See Profits Soar with Cheese-Based Foods

Whether it’s a hot bowl of oatmeal in the morning or meatloaf and mashed potatoes, everyone has a favorite comfort food. Grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni & cheese often top the list of beloved comfort foods, although when dining out, customers don’t want to see something on your menu that they could make at home!


You should also explore integrating ethnic culinary traditions into these American staples: Try a Mexican queso blanco in your mac & cheese, or use Indian naan bread for your grilled cheese. Maines stocks a variety of high-quality cheeses and breads with homemade appeal. Let me go into more detail. Maines stocks outstanding bread lines in Bakery De France and Euro Bake; both lines will give you more variety than you will need or can imagine. Some of the breads that will be available to you include, but are not limited to, baguettes, batards, sourdough, ciabatta, multi-grains, breads made with fruit (apple or raisin), potato – you get it!


Gourmet Macaroni and cheese
You might think that macaroni and cheese is an all-American, down- home meal. That is far from the truth: President Thomas Jefferson brought this dish to the United States after visiting Paris in the late 1700s; he even served it in the White House in 1802. Today, mac & cheese is getting back to its prestigious roots. Who hasn’t seen a lobster mac & cheese on the menu at a white-tablecloth establishment? It’s also ideal for all dayparts and menu sections: appetizer: Offer a trio of small ramekins, each with a different mac & cheese variety (try fresh herbs such as rosemary or basil or ingredients from ethnic cuisines like shiitake mushrooms or kalamata olives). entrée: Add a protein such as andouille sausage, steak, slab bacon, shrimp, or crab. Lunch special:Served with a side dish of stewed tomatoes and roasted garlic. side dish: Boost an entrée withthe high-value perception of a house-made mac & cheese.


Pasta and cheese
Explore the Possibilities The Cheese! Cheddar, American, Bleu cheese, Fresh Mozzarella,Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gruyere, Muenster, Pepper Jack, Swiss, Provolone, Brie, Manchego and Irish Cheddar.* A great combination is a 30-50-20 blend of Gruyere, Irish Cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Try using a pasta that has some form of a twist that allows the sauce to cling, such as a twisted elbow noodle. Other options include rotini, bow-ties, fusilli, mini penne, cavatelli, orechiette, radiatore or small shell.


Marketing your reinvented comfort foods
Place under “House Favorites” on your menu, where customers are willing to pay more for house-made dishes. Use vivid menu descriptions. For example, consider this description from an advertisement by Williams & Sonoma for their Mac and Cheese Ramekins: “A silken béchamel cheese sauce is combined with Italian pasta, portioned into ramekins and sprinkled with crisp bread crumbs.

Teach your servers how to sell: They need to know how to describe it with mouth-watering accuracy.

Sampling: When the server comes to the table to present menus, possibly drop a 1 oz. sample of mac & cheese or a slice of your grilled cheese.

If you do banquets, try a mac & cheese station: Offer different pastas and cheese sauces with herbs, vegetables, and proteins as add-ons.

Don’t forget eye appeal! Serve grilled cheese on a wooden cutting board or mac’ n’ cheese in a skillet or nice ramekin. Remember, January is a time for change, especially when it comes to your menu. Now would be a good time to add gourmet versions of grilled cheese and mac & cheese to your menu!