Get More Bang for Your Buck with Beef

Brought to you by The Beef Checkoff Program

It’s a good time to know a thing or two about saving money — and giving customers more of what they want.

Take value cuts of beef. With commodity prices rising and many consumers still uncertain about the economy, being able to save money on beef purchases and sell signature beef-based menu items at an affordable price point can be a tremendous advantage for any operator.

It’s easy when you tap into new cuts for new profits. Several cuts from the Beef Chuck and Round offer the rich flavor and tender texture that patrons are looking for, while bringing value and profitability to the bottom line, including:

These value cuts can be menued instead of — or in addition to — more familiar premium cuts such as Tenderloin and Strip Steaks, which have a higher purchase cost for operators. Restaurants can further extend these value cuts to other menu items since they lend themselves to stir-fries, braises and other comforting menu items.
In fact, the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot in 2011 survey of chefs nationwide turned up “newly fabricated cuts of meat” as a top center-of-the-plate trend.
Many steak specialists are heeding the call. At Chicago Cut Steakhouse, the lineup of steaks on the dinner menu includes a Delmonico priced at several dollars below the Porterhouse, Bone-in Ribeye and Filet Mignon bell-ringers on the menu, as well as a specialty burger that’s available throughout the day.
Among the many steaks at Parker’s on Ponce in Decatur, Ga., is a $22 Blackened Grilled Flat Iron Steak over pancetta mac & cheese, zucchini frites and marinated tomato with a balsamic glaze which at $22 compares very favorably in price to specialties like the Kansas City strip.
And Ringo, offering “world flavors, local comfort” (including Steaks from Around the World off the signature charcoal grill), offers an optional add-on to any salad of a Beef Petite Tender for an additional $7.
These cuts are also a boon for mid-price and casual restaurants that want to add beef to the menu. Kennedy’s, in Breezy Point, N.Y., is able to offer Steak & Eggs on its two-course, $17.95 brunch menu (which also includes a cocktail), by utilizing a Denver steak. Angus Flat Iron steak tops the warm wasabi house noodles at The House, in San Francisco. And the Denver Steak at Six Paupers Tavern & Restaurant, in Hockessin, Del., is grilled with Montreal Seasoning and A-1 butter and served with confetti corn and bacon leek au gratin, creating a signature beef entrée that’s competitively priced at $22.95.
Here are some additional tips for menuing and selling beef:

  • Use beef in items that can support smaller portion sizes, including appetizers, small plates, salads and sandwiches.
  • Offer a steak special on a slower night of the week — on Wednesday nights, Mitchum’s Steakhouse in Trappe, Md., touts Flat Iron steak frites for $17.
  • Offer steaks in a variety of sizes, including more portion-conscious 5- and 6-oz. versions.