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Trending Steakhouse Favourites

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Look to the steakhouse category for profitable menu ideas

According to Technomic, steakhouses are one of the fastest growing segments in foodservice.1 What’s fueling their growth, and how can you key into that trend? While institutions like Moishes in Montreal and Barberian’s in Toronto still draw in diners with their old-school, clubby charm, modern steakhouses are attracting younger diners with creative menus and updated decor. There’s a lot to glean from this trend’s success, whether you run a steakhouse, pub, tavern, grill—or simply a restaurant that serves a steak option and you want to up your game.

A smart menu strategy is to mine profitable ideas from the successful modern steakhouse. Datassential points out hallmark items that set this kind of menu apart, including sustainably sourced meat, innovative interpretations of classic steakhouse dishes, like re-imagined Caesar salads, and more affordable meat cuts, like flat iron and skirt steak.

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THE STEAK EFFECT

67%

Canadians love steak—it appears on 67% of menus nationwide.2 A quick study of consumer insights illustrates how steak can help drive sales.

STEAK BOOSTS SALES

Steak can stimulate sales of other higher-margin items on the menu. Based on a foodservice study conducted in the U.S., a guest who orders steak is more likely to also order3

CASUAL DINING

FINE DINING

  • side dish

    93%

    91%
  • side salad

    37%

    41%
  • alcoholic beverage

    27%

    64%
  • dessert

    11%

    31%

STEAK DRIVES REPEAT BUSINESS3

48%

of consumers who order steak in a fine dining/upscale hotel establishment say they intend to revisit that restaurant

46%

of consumers who order steak in a casual dining restaurant plan to visit again

The average entrée price at Canadian steakhouses is $37.74. Fine dining restaurants charge around $8.25 more than casual dining restaurants.3

CAPITALIZE ON THE POWER OF STEAK

In an effort to stand out and be profitable, modern steakhouses are featuring steak in more cost-effective dishes.

You can successfully move steak from centre of the plate to bar bites, shareables, salads and sandwiches. Steak brings a premium feel to those categories and delivers the eating experience steak lovers look for.

Barry Miles, senior corporate chef, Kraft Foodservice

THE PROFIT IS ON THE SIDE

Side dishes play a crucial role in both profitability and innovation. “A sides menu is the difference between staying in business and going belly-up. Sides are where the profit lies,” says Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC, founder and former dean of the culinary arts program at Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, N.Y., and principal at Harvest America Ventures, a restaurant consultancy. But modern diners want more than a baked potato. Offer delicious, memorable sides that steal the show.

SIDE DISHES

Make your mashed potatoes stand out with quick add-ins of cauliflower and Kraft Calorie-Wise Rancher’s Choice Dressing.

MONEY MATTERS

You can run a higher food cost percentage on steak and still end up with more gross profit to play with. A steak at a 50% cost allows more money after cost of goods than a boneless chicken breast that might be priced at a 32% cost.

Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC, founder and former dean of the culinary arts program at Paul Smith's College in Paul Smiths, N.Y.

4 Ways to Watch Your Margins

  • INVENTORY all steaks every day and balance against your POS sales abstracts to make sure none are walking out the door.
  • CUT YOUR OWN, if you can—scraps and less-desirable portions have built-in menu opportunities. And if you do cut your own steaks, always use a portion scale.
  • REMEMBER that temperature and moisture environments are critical for extending the life of beef. Since most restaurants can’t afford a dedicated cooler with ultraviolet lights to ward off certain bacteria or a temperature- and humidity-controlled dry age room, your steaks have a shelf life of three, maybe four days tops.
  • BIGGER isn’t always better. Although a 16-oz. strip steak sounds impressive, most people do not need that much protein and couldn’t afford to pay what you would need to charge. A 6- to 8-oz. steak is plenty—and easier to sell.

3 TAKES ON THE CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD

A steakhouse staple, Caesar is preferred by a staggering 71% of Canadian consumers.4 Modernize this standby and make it your signature.

  1. Technomic Canadian Consumer Insights 2015
  2. Technomic Canadian Menu Monitor, Q1 2015
  3. The NPD Group/CREST® year ending September 2014; study conducted in the U.S. foodservice market
  4. The Canadian Left Side of the Menu: Soup and Salad Consumer Trend Report, Technomic 2014
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