Ordering Up New Pizza Trends

Pizza’s an iconic menu item in this country, and while it hails from Italy, it has significantly made its stand in this country. Naturally, like anything else America adopts, we have to put our own spin on it. There are a few different varieties of pizza that have made headlines in recent weeks. Could any of these concepts work for your restaurant, or are they at least an entertaining bit of trivia?

WIth Valentine’s Day having just passed, you may have dallied with featuring heart-shaped items on your menu. Consumerist reports that both Papas (Murphy’s and John’s) have both sold heart-shaped pizzas on their menus for specials, One way to go the extra miles with these pizzas, as they suggest, is to cut pepperoni’s into heart shapes with small cookie-cutters. Naturally, this leaves you with unappealing heart-holed pepperoni rings, but you can easily chop these up and use them as smaller pepperoni chunks for a different pizza or ever pepperoni rolls.

Reshaping your crust into a heart design might be one thing, but outright replacing your crust with pepperoni is a whole ‘nother world. Dude Foods attempted this with a pepperoni crust pizza, which seems to have worked significantly better than the pepperoni crust taco that was the original plan. This could be a unique, if not extra-greasy, way to make a pizza that distinguishes itself from the others, and actually would end up possibly being gluten-free, if not exactly great for your heart. His recipe requires a fair bit of work to be perfected, so you and your attempt at it will have to adjust for changes.

Going from heart-shaped crust to pepperoni crust still keeps you fully in the realm of pizza, but going to deep dish might actually make not it pizza, thanks to a Supreme court ruling. Technically, it never went to court, but Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia “ruled” that deep dish pizza shouldn’t be called pizza. In his words, “It’s very tasty, but it’s not pizza,” preferring that it be called a tomato pie. In his mind, pizza is only pizza when it’s more authentic to the original Neapolitan style, thin, chewy, and crispy. Jon Stewart recently railed against the deep-dish pizza as well, claiming it’s more of a casserole than actual pizza.

If deep dish isn’t actual pizza, would three-year-old pizza still qualify? A pizza MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) has been developed that can sit on shelves for three years and be ready to eat, according to The Huffington Post. As pizza is one of the most-requested meals by soldiers, it took researchers nearly two years to figure out how to make pizza that can last this long. The problem stems from the moisture in toppings, including sauce, eventually migrating to the dough, leading to mold. A few scientific changes to the standard pizza recipe adjusts it to control the moisture. While pepperoni pizza is the initial plan, turkey pizza is in the options for those who don’t eat pork.

Three-year old, heart-shaped pizza, heart-shaped pepperoni, and pepperoni crusted pizza? Could you see yourself trying it?

Japan’s Take On: Valentine’s Day

Today is the day restaurants will be packed with loving couples that can’t cook for themselves, or prefer not to, leaving the heat on in other areas of their house. It may be a “manufactured, Hallmark holiday” as many critics will contest, but it’s a standard holiday for those in love in America. Your restaurant should be packed tonight, but things aren’t the same everywhere.

In Japan, things are a bit different. On our side of the globe, couples give each other gifts, kids get their whole class stuff, and those practicing Single Awareness Day surf the Internet looking at cat pictures. In that island nation, Valentine’s Day comes in two parts, with the first coming today.

On February 14th, custom tends to be that women employed in offices (colloquially known as “office ladies”) give their male coworkers chocolate, and many younger people will take this opportunity to profess their love or crush on a male student. The better the chocolate (homemade being the best, followed by quality store-bought), the better the romantic or friendship interest. The cheaper and lower quality chocolate remains for people you don’t share much of an interest in, but don’t want them to be left out. This chocolate is known as “giri choco” (courtesy chocolate) or “honmei choco” (love chocolate).

One month later, on March 14th, men return the favor. If they don’t return any sort of gift, it’s perceived as “being above”, unfairly. If they return in equal kind or amount, it’s seen as a curt way to cut ties. Men are expected to double or triple the quality or quantity of the gift in a romantic relationship. This day, known as “White Day,” returns the favor. There’s a much more crass version of this day in America starting with “Steak”, but we won’t cover that here. Common items to be given in return on White Day are white color, such as white chocolate, marshmallows, or even white lingerie. Notably, March 14th is also known as “Pi Day,” so if you can figure out a white pie, you’re set for two holidays.

To round out Valentine’s Day and White Day, there’s a particular South Korean tradition one month after White Day. On April 14th, it’s time for men who didn’t receive or give any gifts on the previous two days to meet up and eat jajangmyeon, a dish of white noodles in black sauce.

What do you think of how Japan handles the holiday? Would you be able to do the math and figure out how much chocolate you should get your loved one? As a restaurant, how can you take inspiration from this foreign tradition? If anything, you might want to look into buying some white noodles and black sauce for those unlucky.

The World Of Mocktails

Some people like the taste of alcoholic drinks without chancing drinking and driving, or otherwise abstain completely from alcoholic beverages. “Mocktails” are the safe-to-drink variations of cocktails, and with one of the most iconic mocktails, Shirley Temple, having its namesake pass away this week, it’s a great time to look at a drink (and a range of drinks it is included in) that she made iconic.

Common Mocktails

Arnold Palmer, Shirley Temple, Freddie Bartholomew, Roy Rogers, and even Virgin Mary: these people may have nothing in common, outside of the fact they’re inspiration for mocktails. What does it take to make each of these?

  • Arnold Palmer: 50% lemonade, 50% iced tea. When you can’t decide what cold drink to have for refreshment, go for this one.
  • Freddie Bartholomew: ginger ale and lime juice.
  • Shirley Temple: ginger ale (or lemon-lime soda), splash of grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry. Commonly, this can be made alcoholic and named “Shirley Temple Black”, her adult, married name, by the addition of vodka.
  • Roy Rogers: cola and grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry.
  • Virgin Mary: a non-alcoholic version of a Bloody Mary, containing tomato juice, Tabasco sauce, and garnished with a celery stalk.

Beyond these named for famous people, there are other mocktails that stand on their own.

  • Virgin Colada: a non-alcoholic version of the Piña Colada, combining cream of coconut and pineapple juice, garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.
  • Gunner: ginger beer or lemonade combined with ginger ale and a dash of lemon juice or lime cordial, and a dash of Angostura bitters (while considered non-alcoholic, bitters are 44.7% alcohol).
  • Lemon, Lime and Bitters: lemonade, lime cordial, and Angostura bitters.
  • Tortuga: Much like American Sweet Tea, a Tortuga is iced tea with brown sugar, garnished with cinnamon and a lime wedge.

Why might you want to look into serving mocktails?

Cost Efficiency and Safety

Many people might like these drinks when they’re in a situation where they can’t drink. Offering mocktails allows them to have a unique drink, but also allows you to not tap in to your expensive alcohol offerings. Some people may even want to look like they’re drinking (to act as if they’re keeping up with friends), so mocktails might allow them to continue a night without pressures from friends.

One way to even encourage patronage with non-alcoholic drinks is to offer free drinks to designated drivers. The designated driver concept is an honorable one for many bars and restaurants; in a good night of drinks and debauchery, one pal might opt to be the designated driver. While everyone else can enjoy their drinks with alcohol, he or she can have free drinks at the cost of not being alcoholic. One way to institute this program is to offer the designated driver a wristband; this wristband will indicate to staff, bartenders, and waitstaff that they’re not to have alcoholic drinks, but can have free drinks.

Mocktails can keep the world safe, and increase your profitability. Don’t make the mistake of skipping them on your menu.