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Portillo's

Food

Demand soars for Chicago’s Italian beef sandwich, thanks to ‘The Bear’

Google searches for Italian beef have nearly doubled since the Hulu series started streaming this summer and sales are booming at spots selling the iconic sandwich, both in its hometown and other cities.

Financing

Meat costs continue to plague Portillo's

The Italian beef chain faced "unprecedented" inflation for the second straight quarter. Traffic also fell nearly 6%.

Starting Tuesday, the Field Roast Signature Stadium Dog will be available at all 71 locations of the Chicago-based chain. It’s the first plant-based protein at Portillo’s in its nearly 60-year history.

The 71-unit Italian beef chain is working to find more operational efficiencies as “unprecedented” inflation continues to hit its bottom line.

The fast-casual Italian beef chain, which went public in October, said it looks to take traffic while other brands are taking price. But that doesn’t mean it’s not raising prices at all.

The fast-casual Italian beef and hot dog chain’s CEO said the newest prototype just might be “something very, very special.”

A Deeper Dive: Michael Osanloo, CEO of the hot dog and Italian beef chain, joins the podcast to discuss labor, the chain’s drive-thru-only plans and keeping the focus on the long term.

The first Portillo’s Pick Up location, with a triple drive-thru, is slated to open Feb. 1 in Joliet, at a time in which the newly public fast casual is looking for ways to trim its labor usage and its geographic footprint.

Known for its big, bustling on-premise seating, the newly public Italian beef brand said changing consumer demand is forcing it to consider new store designs.

The fast-casual chain’s margins dropped more than four percentage points over last year due to higher labor and commodity costs. But the company said its new restaurants are far exceeding expectations.

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