Here's the next generation after mini burgers—perfect for shareable plates, combo platters and check-boosting
Mini sandwiches are big, answering more than one culinary trend and providing more than one menu solution. They work as scaled-down entrées for those seeking smaller portions, a trend called out in the top 10 of the National Restaurant Association's 2010 "What's Hot?" Chef Survey.¹ Sliders and mini burgers, for the second year in a row, rank in the top three in that same survey. Mini sandwiches are the next evolution, giving chefs even more options with this mega trend. Indeed, according to Mintel Menu Insights, menu mentions of mini sandwiches increased by 206% in the last three years (Q3 2007-Q3 2009). Mini menu items were most prevalent in the casual-dining sector, but Mintel reports sightings in fast casual and quick-serve, too.
Clearly, they're making a big impression. "What we've seen emerge is a trend in mini products that allows portion flexibility and price flexibility," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based research firm Technomic. "Because of the recession, sampling has become a popular way to provide value. With mini sandwiches, there's a perceived premium, but operators can discount it without eroding their cost-value ratio."
Behind the Recipes
As the trend in mini sandwiches grows, the trick is differentiating yours from the competition. These recipes help your minis stand out through ethnic profile, novelty, and of course, great flavor.
Mini Savory Biscuits with Turkey & Arugula
This mini is not short on flavor. Our chefs see the sandwiching components here as an opportunity to boost the Greek profile: They add roasted garlic, feta cheese, lemon zest, spinach and bell pepper to a biscuit mix. Once baked, they split the warm biscuit, spreading a creamy combination of Kraft Mayo Real Mayonnaise with Kraft Greek Vinaigrette with feta cheese and fresh basil. Roasted turkey is housed between the biscuit, along with a fresh mix of baby arugula and plum tomatoes tossed in the Greek Vinaigrette.
BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Asian Slaw
Here, our chefs draw from the Asian pantry for inspiration. They shred roasted chicken and toss it with a mixture of mango chutney, chili-garlic sauce and Bull's-Eye Original Barbecue Sauce. The cooling Asian slaw combines julienned cabbage with Kraft Mayo Real Mayonnaise, Grey Poupon Country Dijon, ginger, lime zest, lime juice and brown sugar. The pulled chicken and slaw are housed in a whole-wheat mini round roll.
BBQ Pork Minis with Tomatillo Salsa
A study of barbecue's great flavors—in miniature. Our chefs shred tender pork shoulder, then, looking for an intense sauce with overtones of molasses, they toss it in Bull's-Eye Original Barbecue Sauce. The pulled pork goes into a honey-wheat roll and is topped with a tomatillo salsa. The salsa brings in texture and a bright profile, with its tomatillos, roasted poblanos, hominy, black beans, cilantro, chipotle and Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing.
Black Bean & Quinoa Veggie Burger
Perfect for vegetarians, this mini sandwich packs a burst of fresh flavors with its spread: Philadelphia Cream Cheese, avocado, lime juice, hot sauce, cilantro and poblano. The veggie cake boasts a nutritional powerhouse, with sweet potato, quinoa, roasted yellow pepper, carrot and red onion. Cumin and Grey Poupon Bistro Sauce bring in a subtle background note while Ritz Crackers and egg bind the patty. Housed in a toasted mini ciabatta roll, English cucumber and broccoli sprouts add a clean note with a satisfying crunch.
Mixed Pepper & Portobello Mushroom Mini on Toasted Baguette
This is one of those vegetarian dishes that will probably appeal to meat eaters, too. Meaty slices of grilled portobello, which have been marinated in Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, are the star of this toasted mini. Oven-roasted red and yellow peppers bring sweet support. Arugula tossed in the vinaigrette adds spice, and a flavorful spread made with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, goat cheese, basil, sun dried tomatoes and the vinaigrette bring in that creamy mouthful.
Mini Crab Cake Roll with Spicy Slaw
Definitely aimed at big people, this mini holds bright, tropical flavors in its small package. Our chefs spread a mini French roll with Kraft Mayo Real Mayonnaise embellished with coconut milk and chili-garlic sauce. The crab cake is bound with the mayonnaise and Premium Saltine Crackers and studded with red onion, roasted poblano, cilantro and red pepper. For a hit of spice and crunch, the crab cake is topped with a slaw made with cabbage, jicama, chili-garlic sauce, red pepper, mango, red onion, lime juice and zest, coconut milk, cilantro and Kraft Mayo Real Mayonnaise.
Freeman Moser III,
Senior Executive Chef,
Kraft Culinary Centre
Chef Moser's Tips
Menu Solutions with Mini Sandwiches
- Bundle mini sandwiches in groups of three as an entrée, or bundle in groups of six as a shareable platter.
- Increase average check by offering a combo that includes mini sandwiches, a side and drink.
- Drive traffic on slower nights with promotions that give diners a mini sandwich with a purchase of a specialty beer or select glass of wine.
STAT! According to Mintel Menu Insights, from Q1 to Q3 in 2009, 81 new mini items from 44 different restaurants were added to the menu.
¹ More than 1,800 member chefs from The American Culinary Federation were surveyed.