Chefs and restaurateurs are always searching for the “Next Big Thing” to put on their menus to attract consumers. New menu items, ways of preparation, themes, and experiences are great ways to generate interest, but don’t be too quick to count out true classics.
Ranch dressing is a classic tableside staple and is still wildly popular. According to a release from the NPD Group, ranch leads all dressing sales at restaurants. In fact, ranch sales are so large they double the sales of the number two dressing on the list, blue cheese.
Surprisingly, ranch sales are growing in a relatively stagnant salad dressing category. Sales volume of ranch flavor dressing shipped to total foodservice outlets was “up 3 percent while total salad dressing dollar sales were flat in the year ending December 2013 compared to year ago,” according to NPD’s SupplyTrack.
So why is ranch remaining so popular? Versatility.
Vinaigrette has been noted to be the most versatile dressing in terms of flavor variety and incidences on menus, but ranch’s true versatility is showcased in usage. It’s used for dipping with veggies and hot wings, dressings for salads, and even flavoring in powdered form on chips and breading.
The variety of uses means a greater value and a cost effective solution to restaurant operators. Ranch’s distinctiveness can be seen across these unique recipes:
Even with its flexibility, ranch is still most popular in its liquid form as its identity has changed from a salad dressing to a condiment. It has been called the “Swiss army knife of dressings” and even the “new ketchup”.
Without a doubt, ranch’s versatile usage makes it a great ingredient to have on hand at all times.