Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Katie Ayoub
October 14, 2020

Lazy Dog Restaurants rolled out its version of classic frozen, packaged TV dinners in July, extending the ability to serve its guests while carving out a fun point of differentiation. “It also extends the shelf life of our takeout, which is convenient for our customers,” says Gabriel Caliendo, VP of R&D for this brand known for comfort-centric Americana food.

“People are dining in the restaurant, then taking four to eight of these TV Dinners home with them.” Each one is served in a retro-style ’50s-era foil tray, starring offerings like Fried Chicken with housemade country gravy, red-skin mashed potatoes, sautéed baby spinach and bacon, and Geechie Boy Mill blue corn cake; and Cheese Enchiladas with housemade chipotle ranchero sauce, Spanish rice, black beans and cinnamon churro caramel cake.

“We feature familiar favorites from the restaurant, but add a fun dessert and side dish,” he says. “We wanted to morph the Lazy Dog experience into a takeout option that fit our style of Americana. This really felt right.”

The six TV Dinners are prepped from scratch at each location then frozen. “It’s doing really well for us,” says Caliendo. “Innovation that’s come out of the pandemic and will continue—that feels good.”

About The Author


Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.