Comfort Food Reimagined: How to Turn the Old into Something New


Comfort Foods

Comfort Food Reimagined:
How to Turn the Old into Something New

Comfort food is defined as “a food that provides a feeling of well-being, typically associated with childhood or home cooking.” Typically the phrase is correlated with Southern cooking, like chicken-fried steak, cornbread, and biscuits and gravy. However, comfort food has applications across the United States and is not restricted to the South. Apple pie, for example, is popular in the Midwest, and tacos are the preferred comfort dish in California. Comfort food has an element of subjectivity to it, of course, but the overall consensus is that comfort food is heavy in sugar, carbohydrates, and fats, fills you up, and evokes feelings of safety and, well, comfort. 

If you’re planning on introducing comfort food, or already have comfort offerings, you don’t need to copy and paste to provide the sought-after comfort. There are plenty of ways to offer the traditional comfort food of your locale without reproducing the same dish offered in other restaurants. How? By paying attention to trends. According to the Plant Based Foods Association, twenty-nine percent of Americans identify as “flexitarian”, meaning they’re not entirely vegan or vegetarian but are actively trying to consume less meat. The percentage of the general population that is vegetarian is just four percent, but a whopping seventy nine percent of Millennials identify as consuming a solely plant based diet. Given that the majority of consumers will be Millennials in the near future, it makes sense to shift your offerings to better appeal to their eating habits. This doesn’t mean that the comfort food you offer must be strictly plant based, but integrating plant based options is a smart idea. It’s simple to offer a vegetable pot pie alongside your chicken pot pie, and by doing so, you’ve widened your menu appeal and opened yourself to more business.

Plant based is not the only twist you can make on comfort food. One third of Americans actively avoid gluten in their diets, for either health reasons or personal choice. Adjusting your comfort food menu to allow for more gluten-free options alongside your regular fare can result in more business and a wider variety of customers, similarly to offering plant based items. It’s crucial that you either ensure you adhere to allergen guidelines or make it clear that cross-contamination is likely, however. Although people with true gluten intolerance make up only one percent of the total population, the chances of someone entering your restaurant with an allergy is not zero, and it’s best to be prepared, legally speaking. 

The eating habits of the American population vary widely, and although the craving for comfort food is widespread, the dietary choices and restrictions prevalent often make finding good comfort food difficult. Setting your restaurant apart by offering a variety of choices in comfort food without sacrificing quality goes a long way in boosting sales and cementing customer loyalty.

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