Native Grill & Wings to Launch New Menu Items

Native Grill & Wings to Launch New Menu Items

INDUSTRY HEADLINES // AUGUST 30, 2016 | FSR Magazine

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Native Grill & Wings, an award-winning Arizona-based restaurant chain known for its 20-plus wing flavors that guests can order by the individual wing, is launching a new menu on Wednesday.

Native Grill & Wings will be including new handhelds along with revised recipes for existing menu items. Native will also be introducing the winning sandwich and drink from its internal system-wide employee competition Final Cut: Native, available for a limited time. The following new items will be added all Native Grill & Wings locations nationwide:

Southwest Chicken Stack Sandwich (Limited Time): Created by Native employee Robert Wisneski, a spicy chicken sandwich with Native’s Ancho Chili Lime seasoning and Honey Chipotle Sauce. Final Cut: Native winner.

Arizona Burger: Burger piled high with jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, avocado, and Native’s Honey Chipotle wing sauce.

Hangover Burger: Burger with Applewood smoked bacon, hash browns, avocado, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, and topped with a fried egg.

Chicken Fried Chicken Sliders: Three crispy chicken sliders paired with lettuce, pickles, and mayonnaise.

Chicken Parm: Battered chicken smothered in mozzarella, parmesan, marinara sauce, and fresh basil on a hoagie.

Five Cheese Grill: Adult grilled cheese chock full of cheddar, Havarti, mozzarella, Swiss, fresh tomato and basil, Applewood smoked bacon, and Native’s Salt & Pepper Dry Rub on parmesan-encrusted sourdough bread.

Other new flavors include the Chicken N’ Waffles Dry Rub for chicken wings, and the Sunrise Pizza—a pizza topped with cheddar jack cheese, Native’s Medium wing sauce, green peppers, onions, ham, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and a fried egg. Native will also be including Final Cut: Native’s drink category winner Angela Carleno’s The American for a limited time, and the Morning Cup—a cold brew coffee infused with Captain Morgan and White Crème de Cacao.

Native is also revising some of their existing recipes by incorporating red wine-sautéed cremini mushrooms paired with caramelized onions on the Mushroom Burger and Philly Steak sandwich.

“We truly want our flavors to speak for the thoughtfulness that Native puts into the food,” says Native Grill & Wings CEO Dan Chaon. “We even revised existing recipes to enhance the flavors such as sautéing the mushrooms in red wine to captivate the essence of the Mushroom Burger, and incorporate thinner-cut French fries to provide a crispier texture.”

Employee Contest Springs An LTO

Innovations: Employee Contest Springs An LTO 

by Patricia Cobe, Senior Editor | Restaurant Business Magazine

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To revamp its menu, Native Grill & Wings took to social media for guest input. Appetizers, salads and, of course, wings already were robust categories at the casual-dining chain. What the crowdsourcing revealed was demand for more sandwiches and burgers. To jumpstart the R&D process, Native Grill tapped another crowd—staff at the chain’s 29 units— to launch ‘Final Cut: Native,’ a competition to shape its first sandwich LTO in a few years.

1. Local intelligence

“We thought that the employees would have fresh ideas about using our signature ingredients,” says Kelly Fulcher, marketing coordinator for Native Grill. “They know what guests like because of their daily interactions with them.” The six finalists—including the winning chicken sandwich created by Robert Wisnecki, a fry cook from the chain’s Missoula, Mont., location—tapped into menu trends from Native’s four operating areas.

2. Raiding the pantry

The charge: Create a sandwich using just the ingredients and products already in Native Grill’s inventory. Wisnecki was inspired to build the winning chicken sandwich with Jack cheese, ancho-lime seasoning, Anaheim chilies and a signature honey-chipotle sauce he found in the restaurant’s pantry and walk-in. “That rule didn’t limit my creativity; it challenged it,” Wisnecki says.

3. Judges with benefits

Wisnecki and the other finalists were invited to headquarters for a cookoff, where a panel of local food bloggers did the judging. “We decided on blogger judges to help build buzz,” says Fulcher. “We encouraged them to post live on social media as they tasted each entry.” Later, the bloggers followed up with more posts after Wisnecki’s Southwest Chicken Stack Sandwich was declared the crowd favorite and winner.

What’s next

The chicken sandwich is an LTO featured on Native Grill’s August menu insert. The brand is marketing the item throughout the month on its social media sites and is reminding the blogger judges to do the same on their feeds. Native Grill & Wings plans to run more employee contests to hatch menu ideas, says Fulcher. “We are increasingly taking regional tastes into consideration as the chain expands into more states,” she says.

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