David Mitroff, Ph.D. was interviewed and featured in el Restaurante Magazine in an article on how side dishes can be incorporated into a main meal. There are creative ways to utilize the side dishes themselves to encourage customers to be more willing to eat outside their comfort zones.

“‘There are many ways to introduce new side dishes to your clientele’, says Dr. David Mitroff, founder of Piedmont Avenue Consulting Inc., who works with restaurants and franchises on ways to create brand awareness and strengthen customer loyalty.

Mitroff, whose clients include Mexican venues in the San Francisco Bay area, says it is important to help customers become familiar with unfamiliar food.

“One way they can do it is to create a sampler platter as a side dish or appetizer with a selection of entrees. This allows food exploration without a commitment of finishing off a large portion of unfamiliar food,” he reports.

For example, El Huarache Azteca in Oakland, Calif., often offers a sampler plate that features two tostaditas, two mini pambazos, two mini huaraches, and two mini flautas. The sampler platter costs more than an entree would, and typically people order the sampler and entrees, as well—regardless of how hesitant they are to pay extra—in order to be guaranteed satisfaction from at least part of their order, Mitroff explains.

Creating a platter of sides is one way to boost check averages and let customers try offerings they may opt to order again on a repeat visit, Mitroff adds.

A smaller-sized dish also can be a fun way to cook up new menu items.

“We serve a queso tamale with a buttermilk and tomatillo salsa—it’s super tasty, but because it’s so rich, it’s a once in a while treat,” says Nawab. “I have been toying with a quesadilla made with corn tortillas, cactus, poblano peppers, and a little chipotle salsa, too. Cactus isn’t so common in the fast-casual world, but at Choza Taqueria, we try hard to meet the demand while still being a bit different.”

Read the article here: http://elrestaurante.com/side-show-side-dishes-can-be-star-players-on-restaurant-menu/