Food Trends | French Fries
New Fry Shapes Power Competitive Advantage
Jan 22, 2020
What’s still the #1 most popular item restaurant menus across all age groups, according to research? French fries.1 So making sure your fries wow your customers is obviously critical to your long-term success. And when it comes to turning heads, fries with unconventional shapes are attracting more attention than ever these days.
While the overall frozen potato category was down 1.3% last year, fries with unconventional shapes handily outperformed the market based on volume sold:
- Lattice cut +15%
- Formed gems +4%
- Crinkle cut fries + 3.5%2
Why unconventional shapes work
Today fries come in dozens of lengths and thicknesses, not to mention dozens more flavors and batters. But of all of the characteristics of high-performing fries, operators tend to overlook the power of shape.
Since Simplot invented the frozen French fry in 1953, the iconic straight cut has ruled the roost, and straight cuts still move the most volume.
But, human nature being what it is, patrons always keep an eye out for something new and different. A novel fry shape represents a great example of “safe experimentation”—a new product that’s merely a “twist” on something they already know and love, in this case, fries. Furthermore, the difference is limited to its shape—as opposed to a new, unfamiliar flavor—making it even “safer” to try.
What’s in it for operators
Fries are such an important item for your customers that choosing a distinctive shape can help you meet some of your biggest objectives:
- Differentiate your operation from the competition
- Drive more traffic by offering something unique and craveable
- Increase profitability by creating an opportunity to upcharge for a second or third “premium” fry option
- Generate social media buzz with “Instagram-worthy” plate presentations
- More closely match your fries to the theme of your restaurant and menu
Simplot launches an exclusive new fry shape
In January 2020, Simplot launched an exciting, new fry shape featuring its popular Conquest® clear coat batter: Conquest Crispy Potato Strips. They feature the same outstanding crispness in long, wide, thin shape that’s tailor-made for innovative plate presentations.
Different is good
In the age of social-media-driven dining, it’s not really daring to be different anymore—it’s a business imperative. Innovative products like the Conquest Crispy Potato Strips work well as your primary fry, or as a profitable alternative in a multi-fry menu. Use them to drive traffic and differentiate with a one-of-a-kind offering that doesn’t require any additional equipment or staff training.
1. Datassential, 2019
2. Potato Track, 2019