Shareable Appetizers Give Customers the Fun They Crave

Shareable Appetizers Give Customers the Fun They Crave

With many states and municipalities easing restrictions on restaurant dining, customers are eager to get back to enjoying dine-in meals with family and friends.

As the industry gradually gets back to normal post-COVID, restaurants are increasingly considering the future of flavor and what consumers might demand.

“If anything, COVID has taught people that you just never know. Life is not certain—anything is around the corner,” said Liz Moskow, flavor expert and VP of brand development at online ordering platform Ordermark. “I think this sort of a ‘joie de vivre’ and ‘seize the day’ mentality is going to come back into food, and people are just going to look to enjoy food on a regular basis.”

Moskow added that full-service brands, meanwhile, can take advantage of consumers’ pent-up demand for custom, shareable experiences.

That’s why now is a great time to expand or update your appetizer and party platter offerings. Letting your customers mix and match their appetizers, especially across categories, adds a sense of fun and adventure.

While 45% of consumers surveyed said they think of appetizers as “inherently indulgent,” that doesn’t stop them from ordering them. When asked what is most important when deciding whether to order an appetizer, most ranked “flavor profile” number one.1

Latin-inspired starters remain popular – 24.0% of U.S. restaurants serving appetizers feature Mexican foods, up 1.7% over the past year. Of those restaurants, 24.6% offer tacos, up 10.8% over the past four years; and 6.2% offer burritos, up 34.8% over the past four years.2

Mozzarella sticks, whether breaded or battered, are a classic appetizer option that always makes customers happy. They are on 12.7% of U.S. menus, up 3.6% over the past year.4

Asian appetizers appear to be gaining in popularity, giving operations lots of new options for variety on menus. Wontons (on 57.2% of menus) and potstickers (26.9%) are both easy-to-prepare classics that are ideal for dipping and sharing, as are spring rolls, which are on nearly half of menus (48.7%).3

No matter which appetizers you offer to your customers for mix-and-match sampler platters, be sure to have plenty of dipping sauces on hand, like ranch, marinara, soy/teriyaki, sweet chile, salsa, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole.

As a leader in culinary innovation, Ajinomoto Foods North America can help you stay informed. Check out our easy-to-serve, trend-forward products and follow our blog at


Appetizers, appetizer platters, sampler platters, shareable appetizers, dine-in, party platters, starters, mix and match, Asian, Latin, dipping sauces


  1. Datassential 2021 Appetizers
  2. Datassential 2021, Mexican Appetizers Report
  3. Datassential 2021, Most Popularly Menued Fried Vegetables
  4. Datassential 2021
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