Chef-Driven, Upscale Appetizers Increase Check Averages

Chef-Driven, Upscale Appetizers Increase Check Averages

As food costs continue to rise, foodservice operations can adapt by adding higher priced, shareable appetizers to their menus. A recent survey showed that 55% of consumers share their appetizers with others.1 Upscale, shareable small plates make it easy to upsell guests by adding more food to tabs.2

Customers are willing to spend more on appetizers these days when they go out to eat — as much as $5.50 at fast food restaurants and up to $13.30 at fine-dining establishments, according to a recent Technomic report. A similar report from Nestlé said the average appetizer price across all U.S. menus is $7.10, and that 35% of consumers are “strongly likely” to order an appetizer or a small plate when dining out.

Premium add-ons like gastropub-inspired appetizers will increase check averages, especially when regular and large sizes are offered.3 High-quality, chef-driven appetizers like Queso Loaded Tots, Guacamole Bites, and Creamy Mango Habanero Bites perfectly fit the bill, offering quick and easy prep, and superior hold times for dine-in, takeout, and delivery.

With the actual and potential growth of loaded tots on menus, it’s clear that a gourmet item like Queso Loaded Tots is an ideal addition to any operation. Loaded tots are up 142% over the past four years and are in the 87th percentile for future growth potential.4

Made with a blend of queso fresco and other savory cheeses, jalapeño peppers, and bacon in a crispy, tortilla chip coating, Queso Loaded Tots offer a craveable, on-trend flavor profile. Serve with Carolina BBQ, chipotle ranch, or jalapeño cheddar dipping sauce, or use as a topper for flatbreads or gourmet burgers.

Found on 21.9% of U.S. menus4, guacamole is a popular item that never goes out of style. A new way to serve guacamole is with Guacamole Bites — chips and guacamole all in one with smashed avocados, diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, and lime juice in a breaded, crispy tortilla chip coating. Guacamole Bites are great as part of a shareable offering or as a standalone signature item paired with salsa roja or mole sauce, or as an addition to tacos with fusion flair.

Fried cheese menu items are always a great starter or shareable, and Creamy Mango Habanero Bites are a perfect example of an upscale option. Mango and habanero peppers make a perfect pair, showing up together on menus 36% of the time. This flavor pairing is up 83% over the past four years!4

Creamy Mango Habanero Bites feature cream cheese with diced mangos and habanero peppers in a crispy, buttery coating, making it a sweet heat treat ideal for appetizer and dessert menus. Creamy Mango Habanero Bites are packed with flavor and a perfect way to elevate seasonal salads, artisanal flatbreads, and charcuterie boards.

Pair with an avocado creme, a chef-inspired sweetened pineapple or coconut whipped mousse, avocado ranch, raspberry sauce, or Caribbean jerk sauce to amp up the flavor even more.

Revel Eats is a brand of Ajinomoto Foods North America (AFNA), which has been innovating prepared appetizers for more than 60 years. Our specialty is crafting global flavors for America’s foodservice operators in search of easy prep, flavorful appetizers and entreés.

As a leader in culinary innovation, Ajinomoto Foods North America can help you stay informed. Check out our easy-to-serve, trend-forward products and follow our blog at



1 Lantmännen Unibake USA

2 Technomic

3 Service That Sells

4 Datassential

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