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Add more beef to the menu to boost check averages

Photograph: Shutterstock

Americans love to eat beef—according to Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Beef and Pork Consumer Trend Report, 69% of consumers eat beef at home or at a foodservice location at least once a week. What’s more, nearly one in five consumers say they are eating more beef now than they were two years ago, and one of the top reasons why they’re eating more is because restaurants are now offering more beef dishes they like.

For operators, this increase in diners’ ordering and consuming beef offers great potential; beef dishes can be sold at a higher margin than other proteins, such as chicken, and beef can also be added to menu items such as sides for an upcharge—think adding brisket to a side of baked beans, for instance.

Updating the menu to cater to consumers’ preferences for beef can feel overwhelming, though—what should operators add? How many more dishes should contain beef, and which cuts are the most lucrative for business? What do consumers want more of?

A one-stop shop for beef info

Luckily, there’s help out there. Market research and data surrounding consumer preferences can certainly help, but operators can also consider using apps, such as BEEFoodservice. BEEFoodservice, funded by beef farmers and ranchers, is designed to give operators an in-depth view of what questions consumers might have about beef, plus recipe inspiration, general information about different cuts of beef, quality grades and how to tell when certain cuts are done to a certain temperature, information about beef aging, nutrition information and more.

The app also offers helpful information about beef sustainability, which is one of consumers’ biggest concerns when ordering beef—according to Technomic’s Beef and Pork report, nearly half of consumers (48%) say it’s important to them that the environment is not negatively impacted because of the way beef cattle are raised, and 50% say it’s important to them that the beef they eat comes from animals that were treated humanely. By having information about sustainability and animal welfare at the tips of their fingers, operators can update their menus to include verbiage about their beef sourcing and more.

Updating the menu

According to Technomic’s Beef and Pork report, 42% of consumers say they would like restaurants to offer beef entrées with new or unique flavors, and 36% say they would like restaurants to offer more globally inspired beef dishes, such as beef teriyaki, beef burritos and more.

The BEEFoodservice app’s Foodservice Inspiration feature offers operators helpful information about topics such as which wines pair best with beef, how to incorporate beef on the breakfast menu, what global flavors play best with beef and more.

Operators can also draw inspiration from trending ingredients and flavors, as well as trending formats (loaded French fries or street tacos, anyone?) when adding new dishes to their menu.

Catering to consumers’ ever-changing preferences can be tough, but with professional help, such as the BEEFoodservice app, operators can feel confident and prepared. To learn more, visit www.calbeef.org/retail-foodservice/beefoodservice-mobile-app

This post is sponsored by California Beef Council

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