In a recent post, we covered some best practices for pasta when working with delivery and takeout along with some winning ideas we’ve been seeing out in the marketplace. Now a few weeks later, we’re building on that in a Q&A format with some more tips and strategies, and highlights gleaned from our research partners.
Q: Will gluten-free pastas work in a takeout context?
A: The short answer is yes, but it will require a bit more attention to detail in handling!
First and foremost, address cross-contamination concerns. Especially in “ghost kitchen” environments where space is at a premium, speed is essential, and multiple concepts may be running out of a shared kitchen, the risk of gluten contamination is likely high. So be sure to be transparent and communicate that possibility to your customers, while doing what you can to limit the risk.
Second, our legume pastas (both red lentil and chickpea) are gluten-free and do perform under our normal best-practice operations. Par-cook, toss in hot sauce to retherm, and deliver promptly. Barilla Gluten Free pasta is best cooked ala minute. Alternatively, you can deliver par-cooked gluten-free pasta and sauce & garnishes separately as a kit for consumers to finish at home with simple instructions.
Q: What’s the right mix of sauces and pasta types to have on a takeout/delivery menu?
A: Your goal should be to keep it simple and streamlined, while still providing choice, customization and differentiation. In our tests, a range of 5-8 pasta menu items was optimal. You’ll want a mix of short and long cuts – while short cuts like penne and rigatoni travel better, long cuts like spaghetti and linguine are customer favorites.
When building your menu, focus on SKU maximization and cross-utilization. With 4 base sauces: a meat sauce, a bechamel-based sauce, a tomato-based sauce, and a vegetable stock-velouté, you can offer a wide number of menu items and combinations. Mix that with 2-3 proteins, 3-5 seasonal veggies, and you’ll have a lot of room for creativity and customization.
Here’s an example menu:
Looking for more recipe inspiration? We’ve created a list of our favorite chef-created, takeout approved recipes your guests will love.