A side dish, traditionally served as an accompaniment to a main course to fill out a meal and provide flavor contrasts, ranges from simple steamed vegetables to elaborate casseroles. However, it’s also become acceptable to order a variety of delicious sides and downsize on the meat of the main course. Dining establishments are serving up innovative side dishes that can help to increase check averages. Side dishes provide members with a way to try something new, and because they are a smaller commitment, diners are more willing to take a chance with ordering multiple sides.
Side of Comfort
As communities deal with hardships and times of stress, comfort food is consistently in higher demand. Chefs are using the best ingredients and technique to execute simple comforting side dishes that remind diners of better times. By adding a reimagined take, chefs are taking it up a notch or even adding a fine dining twist to favorite comfort classics. Starchy dishes that warm the soul and nourish the body seem to resonate at a higher level. Ingredients high in calories, like fried foods and cheese, and other items such as breads, pastas, and soups are being used by chefs to provide a comforting experience to their members.
As more of the population is becoming increasingly health-conscious, vegetables are replacing traditional side dishes to make healthier alternatives with the same great taste as the original recipes. Chefs have become more creative with vegetables by studying seasonal availability as well as regions and cuisines around the world where vegetables are the primary ingredients. Chefs are also finding new opportunities to integrate ethnic cuisines as well as immunity-boosting ingredients into their side dishes.
With their increased popularity, vegan side dish options have been showing up on menus more and more. Vegan products are not only in demand among the vegan population but also the flexitarian population trying to cut down on meat consumption and switching to alternatives. The plant-based meat industry has gained popularity due to the creation and distribution of meat substitutes tasting like real meat. The increased popularity of vegetables and plant-based products makes room for chefs to get creative by putting a spin on traditional side dishes in new and interesting ways.
Supporting the local food movement has not only become a trend, but a necessity due to the disruption of the supply chain. With supply chain hurdles, chefs are taking a creative approach towards minimizing waste and creating flavors from the ingredients themselves. Chefs are focusing on streamlining all parts of their menus with a localized approach that will keep in line with what is locally fresh and readily available within the community.
Interesting and tasty side dishes are served to provide variety, and enhance the flavor and texture of the main dish. Being able to easily upsell side dishes and align dishes to consumer preferences and current food industry trends allows clubs to boost their revenue as well as member satisfaction.