Happy Thanksgiving! People across America will eat 51,650,000 turkeys today. But it’s more than fowl weather; poultry has surged in popularity over the last few years, and restaurants are flocking to follow the trend. As turkey & chicken continue to be some of your guests’ favorite proteins, it’s time for you feather your nest with the dishes they’re craving. Here are some creative ways for restaurant operators to follow that bird.

 

More than a Trend

As long ago as 2014, guests were going cuckoo for chicken dishes. That year, one HuffPo reporter wrote that “for the first time in over a century, Americans [were] eating more chicken than beef.” And America’s per capita consumption of poultry has only gone up since then – from 99.6 pounds in 2014 to 107.6 pounds in 2016, and an estimated 108.1 pounds this year. This is more than a flash in the pan. Americans love poke now, but we can’t know whether it will remain as popular in 2020; chicken is a much safer investment.

This is a great time to invest in the equipment you need to prepare poultry in the tastiest possible way. Whether you’ve got your eye on a deep fryer or a set of butcher knives, you can safely assume that the tools you need to prepare this protein will stay in style for many years to come.

 

Fast Food Takes Flight

Quick service restaurants are seeing unprecedented success with fried chicken. From Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chalupa McDonald’s Chicken McGriddle, the nation’s big chains are all experimenting with poultry. Raising Canes’ flyaway success is also noteworthy. As the fastest-growing restaurant in America, this not-so-little chain bases its menu on – you guessed it – chicken.

Don’t be daunted by the success of these major players – be inspired. To succeed in today’s fast-growing marketplace, your business needs more than fowl weather friends. Consider how chicken and turkey could fit with your brand identity. Whether you’re offering turkey bacon at breakfast, mixing up chicken salad for lunch, or grilling poultry for dinner, you’re bound to find an alternative that suits your menu.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to offer chicken and turkey at your restaurant: these options are reliably less expensive than red meat. Keep track of how much you spend on each menu item, and how much you make every time a guest orders that dish. As your guests get more excited about poultry, you’ll start to just see how much this ingredient can boost your bottom line.