on the table vs. restaurant staff bringing napkins to the table**, having the option for one-at-a-time dispensing can make or break a successful dining experience.

By using solutions like Tork Xpressnap, napkins are hygienically protected within a dispenser, providing a dry environment which is unsuitable for viral survival. So, napkins provided in dispensers should not give rise to concern regarding germ transmission. Even better, guests only touch the napkin they take.

You’re probably wondering what about before they make it into the dispenser? How are they kept safe and secure from germs? Fortunately, Tork is one step ahead. Xpressnap napkin bundles are individually wrapped for protection for improved hygiene and handling.

Less Staff? Reduce Labor!

No more wasted napkins. Is your staff spending too much time cleaning up unused napkins at your self-service station? Do customers grab a bunch of napkins at once time leaving a trail of unused ones along the way? Using one-at-a-time dispensers such as Tork Xpressnap can save time and reduce maintenance.

No more running out of napkins during peak business hours. Xpressnap Fit uses compressed napkin refills enabling the dispenser to hold more napkins and reducing storage requirements.. Each dispenser includes a level indicator that shows your staff when it’s time to refill so your guests always have access to the napkins they need. Even better? Each dispenser serves almost 2 times as many guests between those refills*.

Limited Space? No problem!

Are your current napkin dispensers taking up too much space in your operation? They can be such an eye sore. The Tork Xpressnap compact napkin dispensers for both tabletops and countertops is the perfect fit. They even cut napkin storage by up to 50%*. Their space saving fold serves a full-size napkin in a small footprint dispenser. Talk about good things coming in small packages.

More Brand Awareness? Promote Your Business!

The Tork Xpressnap customized display windows can be used as a promotional tool for your operation and increases your brand awareness. Thank your customers, add a QR code for your menu, share your hygiene protocols, feature carry-out and delivery options and highlight new menu items. Use the display panels on your new dispensers to boost your business.

Tork Has the Solution for You With Tork Xpressnap!

Ideal for limited-service restaurants that offer napkins at a table or a central location and for outdoor seating, Tork Xpressnap dispensers improve hygiene, reduce napkin consumption, and save on space.

Even better? Consolidated Concepts members get exclusive savings and discounts on this safe and secure solution.  Contact us today to learn more!

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

Securing Good Hygiene in Every Area of Your Operation

In partnership with Essity

Whether you offer takeout, delivery, or drive thru, securing good hygiene at every stage from kitchen to customer is now more important than ever. In fact, a recent survey from Essity found 60% of consumers have higher expectations of restaurant hygiene1.

With the right tips and solutions, you can implement best practices in all areas of your operation to show your commitment to good hygiene.

From the pick-up window to the drive thru, supply your staff and stock up your high touch point restaurant areas with safe appropriate hygiene products.

Enforce Good Staff Hygiene

As an operator, your goal is to create a safe environment for everyone who walks through your doors. Consider your kitchen staff to be front line workers. A kitchen needs to be clean and organized in terms of placement, traceability, and people – not only to ensure sanitary demands but also to create a good workflow.

Enforcing hand hygiene routines, investing in handwashing stations, and making sure your staff cleans systematically can help secure employee hygiene standards. Your staff should have a clear understanding of how and when to wash their hands to reduce interruptions in serving customers and ensure compliance. Utilize posters to remind them of handwashing best practices and equip their workspace with the right hygiene solutions.

Secure Takeout Bags and Pick-Up Areas

Handling take-out packages with care, providing guests hygiene products with their to-go order, adding a personalized note letting them know you’re taking every precaution for their safety, and using tamper-proof packaging are all ways you can safely secure your takeout and to-go bags.

According to Datassential, 60% of consumers would feel comfortable if offered disinfectant wipers or sanitizer to use themselves. Arming your takeout bags with napkins, wipes, and other appropriate hygiene products is important – especially for drive thru orders and diners on the go.

Pick-up areas attract a lot of traffic with several high-touch points. Not only should you include appropriate hygiene products in takeout bags, but you should also be visibly wiping down high-touch areas where food is handed over. This shows guests they are in a safe hygienic environment.

Arm Delivery Staff with the Right Tools

Using tamper-proof packaging is key in delivery services. Providing that extra step in safety gives customers the confidence that their food went straight from the kitchen to their house.

It’s not only about the packaging. Make sure your delivery staff practices good hygiene at every step until the delivery is complete by offering deliver drivers sanitizers, wipes, and facemasks.

Posters in key areas with instructions on how staff should wash their hands, encouraging employees to practice good hygiene, and separating takeout zones from pick-up zones all reassure guests that you take hygiene seriously and are practice social distancing.

Tork Has Solutions to Help

Tork understands the challenges of securing off-premise hygiene and can help restaurants to keep it top of mind.

From soaps, sanitizers, and touch-free napkin and towel dispensers to surface wiping solutions – Tork offers products and expertise that can support restaurants in their drive to improve off-premise hygiene, ensuring a safer guest experience.

Highly visible hygiene products reassure guests that their safety is paramount, while custom print items such as Tork paper napkins can help keep a brand top-of-mind.

Best-in-class hygiene, with well-placed hand hygiene and surface cleaning products, can also contribute to better organized kitchens, more motivated staff, and improved workflow.

As a Consolidated Concepts client, you can get access to savings on Tork products and solutions like these every day! Contact us today!


  1. Essity 2020-2021 Essentials initiative survey on Covid-19

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.

Reduce Food Costs and Increase Orders with Potatoes

Foodservice operators are looking for quick cost-effective solutions to support takeout and delivery and reduce food costs. Potatoes are versatile and can be used in many ways. They can complement breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and keep customers coming back for more. No matter if your customers are meat eaters or plant-based only, the potato can be the answer to your menu prayers.

Here are some key insights into the potato, ways operators can incorporate them into their menus to reduce food costs and stay relevant with potato trends.

Reduce Food Costs With These Potato Trends

According to Technomic, 45% of overall consumers prefer vegetable-based meals as their protein substitute. With potatoes being a vegetable, they make for a great protein replacement in recipes. A medium 5.3 oz potato with skin provides 3 grams of plant-based protein – which exceeds that of all other commonly consumed vegetables, except dried beans.

The foodservice industry has been moving toward new varieties of potatoes for several years. Potato trends like small reds and yellows have been gracing menus as side dish options. Sweet potatoes can also be a fun choice to incorporate into your recipes. They are adaptable to any restaurant menu, nutrient dense and very affordable. Try using them in dishes such as wraps, pizza crust, “toast” and butter. Stand out from your competition by creating your own signature potato chip by using different varieties of potatoes.

Even as restaurants continue to welcome customers back into their dining rooms, strict capacity guidelines and limited seating are ensuring that delivery and takeout options remain high priority. As such, operators are looking for ingredients that help them to get orders out quickly without sacrificing quality or freshness. By using products such as fresh-dried Idahoan mashed potatoes, hash browns or appetizers, operators can create new and unique dishes  that taste great and travel well, allowing them to deliver what customers are craving without any added hiccups.

Brands such as Idahoan give customers that homemade potato taste they are looking for. Today’s diners want food that’s as good for the planet as it is for their health—with clean ingredients, sustainable origins, and, of course, amazing flavor. As kitchens pivot to meet rising expectations, many are realizing that Idahoan fresh-dried potatoes are as sustainable as they are delicious—and they have been all along.

When is the best time of year to purchase potatoes?

Given the vast number of varieties and growing regions, there are good supplies of potatoes all year, but some months are better than others for specific varieties. You can feature potatoes all year long and take advantage of featuring specific varieties when they are at their peak of health and availability. July and early-August can be challenging for the Russets as they typically are showing their age and when combined with summer heat and humidity they tend to breakdown easy.

Are there different types of potatoes?

There are over 200 varieties sold in the United States alone!  

What is the best temperature or best practice for storing potatoes?

In general, a cool area of dry storage with low humidity and good ventilation is best. Best temperature to store potatoes is 44 to 47 degrees. Colder temperatures will cause the potatoes to lose significant starch and will affect the cooking quality. Also, keep potatoes away from the lights. Keeping potatoes in the dark can help prevent greening and sprouting.

Does the pricing of potatoes change with the different seasons?

Potato prices change weekly. If you are not contracted on a product then you’re subject to the market on any given week. Varieties of potatoes change throughout the year as well. For example, Norkotah’s don’t store as long as Burbank’s so during harvest in October and November you may see both for sale. After January, supplies will move to mostly Norkotah’s. Then in May, Burbanks shift back to Burbank’s for the latter part of the season to finish up.

Potato prices appear to be trending low for the remaining year, according to produce program experts at Fresh Concepts. You can keep costs low and sales high by utilizing potatoes throughout your menu.

Where are potatoes grown?

Different varieties grow in each state. Leading US commercial production states are Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon, Colorado, North Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, California, and Florida as well as many others to a lesser extent. Prince Edward Island is the largest producer of potatoes in Canada, followed by Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Alberta.

Mashed, crushed, baked, or speed-scratched, potatoes are a flexible ingredient and are a great addition to any menu. Looking to add potatoes to your menu? Contact Consolidated Concepts today and find out how your operation can save on potatoes!

Interested in learning more? Submit the form below and a member of our team will reach out.