If you’re like most restaurant operators, you manage an endless stream of responsibilities every day. That includes seemingly minor details, that if overlooked or taken for granted, can hinder the restaurant’s success.
An example is the broth in your kitchen. You may have been using the same brand of chicken or beef broth for years without giving it much thought. But perhaps you should take another look because the flavor of the broth and what it contains have a significant impact on the food you serve and how pleased your customers are.
“There is a common misconception that all broths are alike,” says Jaime Reeves, Director of College Inn Research and Development at Del Monte Foods. “Actually, there are significant differences in taste as well as in sodium content and the ingredients listed on the label.”
Tapping the trends
Broth is an ingredient that works behind the scenes rather than as a menu headliner. Whether customers are aware or not, it is a vital flavor builder in everything from exotic global cuisines to homestyle comfort fare to trendy plant-based dishes. Soups, stews, sauces, gravies and many main dishes require a flavorful broth. Menu items such as rice pilaf, risotto, couscous, quinoa and potatoes make leaps in flavor when cooked in broth rather than water. And a ladle of broth comes in handy to ensure moistness and taste when holding cooked foods for service.
If you look closely, you will find broth at the heart of some widespread eating trends today:
- The delicious, slurpable noodles featured at New York’s Momofuku Noodle Bar and other pioneering ramen restaurants may capture the attention, but the rich broths they swim in also deserve credit for fueling the ramen bowl trend.
- The delectable flavor and creaminess of risotto Milanese, a classic Italian dish, results from slowly stirring saffron-scented chicken broth into rice.
- Tasty broths are integral to the soup-and-sandwich and soup-and-salad combos that drive lunchtime traffic in many restaurants, typified by Panera Bread’s You Pick Two deal.
- The plant-based eating trend that is gaining traction throughout the foodservice industry provides a stage for soups, side dishes and main courses based on vegetable broth, mushroom stock and bone broth. Bone broth, which first gained popularity among followers of the Paleo Diet, is gaining mainstream consumer popularity due to its protein and mineral content as well as rich flavor. Consumers in general favor broths made without GMO ingredients, MSG and gluten, and with labels that list fewer ingredients. Less-sodium and low-fat broths are appealing to these mindful eaters as well.
Optimizing time, labor and space
In a day of rising wages and a severe labor shortage, operators are obliged to deploy their skilled kitchen staff in the most productive way. Few can afford the labor hours required to chop vegetables, roast bones and tend a simmering stockpot in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are high-quality prepared alternatives that deliver long-cooked flavor. That’s why it has become the rule for chain and independent restaurants operators to entrust the preparation of broth to a manufacturer.
“Flavor is typically the key attribute one looks for in broth, followed by performance and cost,” says Reeves. “Starting with a good, flavorful broth can make a vital difference in the quality of the end product.”
Cans or cartons of broth can be stored much more space efficiently than all the bones, meat and vegetables it would take to make broths from scratch. In fact, because prepared broth is shelf stable, operators can keep a portfolio of different types in the storeroom to inspire special menu items and limited-time offerings.
“Chicken, beef, vegetable and bone broths, along with mushroom stock, offer chefs a variety of flavor profiles and notes to use in distinctive dishes,” says Reeves.
The College Inn difference
College Inn broths are slow-simmered from premium quality meats and bones, farm-grown vegetables and unique seasoning blends. They provide the authentic, made-from-scratch flavor that consumers crave. They are 100-percent natural, gluten free and MSG free. The portfolio includes classic chicken and beef broth, chicken and beef bone broths and less-sodium, organic and vegetarian options. They are available in convenient resealable cartons, allowing the kitchen to use just as much as it needs and save the rest for later.
The bottom line is that some broths are tastier and more healthful than others. Operators should be mindful of the quality of the broth they use to ensure that they are serving an optimum quality product.
For more information about using College Inn broths in versatile culinary applications, visit http://products.delmontefoodservice.com/college-inn/.