Chip Chip Hooray!
The humble chip has became a reliable, enjoyable and popular menu choice. One of the most frequently ordered items on a menu; served either as a side or stand-alone snack, establishments are championing chips in new ways to not only add excitement and flavour to a dish, but drive sales too.
Loaded fries – working as a side, stand-alone or sharing option, loaded fries are a simple way to add variety and excitement to the menu, and enable operators to charge a premium price for very little additional outlay. Tex Mex (cheese sauce, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos) and Chicken Steak (pulled chicken, peppers and cheese) are two popular flavours.
Sweet potato fries – sitting alongside burgers and wraps is where sweet potato fries have made the biggest impact. According to research by Aviko, 85% of those asked said they’d order a sweet potato side over a conventional potato option, with almost half willing to pay up to 50p more.
How it’s done
Oakley’s Grill and Pizzeria in Skipton, Yorkshire, have pizza fries on their menu. These shoestring fries are tossed in cajun spices and topped with cheddar, mozzarella and pepperoni. Brooklyn Fries in Bradford has a menu mostly focused on chips. They offer loaded fries in three different portion sizes ranging from £3.50 to £6.00, perfect as a side to accompany its burgers, or as main course. Flavours include everything from their traditional cheese and signature gravy, to a Brooklyn special.
Spice it up
Chip seasoning not only increases choice and variety for customers, it can help to drive profits, as you can charge more. Piri Piri is one of the most popular spices – just sprinkled on after cooking – or ordinary chip seasoning – a blend of paprika, garlic, onion, salt and pepper – is a perfect alternative to traditional salt. If you buy one 55g jar of Schwartz Chip Seasoning for around £1.60 and add a sprinkle to each portion of chips, you can charge an extra 25p per portion which will make you over £35 per jar.
Good old tomato ketchup still remains the top dip for chips, but why not spice up your offering by adding ketchup to Sriracha Seasoning – a sweet, sour heat with a distinctive garlic kick – to make it a fiery tomato sauce dip? Blackened Cajun Seasoning is a blend of chilli, spices and herbs that can be mixed into mayonnaise for a spicy cajun dip.
The perfect chip
Andy Gray, trade marketing manager for Seafish, gave us his tips for the perfect chip:
1. Potato choice – this will often be dependent on the seasons and what is the best quality available, but Maris Piper is usually the potato of choice for chipping.
2. Chipping – once peeled, potatoes should be chipped and trimmed to be equal sizes in length and width (around 1 to 1.5cm in thickness). This will ensure that the chips all cook at the same rate.
3. Let them soak – chipped potatoes should be soaked in water for 30 minutes to an hour, which helps to remove any excess starch and will let the chips cook evenly and not colour too quickly. Drain and dry before cooking.
4. Get frying – the most important bit! Cook the chips first at a temperature of 160°C to cook the potato through. Allow to cool before cooking them at a second, high temperature of 190°C which will crisp them.
5. Oil choice – vegetable-based oil or beef dripping is recommended, however, it is down to personal preference.
The healthy option
Chips are often seen as an unhealthy option, but they don’t have to be. Make them appealing to the more health conscious customer by:
• Baking instead of frying
• Skipping the salt
• Swapping to sweet potato – high in fibre and vitamin A, lower in calories
• Making your own condiments or offering a low sugar option