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Appetizers or Small Plates? Can't it be both?

Roma Zucchini SticksDon’t underestimate the appeal of smaller portions

Starters, whether they are appetizers that can be shared amongst a whole table, or small plates that consist of just a bite or two of perfectly mixed flavors, are a great way to get your patrons off to a great meal that they’ll remember. The trend towards controlling portion sizes has made the appeal of these smaller fares skyrocket – so make sure you’re giving your health conscious customers plenty of options, and keep the options delicious enough to entice any avid menu reader as well. And with other trends such as around-the-clock grazing and on-the-go eating, your customers are always looking for something new and exciting to add to their best “food memories.” Small plates, samplers, appetizers, bar foods, and other variations of these modular menu ideas are changing the way Americans eat, so make sure you’re on trend to fulfill their needs!


Our Roma appetizers, in addition to supplying you traditional favorites like onion rings and mozzarella sticks, have a large range of new items as well in case you’re looking for that next menu stand-out item. With risotto croquettes, red pepper and chipotle jalapeno poppers, mac ‘n cheese bites, and breaded cauliflower nuggets, there are plenty of options to make your menu really shine.


Consider the following when coming up with appetizer or small plate options:

  • Fun dipping sauces entice almost every customer. Consider making your own unique dipping sauces, or trying one of our Village Garden or Piancone dressings as a dipping sauce.
  • Try offering a “flight” of dipping sauces for one appetizer
  • Think onion rings belong in a basket? Think again. Many places have begun coming up with cool ways to display appetizers that are eye-catching to other customers. You want to create the “I’ll have what she’s having” effect, right?
  • Add in interesting on-trend flavors and spices to traditional appetizers. Be bold, be risky!
  • Consider offering different sized appetizer or small plate portions based on the number of people sharing the portion. Doing sliders? Don’t just offer two or four, pro-rate them so that everyone can have their own!
  • Make your small plates upscale with a combination of beautiful plate presentation and the addition of “upscale” menu items. Fries dusted with truffle salt, fried shallot rings as a garnish, pickled ginger as a pairing, the opportunities are endless!

So make sure you're giving your customers as many options as possible to up their check averages. You never know when someone won't be able to resist that one extra appetizer.