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Useful tips

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Think versatility

Beef is a cornerstone of the American menu that’s always in demand. And today’s beef gives you more ways to meet that demand than ever.

  • Beef is a great fit for the latest menu trends and most popular cuisines, from Latin, Mediterranean and Asian to regional American. It adds steak satisfaction, perceived value and selling power like no other protein can.
  • Look at items on your menu currently made with other proteins—like Chicken Caesar— and consider offering a steak upgrade, which can command a higher menu price without significantly increasing food or labor costs.
  • If you serve patrons with varying budgets, be sure to menu beef items at a range of prices, so you’re offering something for everyone.

Stretch your beef Euro

There’s a simple secret to delivering steak sizzle at any price point. Think beyond the center of the plate. A little beef adds big impact anywhere on the menu. A few slices of juicy grilled steak—including economical “extras” like tenderloin tips—can be the star ingredient in a profitable pasta or salad. And a few ounces of steak are all it takes to create a deluxe sandwich, 
small plate or starter. The bottom line: nothing adds instant “crave-appeal” like beef.

  • Use rubs and marinades to create big-ticket signature steak presentations at pennies per portion.
  • Slice and fan steak, then drizzle with olive oil or an on-trend sauce or salsa; or garnish with greens, herbs or vegetable “confetti.” You’ll get great plate plate coverage and enhanced appetite appeal.
  • Make the most of economical cuts like Short Ribs, Top Round and Brisket to create braised, stewed and slow-cooked comfort food classics.

 

Tap into new cuts for new profits

Industry research has identified several tender and flavorful cuts from the Beef Chuck and Round that cook and eat like cuts from the Rib and Loin. Ask your purveyor about these outstanding options:

PETITE TENDER: Upscale presentation, like Tenderloin; serve as small roast or medallions.

FLAT IRON STEAK: Flavorful, juicy, well-marbled; serve just like a Strip or Ribeye Steak; great for sandwiches and salads.

RANCH STEAK: Similar flavor and texture to Top Sirloin; great for breakfast, lunch or dinner in combo plates, steak salads, sandwiches and more.

DENVER STEAK: A juicy, well-marbled cost-effective alternative to Strip Steak; serve as a steak, or slice for stir-fries, fajitas and skewers.

DELMONICO STEAK: Flavor and texture similar to Ribeye Steak; serve as a steak or tie and present tournedos-style.

BONELESS COUNTRY-STYLE BEEF RIBS: The rich flavor of beef short ribs with the convenience of boneless beef; ideal in starters, small plates, sandwiches and entrees.

Give beef lovers “nutritionpermission”

Even though beef has a great nutrition story to tell, some diners still need a little permission to order it. In fact, 2 in 3 consumers say that when ordering a meal in a restaurant, it’s extremely or very important that they feel good about eating the dish and it’s (almost) equally important that it have an ideal balance
of good taste and nutrition.

The good news: there are 29 cuts of beef that meet government labeling guidelines for lean and among them are some of the most popular foodservice cuts. Feature them on your menu, and you can give your guests all the reassurance they need. Use these cuts to create lighter options, such as salads, small plates and petite steaks.

Fight off chicken boredom. Did you know that each of the 29 lean beef cuts have a total fat content that falls between a skinless chicken breast and a skinless chicken thigh when comparing cooked 3-ounce servings? Pair beef with other healthful foods, such as vegetables, whole grains and even fruit to help patrons see beef as part of a balanced, nutritious way of eating.

Know the score about beef grading and aging

The price of a beef cut varies according to quality grade (i.e., USDA Prime, Choice, Select) and yield grade. Be sure you are comparing the same quality and yield grade
when pricing beef cuts.

A cut’s quality grade is based on marbling, the visible flecks of fat within muscles that affect the flavor and juiciness of cooked beef. Prime, the highest grade, is the most marbled. Beef that has less marbling and less trimmable fat (such as Select grade) should be cooked for shorter periods of time or prepared at lower cooking temperatures than more marbled grades (such as Choice or Prime).

Aging allows the natural enzymes in beef to break down specific proteins in muscle fibers. As this occurs, the meat is tenderized naturally and its flavor is improved. There are two commercial methods for aging beef: wet and dry. Wet aging is far more common and occurs in vacuum bags under refrigerated temperatures of 32oF to 34oF. Dry aging is not as common because it is a more complex method and results in yield losses due to dehydration. It is used primarily by upscale and specialty beef purveyors. Dry-aged beef produces distinct flavors and aromas perceived as too intense by some consumers, yet highly desirable by others.

Serve small plates for big profits

Tap into the appeal of beef with today’s popular, globally-inspired small plates, tapas, bar-food and starters, and you’ll add major profit potential to your menu mix.

Think small: That steak you’re serving center of- the-plate at $20 can be cut into thirds and turned into three sizzling small-plate presentations, priced at $8 to $10 each.

Take beef’s flavor over the top

To bring out the best in beef, it helps to know the best ingredients to pair it with. Research shows that many of the most popular ingredients in beef dishes contain naturally occurring, flavor-enhancing umami (oo-MAH-mee) compounds—just as beef does. A 50-50 mixture of two umami compounds can produce eight times as much flavor as either one of the compounds alone. The top 20 ingredients that enhance the flavor of beef:

Onion • Garlic • Tomato* • Oregano • Beef Broth/Stock/Bouillon • Wine (mainly red) • Bay Leaves • Cheese (mainly Parmesan, Cheddar, Blue) • Sugar • Cream • Bell Pepper • Flavored Vinegar • Thyme • Parsley • Cayenne • Mushroom • Soy Sauce • Cumin • Mustard • Ginger

Sell the sizzle

Try these simple, yet powerful merchandising ideas.

  • When naming beef dishes, call out intriguing ingredients, e.g., “The Black Truffle Filet,” or “Honey-Pomegranate BBQ Beef Ribs” Test different names for the same dish to see what sells best.
  • Run limited-time offers and specials such as steak “flights”—samplers that let patrons try various steaks and sauces.
  • Invest in professional food photography to add mouthwatering appeal to menus, menu boards and table tents.

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