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How to Make a Profit with Poutine

You may have noticed poutine showing up on a lot of American bar and restaurant menus recently. This tasty treat is a Canadian comfort food that is finally making its way down to us. But what exactly is it? And why would you want to include it on your menu? To learn about this salty, savory snack food, keep reading and find out how you can make a profit with poutine.

What is Poutine?

Poutine is a dish made with french fries covered in fresh cheddar cheese curds and gravy. This junk food can be eaten on its own or as an appetizer, much like regular cheese fries in many places in the U.S.

The meaning of the word “poutine” isn’t quite certain. Many believe it comes from the English and French word pudding. However, it’s also said that poutine used to just be a slang term for “mess” in Quebec, which is how people thought the dish looked when it first started showing up.

History of Poutine

Like the origin of the word "poutine," the history of this dish is unclear. There are several different poutine origin stories, but they all lead back to 1957 in rural Quebec. What is known is that the first poutine consisted of only french fries and cheese curds, with the gravy being added a few years later in 1964.

One of the first instances of this dish in the U.S. dates back to the late 1970s, when “disco fries” were popular in New York and New Jersey. People would enjoy them as a late-night snack after partying, hence the “disco” part of their name. The main distinction between poutine and disco fries is that the American dish uses shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese, while poutine is served with cheese curds.

Why is Poutine Popular?

People all over the United States love to order this savory snack food. However, business owners also love to have it on their menus because of how inexpensive it is to make. The basic recipe only calls for three ingredients: french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. You also don’t need any kitchen equipment beyond a standard french fry cutter and commercial deep fryer, which you probably already have.

Cost Breakdown of Poutine

To figure out exactly how profitable it is to put poutine on your menu, we decided to make our own! Then, we tallied up the cost of the ingredients we used and compared it to the prices we found on menus.

Profit Margin

When broken down, the cost of the ingredients needed to make one plate of poutine is about $1.50. When we looked at the prices on American menus, a plate of poutine can cost up to $14, but most are around $8 per serving. That gives you a huge profit margin, even if you do use ingredients in addition to the three traditional ones (such as aioli, meat, or mushrooms).

  • Sold on Menu - $8
  • Food Cost per Serving - $1.50
  • Profit Margin per Serving - $6.50
  • Poutine Recipe

    We chose to make a traditional poutine recipe for our experiment. It consisted of only three ingredients: fresh cut french fries, cheese curds, and homemade gravy. Many restaurants may offer other ingredients on their dishes, which may raise the cost of making them, but we decided to stick to the basics. Check out our video to see our poutine recipe!


    • 1-2 large Idaho potatoes
    • 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 1/2 clove minced garlic
    • 1/2 tbsp. minced onion
    • 1/2 cup beef stock
    • 1 tbsp. ketchup
    • 1/2 tbsp. cider vinegar
    • 1/2 tbsp. peppercorns
    • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 1/2 tbsp. flour
    • 1 cup chedder cheese curds
    • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste


    1. Thoroughly scrub the potatoes and cut into sticks about ½” thick using a french fry cutter.
    2. Place the potatoes in cold water for about an hour. Drain and dry them well before frying.
    3. In a saucepan over medium heat, add oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes.
    4. Add the ketchup, vinegar, peppercorns, Worcestershire sauce, and beef stock to the saucepan.
    5. Stir the ingredients and bring to a boil.
    6. In another saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour to make a roux.
    7. Stir the roux for about 3 minutes or until it’s light brown in color.
    8. Whisk in the stock mixture.
    9. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until reduced by half.
    10. Strain the sauce through a china cap strainer.
    11. Season the liquid with salt and pepper.
    12. Fry the dry potato strips until golden.
    13. Top the fries with the cheese curds and gravy.

    Poutine is a delicious comfort food that's been popular in Canada for years and is finally making its way down to the U.S. There are many different ways to modify it, but even with extra ingredients added, this dish has a large profit margin. So, if you're looking for a new recipe that's as profitable as it is easy to make, consider poutine as a cost-effective, delicious addition to your bar or restaurant menu.

    Posted in: Trends | By Alyssa Burns
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