When ordering pizza, consumers have a multitude of options to choose from. They can pick right off the menu, or many times build their own pie. While pizza can be seen as a singular food item, it can be deconstructed down to its core ingredients to create dozens of additional prepared food items to leverage across an operator’s menu.
Operators are always looking to further their dollar and extend their bottom line, and finding new ways to use current back-of-the-house items to create additional menu options allows them to make more money with a single product. Pizza’s two main ingredients, dough and toppings, are relatively inexpensive to purchase and offer endless possibilities to enhance the menu.
Rolling in dough
With dough’s neutral flavor profile, there are endless ways operators can change the manner they use it. Flavor doesn’t have to go on top of the dough, instead infuse the flavor inside the dough. Dough is a great platform for flavor and can be a gateway for consumers to try new proteins or new flavors. Test spices and ingredients in the dough from trending cuisines, such as Thai, Asian, Vietnamese and Mexican. And operators can’t go wrong with the fundamental flavor enhancers like seeds, butters, garlic, fresh herbs and olive oils. By treating the dough to include a regional or global trending flavor, operators can add a whole new level to their menu and consumers will be excited to try the new flavors during their visits.
For pizzeria operators, pizza will always be the main attraction, but there are other dough creations that can drive additional purchases without filling the consumer up before the main course. Since pizzas can leave customers waiting at least thirty minutes to eat, appetizers are a great area to start. Dough can be manipulated into spinach artichoke pinwheels, pepperoni twists, baked ravioli and so much more. Operators can also add a sweet ending and create a pizza crust with cinnamon apples and a crumb topping, dough ball bites with sugar or go nutty and stuff the dough with hazelnut spread.
Dough is an inexpensive item that has potential for a variety of uses. Casual dining can also utilize dough to keep the menu fresh and exciting. For example, to drive traffic during the lunch hours, create sandwiches featuring fresh-baked bread that is hot and ready for consumers. Make this a unique and signature offer. Other ways dough can be utilized is for fresh bread at the table, to accompany a soup or salad or as a side to a dip.
Keep your operation TOP of mind
With all the extended uses with dough, it begs the question how else operators can use already stocked products to extend their menus. Pizza toppings are back-of-house products that can be used to create new dishes and succeed on a menu because they are familiar to both the consumer and operator.
Adding toppings into existing signature dishes
Consumers’ favorite pizza toppings are cheese, pepperoni, sausage and chicken—no surprise there. Since these are favorites, they are the easiest to add to other signature dishes across the menu. However, artisan style meats, including chicken and pulled pork, along with unique cheeses like goat cheese and fresh vegetables are quickly gaining momentum with consumers, and shouldn’t be left out when developing new menu items.
Creating new dishes that feature toppings
Operators often aspire is to create a new unique signature dish that will drive traffic. Creating dishes using toppings in new, exciting ways can help operators stand out. Toppings can make a new offering safe because it takes something consumers already know and combines it with something new. One example is pizza dip—the consumer knows they like dip and enjoy pizza, so it’s not a stretch to assume they’ll like the two items combined, which makes the item a safe order.
Extending into new dayparts with toppings
Pizza itself is an all dayparts dish and so are its toppings. Pizza toppings have the versatility to create fresh, unique menu items from breakfast to late night snacks.
• For early risers looking for a hearty breakfast, operators can use sausage and bacon to create a breakfast burrito.
• For a precursor to the main entrée, operators can menu spicy sausage arancini or a Mediterranean chopped salad with salami, ham and bacon bits.
• Additional signature dishes can include pepperoni and salami Italian subs or a creamy ham and chicken pasta.
• For late night snackers seeking a shareable dish for a group, offer something craveable like loaded cheeseburger fries with sausage and bacon bits or a bacon spinach cheese dip.
Whether it’s adding trending flavors inside the dough or adding new offerings across dayparts, utilizing back-of-house items across the menu can extend operators’ dollars further. Both dough and toppings are versatile products that paired with a little imagination can create new, tasty signature offerings all across an operators’ menu.
David Jetter is the senior manager of product training and culinary strategy at Tyson FoodService. Visit Tyson FoodService for the pepperoni panini and other pizza-inspired recipes.