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Upscale Comfort Foods

During the pandemic, there was a lot of press about a trend toward comfort food. Well, the 'trend' hasn't gone away. Modern life hasn't become any less stressful, and in times of stress, your customers look for comfort foods. According to LifeScience, comfort foods reward 'hedonic hotspots' in the brain, amplifying a person's motivation to seek them out.1 This ultimately means your guests crave comfort food, and satisfying their craving is a great way to keep them coming back.

How can you offer more comfort food options on your menu? Well, luckily for you, you don't have to look too far. Topped and loaded fries are a great option for giving your customers a comfort food item they'd order. In fact, 67% of people consider fries a comfort food.2 The crispy exterior and fluffy baked potato interior of extra crispy fries hold up well when 'loaded' with different sauces or toppings and can complement all kinds of different flavors. They are the perfect versatile base, providing operators with a comfort food item that can be perceived as very upscale or even all the way to basic comfort food that reminds customers of their childhood. In fact, bacon and cheddar are the most frequently menued items used for fry toppings.3 But more exotic fry toppings like garlic parmesan and white truffle parmesan are now some of the most popular LTOs.3 And some of the fastest-growing toppings are beef, buffalo sauce, gravy, and poutine.3 Some emerging seasonings or toppings for fries include furikake, kimchi, and tahini.3

Fries go well with so many other flavors; they can be matched with items you already have in inventory. The possibilities are limitless, and loaded French fries with toppings and sauces offer your customers increased perceived value, so they command a higher price point on menus. In fact, "loaded" fry dishes command a median price that is $2.81 higher than French fry apps and sides overall.4 And they are easy to execute, require low labor, and provide higher margins.

Higher profits and more satisfied customers, now that is real comfort food. 75% of consumers are interested in ordering topped & loaded French fry dishes, so make sure to offer craveable options like Huevos Rancheros Fries or Philly Cheesesteak Loaded Fries.2

For more ideas on how fries can help improve margins and customer satisfaction, visit

Content courtesy of Lamb Weston

1LifeScience, 2023

2Datassential LW Amplifry, 2021

3Technomic US Fry Menu Trends