Meat plays many roles (on many rolls!)  in modern dining. According to the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot 2017 Culinary Forecast, the #1 trend this year is new cuts of meat. You’re bound to host some vegetarians and vegans, and it’s important to have options for everyone – but in this blog post, it’s time to meet the meat your diners crave! These 3 trendy tips will empower you to offer more to your loyal carnivores.

 

1. Lean, Clean, Green Machine

Did you know that 45% of consumers agree that beef is healthy? In our culture of low-carb, gluten-free, paleo cuisine, nearly half of your guests are excited about protein-rich meals. And they’re not just looking for classic, “bigger is better” portions: 78% of consumers say beef or pork described as ‘lean’ is healthier, and 42% say it is tastier.

What’s more, restaurants that serve “clean” food – that is, food without additives, artificial ingredients, etc. – have never been more popular. Make sure your servers are well-informed about which dishes include additives, and get ready to make substitutions if necessary. Serving a bunless burger not only makes your low-carb guests feel welcome, it also reduces food waste. Improve your the flow of your inventory, and shrink your carbon footprint by allowing your guests to order only the foods they actually plan to eat.

 

2. Stay on the Grass!

The demand for grass-fed beef has grown at an annual rate of 25-30% for the past decade. According to an article from Forbes, a “recent study determined that grass-fed beef demand in several major US metropolitan markets is 3-6% of the total beef market share.” As this trend grows, it will become increasingly important for your restaurant to serve meat that fits the bill.

As you build relationships with vendors, experiment with different ways to advertise special ingredients on your menu. Do your guests respond better to the phrase “100% grass-fed steak” somewhere in an item’s description, or a note telling them that you “partner with local farmers”?

 

3. Spice Things Up

47% of consumers are highly likely to order beef dishes with spicy flavors at least occasionally, according to Technomic. And when you consider that 57% of consumers eat a burger once a week, it becomes clear that many of your guests will be seeking out unique flavor combinations on a regular basis. As diners increasingly warm up to ethnic flavors, there’s room to reinvent beef in recipes beyond burgers and steaks.

Meat is back in a big way, and this presents a meaty opportunity for restaurants to adapt to today’s dining trends. Beef is the quintessential American protein, and with the help of new cuts and flavors, it has once again regained its place on our plates.