Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Buffalo Takes Flight Buffalo Wild Wings | based in Minneapolis

PHOTO CREDIT: Flavor & The Menu Staff

We talk a lot about the evolution of bold flavor, often using Buffalo sauce as an example of an early favorite on the American heat index. And although consumers have widened their circle, now embracing chipotle, habanero and Sriracha, to name a few, there’s still room for innovation within the vinegary, buttery cayenne-based Buffalo sauce. Buffalo Wild Wings intuitively turned to that flavor system when looking to innovate around classic mac and cheese, a dish offered as an entrée option at the wings-centric concept. The result: noodles in a creamy aged-cheddar sauce and a buttery breadcrumb crust topped with crispy pieces of boneless Buffalo chicken wings.

Testing the waters, the chain launched its Buffalo Mac and Cheese as an LTO. “With the excitement surrounding this dining experience, it made its way onto our core menu for year-long availability,” says Farley Kaiser, Manager of Culinary Innovation. She says that the mac and cheese is a perfect foundation for innovation at the brand. “Because our mac and cheese is such a great base for creative flavor development, we were able to showcase an additional menu item with it a year later, pairing it with smoky bacon, barbecue-ranch sauce and a crunchy crust of Cheez-Its for a savory and hearty menu offering.”

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