Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAY 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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124 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MAY 2017 WHAT'S AT STEAK e&s segment spotlight T he traditional American steakhouse has undergone an update. Although preparation remains impor- tant, many operators now focus on beef sourcing and its origin. That includes paying more attention to cattle raising, feed and beef aging, which helps set restau- rants apart. Chicago-based CHD Expert, a foodservice market research firm, tracked annual sales of close to 10,000 family steak/chophouses plus steak and seafood restaurants. Its data shows this segment continues to do big business. More than 3,258 of these restaurants report annual sales between $1 million and $2.5 million. And 3,074 report annual sales between $500,000 and $1 million. The average check for 2,291 steakhouses was between $15 and $20 per person. A growing number of steakhouses now feature the popular Wagyu beef, most often sourced from Japan. A ccording to the American Wagyu Association, this pricey meat has a higher mono-unsaturated to saturated fat ratio, with 40 percent of saturated fat in stearic acid. This fat is thought to play a minimal role in raising cholesterol levels, which leads experts to say that the profile of marbled Wagyu beef is healthier. It also has about 30 percent more conju- gated linoleic acid, or CLA, per gram, thought to impart a healthier nutrition profile. "Wagyu beef is coming onto more menus," says Scott Gilkey, principal at the Sammamish, Wash.-based Gilkey Restaurant Consulting Group. "Top chefs are serving high- quality cuts in smaller portions." Steakhouses continue to become more involved with beef sourcing, with some going so far as to work in conjunc- tion with ranchers to ensure the meat quality meets their standards. "Partnerships between restaurants and ranches have created a direct line of sourcing, which provides a point of differentiation," says Gilkey. "One Washington, D.C., Operators in the competitive steakhouse segment focus on sourcing, quality, flavor and preparation to distinguish menu items and bring out the best in the meat. By Lisa White

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