Food Trends

The Secret's in the Sauce

Jan 10, 2019

The Secret's in the Sauce

Looking for an easy way to differentiate your restaurant and boost your margins? More and more operators are catching on to the magic of housemade sauces and condiments. Made from inexpensive pantry ingredients, these sauces can add signature flavor to popular menu items like fries and flatbreads, and provide a great opportunity to upcharge. These upsides have not gone unnoticed:

Housemade condiments were ranked as a top three "Hot Trend" by 68% of chefs surveyed 1

Millennials are onboard with exciting sauces and condiments

Millennials are well known as the segment of consumers who dine out most often. Always open to exploring new flavors, housemade sauces and condiments are proving to be a great match for their adventurous palates.

  • 43% of consumers, and 56% of Millennials, say they are tempted to order a dish if it comes with an original sauce or ingredient that they can only get at a particular restaurant 2
  • 42% of Millennials want to try kimchi, while only 18% of Boomers do 3

TIP: Start by introducing exciting new flavors to familiar favorites. Pair something your patrons already love with an on-trend sauce that adds a new dimension, like fries with sriracha aioli. 4

Housemade sauces and condiments bring personalization to the menu

Customization has purchasing power with Millennials, with 44% pointing to this factor as an influence on where they dine.5 Housemade sauces and condiments are and easy, inexpensive way to help them personalize their favorite dishes without complicating your operations. It doesn't take much to offer (and upcharge for!) a tasty avocado sauce or pickled vegetables. But a little personalization goes a long way with this crowd.

Find global inspiration

American consumers continue to show strong interest in creative condiments that draw inspiration from cuisines around the world. Pairing exotic spices and seasonings with familiar ingredients puts a fresh twist on even the most classic menu items.

From Berlin to Bejing, sauces take long-time favorites like pretzels and sandwiches to the next level.

  • Garlic aioli, found on 7% of menus, is the most popular flavor of aioli 6
  • Sriracha aioli is the fastest growing flavor of aioli, up 250% from 2014 6
  • Beer cheese is up 94% over the last 4 years 6
  • 78% of consumers prefer traditional kimchi over modernized versions 3
  • 45% of consumers said they would be likely to purchase guasacaca, the Venezuelan sauce featuring avocado, lime juice, garlic, and other ingredients, from a grocery store or restaurant 7 

One-of-a-kind, exclusive flavors

A selection of signature sauces and condiments keeps consumers engaged and coming back for more. Consumers are more likely to pay a premium for fries that come with a special housemade sauce (or three).

By rotating in seasonal sauces, you can keep consumers excited for what's coming next. Use ingredients in unique combinations, like blueberry ketchup with Simplot Simple Goodness™ Blueberries or avocado dressing with Simplot Harvest Fresh Avocados™.

Check out these recipes then add your own creativity:

Use housemade sauces and condiments to spice up your bottom line

How operators charge for their secret sauce varies. Some charge for the added value. Others offer a set of complementary sauces plus a special set of premium condiments for a small up-charge. Sauces are proving to be especially popular as an up-charge with orders of fries.

From a food cost standpoint, making your own sauces and condiments is often cheaper than purchasing them. Keep your labor low by purchasing prepared ingredients and making sauces in large quantities ahead of time. And repurpose trending ingredients like avocados for a variety of sauces, from spicy to mild. A housemade version of a popular sauce like garlic aioli multiplies the value of low-cost ingredients you already have on hand.

Create the ultimate secret sauce

Housemade sauces and condiments deliver maximum flavor with minimal cost. They provide an easy way for patrons to personalize their meals with minimal operational hassle. Best of all, they can help you differentiate your menu with creative flavors that are difficult to replicate. And that's a secret worth sharing.

1 National Restaurant Association, 2017
2 Technomic Flavor Consumer Trend Report, 2017
3 World Bites: South Korea, 2018
4 Datassential Foodbytes, 2018
5 Technomic Generational Consumer Trend Report, 2016
6 Datassential MenuTrends, 2018
7 World Bites: Venezuelan Cuisine, 2018