Rare, medium, or well done? Consumers may still be hesitant about stepping foot in steakhouses and other restaurants these days, but restaurant beef trends continue to surge and consumers are still consuming a whole lot of beef off-premise.
Restaurant beef trends have changed over the last year – especially during the pandemic when a beef shortage was a challenge for restaurants. Consumer attitudes and behaviors have shifted, influencing beef consumption. To drive beef sales, operators need to adapt strategies that align with new consumer health perceptions, flavor preferences and daypart usage.
There are three main different grades of beef. Prime (the highest grade), Choice and Select (the lowest grade). Select grade beef cuts have more dense meat. They are tough, less juicy, and less flavorful. Choice cuts of beef are the middleman – the cut you will find most at meat markets. Cuts such as filets and rib steaks are the best beef for Choice grade beef. Prime is the best quality of beef. It’s tender and juicy with rich beefy flavor. High end restaurants and steak houses tend to use more Prime grade beef in their dishes.
Did you know that the most expensive beef is Wagyu or Kobe Beef? The less stressed an animal is, the better quality of meat the animal will produce. Some Kobe cows get massages. There are even some cuts of Kobe (usually in Japan) that could go for as much as $200 per pound. Whoa! The least expensive cut of beef is the chuck (the shoulder).
Do Beef Prices Change with Different Seasons?
The majority of beef prices are driven by availability. High demand times such as grilling season or the holidays is when you will notice the price of beef change.
You’re probably asking, “but when is the best time of year that operators should purchase beef”? You may not know this, but late Fall/early Winter is considered the best. This is when cattle are less stressed and more comfortable. The grass feed is usually better quality due to the ice being melted and absorbed into the ground, which provides nutrients for the grass feed. Basically, making the grass feed taste better for the cattle.
No Longer the Star of the Show
Smaller portions of beef are being offered on menus and less and less chefs are serving large slabs of beef as a main entrée. Nowadays, its less rib eyes and tenderloins and more braised short ribs and comfort foods.
Beef is now more of an ingredient in a dish rather than the star of the show. Restaurants are moving away from high end cuts, such as fillets and tenders, and getting creative with lower end cuts like shank, ribs, and skirt steaks.
Even though there is a huge non-meat movement occurring in the foodservice space, more and more chefs are finding ways to elevate their dishes for the everyday beef lover. Chefs are looking for cuts of beef that they can work their magic with and make into innovative meals. Trends such as Korean BBQ and Korean Fusion are booming! A lot of times you will see Korean Bowls on the menu. This is where your menu can include meals for that sweet and spicy savory profile. Chefs use high graded beef cuts marinated in a Korean marination with pickled vegetables. It’s very good stuff.
When you become a Dining Alliance member, you get access to superior quality beef products for your everyday center of the plate needs, price equation monitored and audited by Dining Alliance experts, access to certified distributors, quality control and traceability, and fixed mark-up structure. Contact us today and start saving!