In the limited-service segment, 65% of adults consider the healthfulness of a menu when making a dining decision. This isn't the only section of the restaurant industry that is seeing an increasing health-awareness. Offering flatbread for sandwiches and pizza shells provides consumers innovative, healthful choices without sacrificing flavor. Because there is no industry standard definition for "flatbread," it encompases many types of bread with origins around the world, some of which are below. With flatbread's rising popularity, your customers will be excited to see them on your menu.
Types of flatbreads
Ciabatta - Originating in Italy, this dough is made of yeast, flour, water, salt, sometimes olive oil and milk – no herbs and spices. The crispy exterior, many large air holes interior, and slightly sour taste make this a popular choice for sandwiches such as this Ciabatta Breakfast Melt featuring Burke Turkey Breakfast Sausage.
Pita – One of the world’s oldest recipes and another Middle Eastern staple, which consists of flour, water, salt, sugar, and some type of yeast/fermenter. Pita dough shaped into a round, flat dough ball then baked at a high temperature (450-500°F). Separation of the dough happens from the carbon dioxide and steam expanding and the dry exterior pulling away from interior after baking.
Tortilla – The most popular ethnic bread in US, coincidentally coming from our neighbors, Mexico. The dough, made from corn or flour, is kneaded, given time to rest, then rolled and cut into rounds. Traditionally the rounds are cooked in a hot-cast iron skillet or griddle and served fresh off the heat.
Naan – This Indian cuisine staple is an elegant combination of white flour and yogurt. Traditionally naan is baked in a tandoor (clay oven) but can be made in an oven at home. The soft texture and round shape make it a great choice for any wrap, such as this Chorizo Gyro with Mint Yogurt Sauce featuring Burke Chorizo Topping.
Have You Thought About Alternative Pizza Crust Options?
Customers with a gluten allergy or health-conscious habits see pizza as a carbohydrate-filled indulgence. Here are 2 alternative crust ideas using vegetables as the main ingredient:
Cauliflower Crust – A simple mixture of mashed cauliflower, eggs, and your favorite seasons is a great way to keep the simple carbohydrate count low and please health conscious customers.
Sweet Potato Crust – Mashed sweet potatoes, all-purpose flour, baking soda, seasonings of choice, and a dash of salt bring a unique flavor to the table as the base for your favorite pizza toppings.
Growth of Flatbread Pizza
According to a Datassential Menu Trends Report released in October 2013, 5 percent of restaurant menus include flatbread pizza options, and menu penetration has nearly doubled since 2009. The fastest growing toppings for flatbread pizzas include beef and pork crumbles. Other flavors worth noting are Margherita and rosemary. Jack, rich cheddar, creamy ricotta, and fresh mozzarella are cheeses that are currently thriving.
An article released by PMQ reiterated the infiltration of flatbread pizza into the market as well. GuestMetrics’ Peter Reidhead stated “While non-flatbread pizzas were 83% of total pizza sales in 2013’s first quarter, about 60% of the incremental growth for pizza was due to strength in flatbread pizzas.” Multiple factors are contributing to the growth of the flatbread craze. Consumers view flatbreads as an artisan dish, healthier option, and the creative versatility is endless. An unlimited amount of toppings can be used, and their application goes beyond pizza with menu ideas such as sandwiches and salads.
If you are looking to add some ethic flair to your menu, flatbread options and alternative pizza crusts are a simple way to do so. The versatility provides a blank slate to let your creativity shine. While experimenting with alternative pizza crusts and flatbreads – be sure to experiment with some Burke fully cooked meat toppings too – request a sample today.