CHICAGO -- Sure, quick-service restaurants might have the french fry market cornered. But tater tots, well, that’s one deep-fried delicacy that no one segment has dominion over. The penetration of tater tots on restaurant and retail menus increased 1.2% over the past five years, according to Technomic’s Menu Monitor. The rounded spud nuggets could be an opportunity for retailers to create an original, craveable dish.
Take a look at how c-stores are touting tots on their menus.
1. 7 Eleven tops off tots
7-Eleven Inc., Irving, Texas, is cross-utilizing its condiment and topping bar for its latest hot-food launch: tots made with 100% real Idaho and Oregon potatoes. The chain’s more than 8,000 stores typically stock between six and 10 topping options, such as chili sauce, melted cheese, pico de gallo and sliced jalapenos. The retailer says the snack is rife with opportunities for customization. "Tots are hot," said Robin Murphy, 7-Eleven director of fresh food, in a release. "They're served up on appetizer menus at trendy bars and restaurants. You can even find tots and topping bars at weddings. 7-Eleven has its own version of a tot bar for customers to create their own favorite tasty tot concoction. We encourage culinary creativity." Guests can choose between 10 tots for $1 and 25 tots for $2.
2. Bodega spotlights a sweeter spud
In Jackson, Wyo., Bodega Specialty Grocer & Bottle Shop caters to tourists stopping by to explore the town’s ski resorts and nearby national parks. Owned by parent company Fine Dining Restaurant Group, Bodega offers travelers consciously sourced grab-and-go grub and groceries. At a fried-chicken shack outside the store, guests can order a hand-cut, buttermilk fried chicken sandwich. Paired with a side of savory tater tots and a cheesy dipping sauce or sweet potato tots, customers can cop the meal for $10 or less.
3. El Paisano Market rolls up a tot-filled burrito
Serving the student population in Tempe, Ariz., El Paisano Market whips up some wild late-night eats. The Mexican eatery within the store churns out specialty nachos, including riffs with Flaming Hot Cheetos and Doritos, quesadillas and thematic burritos. The retailer’s Fiji burrito is filled with steak or chicken, tater tots, pineapple, avocado, cheese and pico de gallo.