American Dining Creations (ADC) is looking forward to fall and the return of hungry students to the campuses where it operates dining services. It plans to meet them with several newly developed branded concepts that play off of hot current food trends among young adults, such as waffles, fried chicken and grilled cheese sandwiches, but presented with plenty of creativity.
Among the new concepts is Melt Inc., a multifaceted, cutting-edge grilled cheese concept that combines the popularity of classic grilled cheese with the unending variety of fresh, local breads and ingredients available to the company.
“This concept will act as a standalone brand on some of our campuses as well as a pop-up on the rest of our campuses nationwide,” explains Nick Salvagni, higher education marketing director for ADC. “What makes it extraordinary are signature melts like The Wafflewich, [which combines] two freshly pressed waffles stuffed with crisp fried chicken, smoky bacon, sharp local cheddar and fresh lettuce topped with a peppered bacon, maple ranch [dressing].”
Also new for the fall is Willette Waffle (a play on words pronounced “Will-It-Waffle?), which uses a version of an authentic Belgian Liege waffle dough developed by ADC Executive Pastry Chef Rick Leonardo filled with a variety of delicious, wild and unexpected ingredients and topped with a deliciously paired housemade sauce to produce handheld entrees suitable for other dayparts than just breakfast.
“Anyone can pour batter from a bag and those waffles are ‘fine,’” quips Salvagni about the concept. “However, when you have so many talented chefs with bakery/pastry backgrounds as we do, why not go bigger/better?”
Examples of items menued at Willette Waffle include the BC-Dub, a Buffalo chicken and blue cheese waffle served with housemade hot sauce, and the Oreo Ole Molé, which is an Oreo, poblano and cheddar cheese infused waffle topped with an Oreo cookie molé.
A third concept planned for fall rollout is Farm 2 Fryer, which is “fried chicken done exceptionally well with a variety of traditional and extraordinary sides,” Salvagni says. “Fried chicken is an extremely hot trend right now and executed properly, we believe it can be a flagship brand that will rival any popular dining concept.”
The key to making it successful, he adds, “is keeping consistent, authentic and delicious while combining it with our signature sauces and toppings. While the menu will be simple, it will be anything but ordinary.”
Three sandwiches are planned for each day’s lunch menu at Farm 2 Fryer, including two signature sandwiches: the Classic is a buttermilk brined piece of golden fried chicken topped with lettuce, tomato and housemade dill pickle slices and a choice of housemade dipping sauces, while the Nashville Hot takes the same freshly brined, breaded and fried crispy chicken and dredges it in housemade Nashville hot sauce before topping it with housemade dill pickles. They are all served with hand-cut fries and a daily slaw or salad.
For dinner, the location will offer two- and three-piece meals with traditional sides and a bevy of dipping sauces.
Along with these new concepts, ADC has revamped its entire pizza program, complete with a local dough company providing a much more traditional Neapolitan-style pizza dough, super premium mozzarella cheese and a variety of new and unique topping combinations such as an eggs Benedict pizza served at breakfast.
ADC operates primarily in the college and corporate dining segments. Last year it posted revenues of $161 million, placing it 22nd on FM’s 2018 Top 50 Contract Management Companies listing.