Try Googling ‘french fries,’ and you may find that your search generates nearly 300 million results.
According to the DoorDash 2022 Restaurant Ordering Report, fries were the most ordered menu item of the year.
But ask any restaurateur, and you’ll find out there are a few tricks behind delivering the perfect order of fries — a serving that is hot and crispy, with just enough salty flavor to make your mouth water.
One key component is the right packaging — and unfortunately, there have been supply chain shortages and a spike in costs for food packaging supplies. In a recent survey of restaurant operators, 72% of respondents said that costs were rising.
We compiled some tips for success from one of our partner restaurants, the Las Vegas-based Black and Blue Diner.
Tips for delivering tasty fries
The Black and Blue Diner is a restaurant that takes its fries seriously – along with its burgers, chicken-fried steak, and other hearty dishes, including many plant-based items.
Owner Rose Tummarello opened the New York-style diner in 2021 in partnership with Food Network celebrity chef Vic “Vegas” Moea.
“The fries are usually the first food our customers eat with each order, so they have to be perfect,” she says.
Start with high-quality ingredients
At the end of the day, it’s a restaurant’s flavors that keep its customers coming back for more — and those flavors rely on high-quality ingredients. As Tummarello says, “People love all the food we make because the food is fresh and we use the best ingredients.”
For its fries, the Black and Blue Diner’s kitchen manager swears by the Idaho-grown russet potatoes he sources from Lamb Weston. Idaho grows more potatoes than any other state, and they’re famous for their high starch content and delicious taste.
The kitchen cooks their fries in 100% vegetable oil. With about a third of their customer base identifying as vegan, the diner has to be careful to consider their needs and preferences. “It’s important not to have cross-contamination.”
To ensure a pristine vegan experience, the diner has three fryers — one for fish, one for meat, and one exclusively for fries.
Cook and season them to perfection
When a customer orders fries, the kitchen cooks them in individual batches — not in a large basket where they may sit out and get cold or lose their crispy texture. “We make our french fries to order,” says Tummarello.
The fries are cooked at 350 degrees for exactly three and a half minutes, then seasoned. “When they come out of the fryer, we add our homemade Black and Blue seasoning to the fries to give it a little kick.”
It’s a proprieta
ry blend with paprika, garlic, black pepper, and just a touch of salt – shaken on the fries while they are still hot, and lending a unique flavor profile.
Package them up for success
Having opened in the middle of a pandemic, the diner has relied heavily on delivery since its inception. “All we could do was delivery because of Covid restrictions,” says Tummarello. “We had to be on our game. We had to prove that we could handle it and deliver amazing food.”
Of course, that included keeping any food scheduled for delivery and pickup piping hot. “We have heat lamps to keep the food hot. We keep the food under the heat as long as possible until the drivers come.”
It also required the right packaging, both for the diner’s regular fries and for its infamous ‘loaded’ fries, like the Loaded Bacon Cheese Ranch and the Loaded Philly Steak Onions & Cheese.
We know how important it is to keep the fries warm and crispy. We put them in a special container to keep them hot – it’s made from thick paper with openings to let air flow through.
But the real secret to delivering french fries is to make sure the packaging allows the steam to escape so the fries don’t get soggy.
“There's a reason why fast food places give it to you with just the tray and a napkin over the top – it's because anything that's too closed up gets really soggy fast,” comments Sean Reiter from The Melt. “We're leaning the same way where we send out the fries with a napkin over the top. With delivery orders, we put them into an open-air bag – we call it a pickle bag – so they can breathe.”
Keeping customer satisfaction high
To help restaurants keep a happy and loyal customer base, the DoorDash Store offers a wide variety of sustainable and durable packaging. Our products are made from recycled, biodegradable, or reusable materials – and we use our scale to pass the savings on to our restaurant partners.
As much as restaurants would like to deliver 100% customer satisfaction every time, the reality is that sometimes not everything goes as planned. If your customers’ worst-case scenario occurs and their fries arrive soggy, you could always share this advice from Chef John and pop them in the fridge for a few minutes, then reheat them in a pan — and not an oven.