Handheld menu items hit on so many of today’s consumer hot buttons— they’re portable, they’re convenient, they’re perfectly portioned and perceived as a great value. And with interest in global flavors continuing to grow, handheld items are the ideal vessels for introducing unique condiments, dipping sauces and marinades. In this issue, we’ll discuss some of the hottest handhelds on menus today, with tips on how you can utilize fruit to create signature offerings across dayparts.
Though the category encompasses everything from burgers to cheesecake-on-a-stick, a targeted look at handhelds reveals many exciting opportunities for introducing on-trend, flavorful and profitable dishes to the menu—across foodservice segments and dayparts. One of the biggest success stories in the world of handheld cuisine has been the growth of breakfast sandwiches, in terms of both sales and innovation. Classic carriers like English muffins and croissants have been replaced by waffles, taco shells and doughnuts. Global street foods like Chinese jianbing (filled crepes) are gaining traction as consumers demand more unique, authentic fare. Mashups of traditional handheld breakfasts (such as the bacon egg and cheese sandwich) with ethnic ingredients (chutneys, hot sauces, etc.) can be found on restaurant and noncommercial menus alike.
Globally inspired fruit relishes, like Mexican chamoy and Middle Eastern amba, help to bring a taste of something new to a familiar format.
Handheld menu items also help to create a casual, comfortable dining atmosphere. Shareable appetizer platters, flights and mini versions of popular dishes bring elements of fun and interactivity to the sit-down dining experience. Sliders stuffed with everything from crab cakes to Nashville hot chicken encourage patrons to graze at happy hour or enjoy a substantial snack at a nontraditional daypart. Fruit-forward dipping sauces and condiments provide a cool counterpart to the savory fillings often found in mini burgers, lettuce wraps and dumplings. In fact, 22% of consumers say they’d be willing to try an unfamiliar flavor if it is paired with a familiar format.2
ADD DELICIOUS FLAVOR TO TRADITIONAL AND UNIQUE HANDHELD ITEMS ALIKE WITH DOLE CHEF-READY CUTS, DOLE FROZEN FRUIT AND DOLE JUICE. WATCH OUR LATEST VIDEO FOR SOME MENU INSPIRATION! VISIT DOLEFOODSERVICE.COM/SIGNATURE-HANDHELD-DISHES
Convenient, portable and full of flavor, these recipes featuring DOLE fruit range from classic sandwiches to on-trend carriers like empanadas. Thanks to signature condiments, fillings and toppings, they’re sure to stand out on your menu!
A unique filling of seasoned ground beef, DOLE Chef-Ready Cuts Diced Apples and DOLE Seedless Raisins, tomatoes, serrano chiles, cumin and other flavorful ingredients puts a special twist on these Argentinian-inspired empanadas.
This Peruvian-inspired pork sandwich features a zesty DOLE Chef-Ready Cuts Pineapple Cubes criolla, along with roasted sweet potato and mango salsa de aji made with DOLE Chef-Ready Mango Frozen Purée.
The sweet-and-tart combination of DOLE Red Tart Cherries and DOLE Pineapple Juice in a chrisp cabbage slaw adds dimension to a sorghum molasses-marinated fried chicken sandwich.
Fruit purées, chutneys, marinades and salsas are just some of the applications we're seeing as restraunts add a touch of sweetness to their handheld menu offerings.
SUNSHINE BOWL: mango and turmeric purée layered with sliced banana, blueberries and granola, topped with pomegranate seeds
TROPICAL CHICKEN TACO: pineapple-cumin marinated chicken, mango papaya salsa
SWEET ‘N SASSY SLIDERS: pineapplecumin marinated chicken, mango papaya salsa
BISCUIT SANDWICH: country ham and mango chutney
Handheld menu items reflect a world of culinary inspiration, with the versatility to be served at all dayparts. They’re a great way to show off your creativity and cater to your customers’ needs for convenience and flavor excitement. Here are just a few of the ways you can approach the development of handhelds:
I want to see your take on the handheld trend! Upload photos on social media and be sure to tag @dolefoodservice and #askfordole
Perfectly sliced, cubed, slivered and diced fruit that delivers unbeatable time, labor and cost savings. Add a burst of fruit flavor to the menu, whenever you need it!
These versatile purées are made with quality fruit, ideal for creating consistent, memorable sauces, beverages and desserts.
A big “thank you” to all of the school nutrition advocates and foodservice directors who stopped by the Dole booth at the SNA Annual National Conference in St. Louis. We’re excited to announce the winners of our $100 American Express gift card drawings:
of Pineville Elementary School, Pass Christian, Mississippi
of Decatur Independent School District, Decatur, Texas
1. Mintel, “Snacking in Foodservice – US,” January 2019.
2. Mintel/Food Business News, 2018.
3. Technomic, “The Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report,” 2018.
4. Datassential MenuTrends, U.S. menupenetration growth 2014-2018.
Bret Thorn, “Restaurants respond to the need for speed at breakfast,” Nation’s Restaurant News, May 19, 2019.
Datassential MenuTrends, U.S. menu penetration 2018.
Nancy Kruse, “Move over Mayochup, condiment mashups are old hat in restaurants,” Nation’s Restaurant News, June 4, 2019.
Rebekah Schouten, “Six flavor trends shaping the food service industry,” Food Business News, April 26, 2018