Foodie Solutions: Family Style Meals Toolkit

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Family Style Meals

TOOLKIT Resources and insights to help you capture traffic from families that are on the go and need the convenience of ready-to eat meals.

One of the most common food trends right now starts at home with family style meals and comfort food. From homeschooling to managing work-life balance, families can find relief in ordering takeout that can stretch for an extra day or feed several people in one setting. A common question we get from restaurateurs is, "How can this benefit my bottom line?" Our answer is always: We have solutions.


This guide breaks down some of the essential tools for success that drive efficiency, simple execution, and cost-effectiveness. When it comes to family style meals, the most important thing to remember is your customers' desire to spend quality time with the people they love.



What is Family Style? Why Family Style? Selling Comfort Simplified and Efficient Cost Reduction


Family Style Meal Kits Cocktail Kits Bundles Pre-Ordered Meals Family Style and Meal Kit Examples Recipes


• Minimizing Your Menu by Cross-utilization • The 4 Ps • Keeping Family Style Meals Safe • Creating Experiences • Staffing for Success

MARKETING & Sysco Advantage • • • •


Family Style Marketing Kit E-Mail Marketing Social Media Marketing Social Distancing Marketing Kit


DIY Classic Cheese Pizza Kit SUPC 1745686 – 20 units per case, 283g

Copyright © 2021 Rich Products of Canada Ltd., All rights reserved. Woodbridge, ON L4L 6E1 | 149 Rowntree Dairy Road | 905-265-4300

Innovation and adaptability are critical to the ever-changing environment of the foodservice industry. Restaurants that provide quality family style meals for customers to consume at home have the advantage.


Family meals or meal kits are solutions offered to your customers to save time and create an experience at home while not compromising the taste of their favourite restaurants as they take it to-go.


Offering the convenience of family style meals will attract customers looking to serve restaurant-quality food with ease. From eliminating home kitchen mess to simplified ordering, family style meals is an appealing solution for those looking to feed a small crowd. For the operator, menu offerings that are efficient to produce are key. We'll cover the culinary basics that work well for family meals and offer suggestions to inspire.


With labour shortages concerning demand, it might be useful to pare down or concentrate your menu on the most profitable and popular items. Your brand is unique to your customers, and now is the time to lean into that. Pick a selection of items that capture your restaurant's essence and focus on offering those as feature family style meals. Find ways to simplify your recipes without compromising flavour. Some of your menu items, like fried food, may need to be adapted for off-premise dining either by finding the right to-go container or switching to more forgiving batter types. TIP: Offering meals themed for special occasions, holidays, or events are of higher appeal to customers as they celebrate milestones like holidays, graduations, and sports.


Right now, chefs have an opportunity to provide people with something that is sorely needed-comfort. Boredom and anxiety are on the rise, and comfort food is a popular solution for both. Takeout family style meals are an excellent way for chefs to support their communities. Though these types of meals may not be overly exciting, they are important. And you can put your creative spin on them, taking them from easy speed-scratch meals to a unique dish full of local flavour. - Chef Neil Doherty Senior Director, Culinary Development


Selling Comfort

Family style meals are a great way to provide comfort foods to families. Also, they are cost-effective and efficient to execute in an off-premise dining program. Some operators have found success by creating a separate, limited takeout menu that offers a few select items. This has the added benefit of reducing back-of-house labour. Meals that are quickly and easily assembled can provide operators with an effective means of fulfilling consumer needs and driving revenue for their operation.

Simplified and Efficient

Delivery and takeout allow operators to sustain their business during social distancing. Working with limited staff can pose significant labour challenges for full-service operators, but a limited menu can help mitigate that. Consider a limited family style offering of just 3-5 different takeout entree options, paired with 1-2 of your side dishes. This decrease in variability drastically reduces the odds of back-of-house mistakes and the resulting unfavourable customer experience.

Cost Reduction

Individual takeout menu items require a higher number of to-go ware pieces. An emphasis on large-size family style menu items can ultimately reduce your packaging costs even in times of increased takeout and delivery orders. In addition, having a set family style menu allows operators to reduce their inventory of products, which leads to a decrease in overall cost and exposure while still maintaining a high overall standard of food and service quality.



Family Style

Family meals or meal kits allow families or small groups to experience their favourite restaurant meals. Customers can order more quickly and save time by ordering one dish versus several individual meals. Consider taking preorders to allow your team to prepare and minimize waste accurately.

Take and Make Meal Kits

Offer your customers the option to pick up the preportioned ingredients and preparation instructions so they can recreate the magic of your menu at home. Meal kits can also pair with virtual events like cooking classes, virtual celebrations, and more. Meals that travel well, such as pasta-based dishes or hamburger packs for the family, are prepackaged essentials. Offering the opportunity to be “Chef for the Day” can become a fun family activity.

Pre-Order Meals

Expanding your footprint could include preparing pre-ordered meals. • Collect pre-orders via telephone or an online platform • Estimate the labour and inventory based on the pre-orders • Allow customers the freedom of choice to order fan-favorite dishes as a family style versus the traditional sandwiches and wraps

Cocktail Kits

Consumers who were used to brunching with friends want innovative offerings from your establishment. A mini cocktail kit is a perfect add-on to a takeout purchase.

Bundle Ideas

Group items together to create themed ready to pick up bundles: • Bento Box • Pasta On The Go • Brunch • Holiday Celebration • Pizza Kits • Steak and Seafood • General Tso's Beef • Casseroles • Taco Bar • Fiesta Boxes (Enchiladas and Sides) • Cocktail Kit/Happy Hour

TIP: Add a recipe card for "Take and Make" Kits



Give your customers a personalized experience they can take home for enjoyment with their families or small groups.

Brunch is Back

Burger Pack

Cater to consumers who love brunching! They'll enjoy your unique and innovative offerings - and remember to toss in a Mimosa Cocktail Kit.

Promote Burger Kits that include the savory essentials like patties, cheese, buns, veggies, and prepacked condiments.

Italian Night

Surf & Turf at Home

Stuffed ravioli is a versatile low-prep item that could be prepared in a variety of ways.


Pair steak with lobster tails or shrimp for an elegant meal that’s perfect for any special occasion!




INGREDIENTS • Casa Solana Fully Cooked Spiced Beef Mexican Style • Packer Vegetable Pico Mix • Sysco Imperial Fajita Mix • Sysco Imperial Washed Cilantro • Sysco Imperial Lettuce Shred 1/8” • Sysco Imperial Pepper Jalapeno Sliced

• Sysco Imperial Onion Green Iceless Fresh • Avocado • Cucumber • Lime • Lemon • Corn Tortillas

DIRECTIONS 1. B lister off Sysco Fajita Mix in cast iron with oil pack in foil third pan. Grill or Cast-Iron Fry Sysco Green onions pack in foil third pan. Heat off Casa Solana Fully cooked Spiced Beef Mexicana Style pack in foil half pan. 2. Grill or toast Corn Tortillas and pack in foil half pan. Heat off Casa Solana Fully cooked Spiced Beef Mexicana Style pack in foil half pan.


3. A dd a cup of Packer Vegetable Pico Mix to a bowl. Add ½ cup of Sysco washed cilantro and a ¼ cup of Sysco sliced jalapenos. Two juiced limes. Pack in 500ml container 4. Peel and Chop Avocados, medium dice cucumbers. Add 3 cups of cucumber and avocado mix to a bowl, ½ cup or washed Sysco cilantro, ¼ cup of Sysco Diced Jalapeno Peppers. Two Juiced limes. Pack in a 1L container.

Cheese Ravioli with Smoked Speck & Peas The days where groups could get together at ease are not entirely back. Consumers who were used to brunching with their close ones want to enjoy unique and innovative offerings from your establishment. Offer that experience to-go. Ready to heat and serve, Arrezzio Cheese Ravioli forms the basis of this delightful main dish. Serve with a side salad and glass of Italian wine.



For the Lemon-Parmesan Butter

For the Lemon-Parmesan Butter

• 3 cups Arrezzio Imperial shredded Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving • 3 cups Wholesome Farms Imperial unsalted butter, softened • 1 Tbsp. Imperial Fresh lemon zest • ½ tsp. Sysco Classic kosher salt • ½ tsp. Sysco Imperial fresh ground black pepper plus additional for serving

2. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 6 days. Makes about ½ cup.

For serving 1. Prepare a portion of ravioli as label directs; drain. 2. Blanch a portion of peas in boiling water until just tender, about 2 minutes.

For Serving • • • •

1. Stir all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

20 Arrezzio Cheese Ravioli 1⅓ cups shelled Imperial Fresh English peas 4 oz. smoked speck Imperial Fresh watercress for garnish

3. Cook ravioli, peas, and a portion of speck and Lemon-Parmesan Butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until speck is slightly crisp, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. Serve ravioli garnished with watercress, cheese, and pepper.



Meatball Lasagna

INGREDIENTS • 3 cups Arrezzio Classic marinara sauce

• 1 Wholesome Farms Egg Shell Large

• 18 Arrezzio Classic meatballs

• ½ Sysco Classic Kosher Salt

• 3 sheets Arrezzio Imperial pasta lasagna

• ½ Black ground pepper

• 1 ln Arrezzio Classic ricotta cheese

• 3 cups Arrezzio mozzarella cheese (shredded)

• ½ cup Arrezzio Imperial shredded Parmesan • ¼ Imperial Fresh Italian Fresh Parsley cut


Heat sauce and hold for assembly. Slice meatballs into 5-6 slices.


Top with another pasta sheet, then cover with all of the ricotta mixture.


In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg and ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese.


Place another pasta sheet over the ricotta and top with the remaining meatballs and another ½ cup of sauce.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

10. Place another ½ cup mozzarella over the meatballs.


Place 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a half foil pan.


Lay 1 lasagna sheet over the sauce.

11. Cover the top with 1 cup of sauce then sprinkle the remaining shredded mozzarella over the top.


Lay half of the sliced meatballs across the pasta sheet, overlapping if needed to fit. Cover with ½ cup of sauce.


Spread ½ cup mozzarella over the meatballs.

12. Cover with parchment and foil and bake for 45 minutes. 13. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes. If desired, place under broiler for a few minutes to brown.



BBQ Brisket

INGREDIENTS • 24 oz. Beef brisket sliced

• 4 units cornbread

• 6 oz. Sysco Imperial sweet & tangy BBQ sauce

• 4 units Wholesome Farms Classic buttercup individual packets

• 16 oz. Sysco Classic baked beans • 1 cup Sysco Classic coleslaw dressing • 16 oz. Roasted vegetable blend with corn peppers • 4 cups Fresh Imperial green cabbage




Heat brisket, beans and vegetable blend.



Mix 4 cups of Sysco shredded cabbage slaw mix and 1 cup of dressing to make cole slaw.

Pack beans, corn and slaw in deli containers. Pack brisket in foil half pan.


Fried Chicken

INGREDIENTS • 2 lb. Breaded chicken • 1 lb. Redskin mashed potatoes

• 4 units Wholesome Farms Classic buttercup individual packets

• 12 oz. Sysco Classic green beans

• 4 units Sysco Classic buttermilk biscuit

• 10 oz. Sysco Classic chicken gravy

• ½ Sysco Classic salt

• 4 cups Sysco Classic shreded cabbage slaw mix

• ½ Sysco Imperial ground black pepper

• 1 cup Sysco Classic coleslaw dressing


Bake chicken at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or deep fry for 12-15 minutes.


Bake buttermilk biscuits for 7-8 minutes in convection oven at 350 degrees.


Heat and season green beans and mashed potatoes.


Pack chicken in separate half pan with green beans and mashed potatoes.


Mix 4 cups of Sysco shredded cabbage slaw mix and 1 cup of dressing to make cole slaw.



Minimizing Your Menu with Cross-Utilization

To get started, consider your most popular items. Assessing inventory and cost can quickly assist you in determining your family style offerings. We’ve provided a few questions to ask yourself:

Are the items high margin?

Are the items easy to assemble and require low labour?

Are you considering shelf life?

Do the items travel well?

What packaging is appropriate for these items?


Strategize your menu to feature those items with higher profit margins and shorter prep times. Consider implementing an LTO menu or family style menu, featuring appetizers, small bite offerings, and specialty drinks. Review the 4Ps of menu engineering to boost your profitability!

TIP: Ideas to gain margin: • Brown paper bags instead of white • Using a recycled bag and cutlery • Logoed stickers are a trendy and effective way to market your family style meals


Sysco Marketing Services can also help you customize any of the materials in this toolkit. Contact us at 1-800-380-6348 or


Menu Engineering Manage Your Menu Content • Focus on what you do best – provide a consistent, quality product that your customers can count on. • Evaluate and update your menu considering the 4P’s of Menu Engineering:

PROFITABILITY • Review current item costs and make pricing adjustments based on current market conditions. • Identify areas where you can switch out ingredients to enhance profitability without compromising quality.

POPULARITY • Feature your signature items – what are you famous for? • Review past history or competitive analysis for key offerings.

PREPARATION • Select items that require limited preparation and assembly. • Cross-train your kitchen staff for maximum efficiency. • Review and reduce your inventory to minimize stand-alone items and excess stock.

PORTABILITY • Ensure your items package and travel well – maintaining their quality and freshness. • Invest in the proper carryout containers to maintain temperature and presentation to most closely mirror dine-in experience.



Safety and Sanitation is still required While COVID-19 is still a threat, here are some ways you can keep your customers and staff safe: • Have clearly marked walkways to the restroom and throughout the restaurant to allow for social distancing • Provide your staff with PPE supplies • Stock up on Sysco supplies to keep your space clean and staff protected • Use contactless or disposable menus • Require guests to wear their masks while walking around the restaurant

TIP: Always refer to the CDC guidelines and your local Restaurant Association guidelines for current safety procedures and standards.



Host Virtual Celebrations for Your Customers

Restaurants are a place to celebrate and dining out is not just an ordinary occasion. Now more than ever, diners want to experience the good times at the dining table and celebrate special occasions with their loved ones at home. Offer your customers the opportunity to celebrate, even while at home, just as they would at your establishment. This is a great opportunity to show them that you care and miss them at your restaurant.

What To Celebrate? Game Day is more fun with Food – offer favourites like wings, cheese sticks, and hummus for this special, fun time. Mini alcohol mixers are also a fun way to grab customers’ attention. Kid’s Birthdays – offer a free kid’s menu for the birthday girl or boy, make your own pizza kit, cookies, cake or cupcake baking kit. Graduations – many graduates are missing out on a live graduation. A kit to celebrate at home and a video from your staff will make them feel extra special. Anniversaries – dinner for two with wine pairings.

How To Implement Offer special items for celebrations. This can include “Make-Your-Own” Kits for pizza, tacos, sushi, special desserts or ready-made special meals. Don’t forget to include drink and wine pairings so your customers can cheer to the occasion. Offer parents birthday bundles to place orders for their child and friends to celebrate together virtually. Have your staff record a video with your signature “happy birthday” song, just like they would in-person, congratulating graduates or sending well wishes on an anniversary. Include candles and a signed card in birthday orders. Offer live streams of a birthday song once or twice per week for people celebrating to join the fun live. Incorporate your loyalty program. If you have a loyalty program already established, send birthday reminders and coupons to make sure your customers plan an order.



Your staff is your operation’s greatest asset. Learn how to utilize your team and leverage their strengths to best accommodate the changes in your staffing.

Staff Scheduling Options

A way to address a loss of labour is to restructure your team temporarily. Sometimes you can find hidden gems in unlikely places. Take a moment to listen to your available staff and find new ways to use their strengths and skills. Restaurants have repurposed their food-handling certified wait staff into master prep-cooks (crosstraining). A repurposed team can also help with pick up or sanitation procedures. Have staff actively sanitize pick up stations regularly. If you have enough staff and increased demand, you may choose to implement curbside or drive-in options to create additional ways for customers to patronize your restaurant. In doing so, it may allow you to keep critical staff employed and develop a sense of comradery and unity amongst your staff and customers Efficiently prepping can reduce chaos during rush hours. Scheduling your staff four hours to prep a few days a week can significantly reduce overhead costs, allowing to minimize staff, and focus on front-line sales and consumer experience. Tip: Build a schedule based on average traffic for the last 3 to 4 weeks. This will allow you to reorganize your team to work efficiently. Having Effective delegation is a perfect way to avoid confusion or setbacks.


Keeping up with your inventory is no small feat. Are you seeing a trend? Ensure you are stocked based on your demand. Consistency builds trust with your customers. Keep in mind higher margin, low labour products while reviewing sales and inventory.

Tip: Three areas to consider while evaluating inventory are: • Prep time for your Family Meals or Meal Kits • Items that are higher in margin such as chicken breast • Labour saving items like precut fruits and vegetables



Let your customers know that you have expanded your services to offer family style meals by communicating via these marketing essentials. QR Code

11x17 Poster

8.5x11 Menu

Social Media Post

10’x2.5’ Banner



Choose the marketing pieces that help you best communicate your message. 11x17 Sign

11x17 Sign

11x17 Sign

8.5x11 Sign

4x6 Table Card



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@T oppi t s Foods

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DEFINE Define the message you want your audience to receive and keep in mind your goals when crafting it– traffic, awareness, more business.

TARGET Determine the target audience for your message. Use your promotional or commercial email distribution lists. You are required to provide an “unsubscribe mechanism” and identify “yourself” the sender, with name, telephone and address. Many third-party email providers like Constant Contact or MailChimp offer these tools. Note that mass emails with the mentioned tools are not supported by Outlook, Yahoo or Gmail.

DESIGN Craft a simple email message about the new opportunity for your community and diners. Include photos of your products, menu and restaurant new set-up.

SCHEDULE Always check for grammar and spelling before you send the email to target audience. Send at times when your audience is active online.

RESULTS & ENGAGE Email service providers offer tools to review email results, it will allow you continuous improvement and the opportunity to keep engaging with your audience. Monitor your inbox for replies, questions, concerns, and follow up.



Email Subject: Check out our NEW Menu! We are introducing family style options. Preheader: What are you craving today?



This is a great time to put fresh content in front of your customers. The two content pillars that you should consider are calendar and conversational. Calendar Content is defined as event-based and seasonal, built around popular holiday sales, promotions, and launch dates.

Post Copy Example: It's football season and we're offering a buy-one-get-one-free special. Stop by our restaurant and choose from a selection of family style meals, great for the whole family. #YourFavouriteRestaurant #FoodLovers #FoodofTheDay

Tips: • Quick videos are a great way to grab your audience’s attention. Shoot a 6-10 second close-up of your feature menu item. For more information on how to make social media quick videos, click here. • Hashtag examples: #YumYum, #homemade, #sharefood, #mexcianfood



Conversational Content is designed to increase engagement with your customers. Ask for answers or poll your audience to learn more about their preferences. This will increase engagement and keep your brand top of mind.

Post Copy Example: We love our customers and we want to hear from you. What's your favourite meal for the family? Enchiladas or Garlic Baked Chicken? #CustomerPoll

Tips: • Shoot vertical pictures and videos for a full screen mobile experience. For more information, click here. • Use Relevant Hashtags: #YourFavouriteRestaurant #FoodLovers #FoodofTheDay #BestFoodEver • You can use hashtag generators engines to find more relevant hashtags. The more hashtags you use the more chances for exposure and higher reach



Let your customers know that you are following recommend safety guidelines by communicating via these marketing essentials.

11x17 Posters

Floor Decals



0.5 OZ. Beef Meatballs SYSCO ORDER# 5036431

v Easy to Prepare - Just Heat and Serve v Versatile Product for Appetizers, Main Dishes, Pizzas and Kids Menus

v Made With Freshly Ground Beef, Quality Aged Cheese and Fragrant Italian Spices

v Oven Baked, Fully Cooked and Individually Quick Frozen

v Each Meatball is Consistent in Size, Shape, and Flavor

The Sysco Advantage program is designed to make you more efficient, increase your profitability and make it easier for you to manage your operations. The intent is to help drive business in all areas of house with our holistic collection of offerings, encompassing our specialized services, restaurant technology, tools, partnerships, and personalized consultation. We have partnered with best-in-class companies to make sure our customers have the right tools to optimize their business and increase traffic.

Visit to see a full list of our partners.



Need help with Family Style Meals? Contact your Sales Consultant or Sysco Marketing Services at 1-800-380-6348 or



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