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 Classic carriers like English muffins and croissants have been replaced by waffles, taco shells and doughnuts.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

FROM
TRADITIONAL

to unique:

A WORLD OF HANDHELD CUISINE

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!

SWEET AND SAVORY BEEF EMPANADAS

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.

ON TREND,

ON THE

MENU

ON TREND, ON THE MENU

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.

HEALTHY/FRESH FOCUSED FAST CASUAL

SUNSHINE BOWL: mango and turmeric purée layered with sliced banana, blueberries and granola, topped with pomegranate seeds

NATIONAL BREWPUB CHAIN

TROPICAL CHICKEN TACO: pineapple-cumin marinated chicken, mango papaya salsa

NATIONAL FAMILY DINING CHAIN

SWEET ‘N SASSY SLIDERS: pineapplecumin marinated chicken, mango papaya salsa

UPSCALE SANDWICH SHOP

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:

  • THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Consider how unique carriers can add differentiation to your handheld offerings—take inspiration from South African bunny chow (served in a hollowed-out loaf of bread) or Greek dolmades (stuffed vine leaves).
  • SWEETEN UP THE SAVORY. No need to overthink the balance of sweet and savory flavors. Turn to DOLE Chef-Ready Frozen Fruit Purées and add a naturally sweet note to condiments,marinades and other fillings for handheld dishes.
  • CRAZY FOR CUSTOMIZATION. Whether you create an action station or a unique LTO, dishes like empanadas, tacos and pupusas lend themselves perfectly to an interactive guest experience.
  • APPROACHABLE EXPERIMENTATION. Not only can DOLE fruit bring an element of familiarity to new handheld items, it can also be used in unexpected ways. Enhance rou jia mo (a Chinese sandwich) with pickled DOLE Chef-Ready Cuts, or brush on DOLE Chef-Ready Frozen Fruit Purée to create glazed bacon for your next BLT

I want to see your take on the handheld trend! Upload photos on social media and be sure to tag @dolefoodservice and #askfordole

HANDHELDS with strong menu growth 4

+62%

ARANCINE

+60%

BÁNH MÌ

+51%

BAO
BAO
PRODUCT FOCUS

DOLE CHEF-READY CUTS

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!

DOLE CHEF-READY FROZEN FRUIT PURÉES

These versatile purées are made with quality fruit, ideal for creating consistent, memorable sauces, beverages and desserts.

SNA ANNUAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE

PRIZE DRAWING WINNERS

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:

Rebecca Summers

of Pineville Elementary School, Pass Christian, Mississippi

Shelly Laaser

of Decatur Independent School District, Decatur, Texas

CONTEST RUNS

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019–JANUARY 31, 2020

ENTERING OUR NEW RECIPE CONTEST IS AS EASY AS 1-2-3!

  1. Create a recipe that incorporates DOLE® Packaged or Frozen Fruit in a creative, original way. Recipes must include an original title, image, full list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions.
  2. Submit your recipe online at DOLEFOODSERVICE.COM/K12RECIPECONTEST.
  3. Recipes will be judged on creativity, visual appeal, use of DOLE products and originality.

5 WINNERS WILL
BE CHOSEN FOR
EACH PRIZE
LEVEL

  • 1st place winning schools will receive a $500 gift card towards foodservice equipment, 10 cases of DOLE® Fruit Bowls in 100% Fruit Juice and a K-12 recipe book. 1st place winning entrants will receive a custom chef jacket.
  • 2nd place winning schools will receive 5 cases of DOLE® Fruit Bowls in 100% Fruit Juice and a K-12 recipe book.

SOURCES:

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.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

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