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Appetizing menu descriptions and preparation cues make pork stand out. Take a look at some key trends in menus to make sure yours is performing.
Menu real estate is getting tighter. Chefs are simplifying and cutting down to one- or two-sided sheets for easy changes and reprinting. The days of long menu descriptions and multi-page menu books are gone, replaced by short ingredient lists, and sometimes without even a mention of the cooking method. But often, patrons and sales could benefit from knowing more about the dish they are considering on your menu. Here are some thoughts about writing a smarter menu that could help increase sales and profits.
Focus on Technique
Describing the preparation of a dish can transform a vague ingredient list into something truly enticing.
“Rather than simply giving a nod to farms and the breed, I find people like a little more information,” says John Fink, chef/owner of The Whole Beast in San Francisco. “’Slow-cooked to tenderness,’ ‘pull-apart tender’ or ‘brined and smoked’ instead of just ‘slow-cooked pork’ show that we’re hands on. The customer can tell that we’re not just putting it in the oven, firing and forgetting. I think people like to see that we’re taking extra steps.”
Fink offers this mouthwatering description of his Pig Taco Bar:
The whole Heritage-breed hog slow-cooked to pull-apart tenderness, chopped up and served with seasonal slaw, salsa, guacamole, crème, Rancho Gordo beans and Rancho Gordo heirloom tortillas.
At Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans, executive chef and partner Rick Tramonto also emphasizes technique:
Red snapper and pork belly a la plancha with white root vegetable purée, cabbage, Creole mustard and “Pork and Beans” - braised pork shank, macque choux crepes, baked beans, root beer barbeque.
“I like to identify the rub, say if it’s cured or not cured, braised or cooked on a rotisserie,” says Tramonto.
Know How to Edit
Writing a menu is a balancing act, according to Fink. “You don’t want to get too wordy, otherwise you sound like you’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink in a dish,” he says.
It’s possible for people to get reader fatigue on menus. “I generally try to say what’s in the dish, pick out key ingredients and emphasize technique here and there,” says Fink. “The longer I’m in this business, the more I try to keep a smaller menu because it’s a lot easier to add than subtract, especially when making seasonal changes.”
Like Fink, many operators are crafting fresh seasonal menus so they want flexibility – they want menus than can be changed easily and reprinted without high costs. “Menu real estate is hard to come by,” says Tramonto, who tries to keep things descriptive without crowding the page.
“It’s easy to fall to either extreme,” he says, referring to a too-short, vague description or too-long one. “I like to fall somewhere in the middle to give customers enough information, but short enough to give an element of surprise.”
At Nightwood in Chicago, Executive Chef Jason Vincent also sees menu writing as a balancing act. “The menu is the best way to tell the guest what they’re getting and to be thoughtful about it, for instance, “cold pasta primavera” won’t sell nearly as well as “chilled pasta with smoked lamb, porcini, guanciale, fava beans, chive, aioli.”
Then again, you don’t want to give away the farm, literally. “We view menu-writing as more of an invitation for conversation rather than a list of ingredients,” says Vincent. Sometimes he’ll add the farm or origin of the ingredients, sometimes not. “We don’t want to make anyone feel stupid or come across as pompous - it can be very off-putting if we list too many farms in one sentence.”
Too often the menu focus is on the breed or origin of the animal when what would really sell the dish is a delicious description. What sounds better: a) “Slagel Family Farm pork chop with green garlic, fingerlings, and asparagus” or b) “seared pork Poterhouse Chop with buttery demi-glace, roasted fingerlings and green garlic-topped asparagus?” Option “b” allows customers who care about farm origin to engage their server in a conversation and it doesn’t put off people who aren’t “in the know.”
Day of the week also matters for Vincent when it comes to deciding on the extent of descriptors. During the week, he’ll add less descriptors to the menu to provide servers that opportunity for open conversation, for example “Crispy pig ears, house cultured butter, maple, habanero, cilantro.”
Guests gravitate towards the “crispy” description and the remaining ingredients generate a conversation between the server and guests. On Saturdays, more menu descriptors help speed up the ordering process when it’s busy.
Lighten It Up
While it’s easy to follow trends, setting yourself apart – even in menu writing – can distinguish you from competition. A little lightheartedness and comedy can mean the difference between a quick sell and a confusing description.
At Black & Blue in Easton, Pa., Chef Christian Gonzalez writes,
“Porterhouse Chop, young garlic and cilantro pesto, ensalada criolla - yeah it’s good.”
It’s a fun way to end the line and can set diners at ease. “We try to be easygoing with our menu descriptions and highlight the main product,” he says. “We find that it’s better for our customers to keep it simple and funny – that way they can ask questions and interact with our staff.”
Written Vs. Typed
For Fink, the chalkboard-style approach adds a little extra character and allows for more flexibility and cost savings than printing. For kid menus or specials, he’ll hand-write the menus on mini chalkboards set on easels. At winery parties, he writes the menu on the back of the wine menu. If he does print, Fink tries to keep it small, on postcard-size paper.
“I like the handwritten menus – it seems a lot more personable,” he says.
Back-of-house, Fink writes out working menus for the day or week, armed with an oversized sheet of butcher or parchment paper and a marker.
“It’s always readily available and big enough so people can read,” he says, noting that the flexibility keeps him sharp for the final write-out. Fink has even drawn sketches of the plate presentation on the paper for the team to understand his visualization. This helps servers learn the dishes, too. “They like to poke their heads in the kitchen and look at the paper menu to understand the dish more.” As a result they can fill in the gaps not handled by descriptive menu items.
Vincent uses the printed approach but in a handwritten style. Since Nightwood tweaks its menu daily, the team uses InDesign, a publishing and layout software, to create a handwritten looking template with words that can easily be changed one or two at a time without having to redo the entire format.
From appetite appeal to engaging descriptions, the menu is your most powerful selling tool – make sure it’s up to the challenge and don’t forget to menu train your servers! With a well-written menu and knowledgeable servers, you are sure to be successful!
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
Did you know that three of the six 2013 MenuMasters awards were given for new pork menu items?
Presented by Nation’s Restaurant News and sponsored by Ventura Foods, the MenuMasters Awards honor outstanding foodservice research and development. NRN senior food editor Bret Thorn explained the awards are not only selected on “culinary ingenuity, but also the likely impact of the candidates on foodservice as a whole.” He said, “This year’s winners are a great mix of terrific new proteins, creative flavor combinations and adjustments to menus that are likely to pave the way for further innovation.”
This year three of the awards are for new Pork dishes!
Noodles won Best Menu Line Extension for their marinated, seared, slow-roasted and then hand-pulled pork as a limited time offer. The LTO promoted two offerings: a pulled pork sandwich on ciabatta, and pork-topped macaroni and cheese drizzled with barbecue sauce and topped with crispy onion. The items were so successful they are now on the permanent menu.
Best Menu Revamp went to Red Lobster after adding their first-ever pork chop — wood grilled and topped with apple compote and peach bourbon barbecue sauce. Darden Restaurants’ president and chief operating officer Andrew Madsen called the menu change, “The most comprehensive menu transformation in the brand’s 40-year history,” addressing concerns about high prices and limited variety.
Lastly, Illinois based Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants won Menu Trendsetter with their Asian BBQ Pork Belly Nachos. The top selling appetizer consists of Chinese-style red braised pork belly atop crisp tortillas, and covered with scallions, sesame seeds, cilantro, radish and sweet chile barbecue sauce.
“The 2013 MenuMasters honorees are prime examples of the kind of menu innovation that makes this industry so exciting,” said Jim Goggin, senior vice president of Ventura Foods. “They have not only inspired their peers, but have also managed to surprise and delight their customers with delicious dining experiences.
Winners will be honored at the 16th annual MenuMasters ceremony at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, IL on May 18. To read more about the award winners and dishes click
A Conversation With
Does menu organization matter? Can words increase pork’s appetite appeal? We sat down with Menu Engineer Gregg Rapp to answer these questions.
Can menu organization change how patrons order? Do words increase pork’s appetite appeal? For 30 years, Gregg Rapp has analyzed restaurant menus to determine how to craft them to perform. As a Menu Engineer, Rapp works with companies like Applebee’s, Subway, Red Lobster and Disney to hone their menus into more effective selling tools.
We sat down with Gregg to learn about top menu strategies, why leader dots are a bad idea, and his favorite pork dishes (of course).
What inspired you to get involved in menu education and engineering?
31 years ago, I worked in a restaurant while attending college and my chef asked me to write the menu. That’s when a light bulb went off in my head.
At the time, my culinary class was learning about the history of menus, but actually writing the menu made me want to know how people read menus. I focused on how people read newsletters and magazines like flow charts, the strategy behind department store and grocery store layouts and merchandising, and I focused this information on menu layouts.
What is your main philosophy on food descriptors and menu engineering?
Menus should be written from the heart and not contrived. This is important whether it's an independent restaurant or chain, because it is important to get the restaurant’s point of view across. Menu descriptors and the layout have the ability to change a customer’s mind and overall restaurant experience.
The menu is not just a sheet of paper; it’s the restaurant’s best tool to bring in revenue and excite customers. Adding value is what entices people to come back for more and reduces cost in the consumer mind. The bottom line is the better restaurants are at writing menu descriptions, the more they are going to sell and entice customers to come back.
What are your golden rules of writing a menu?
I always tell my clients never to hire anyone to write your menu - hire a coach to help you write it. A chef puts their heart and soul into the food, and it’s crucial their work shows through the menu, leaving customers wanting more. When I have a chef record themselves talking about each dish, I can listen to the tape and pull out their passion for the dish technique or ingredient and use that to make the menu item stand out.
Also never use price listing on a menu, especially with leader dots. When a menu item is written with leader dots straight to the price, consumers read backwards – meaning they seek out the price before the menu item.
Lastly, I never use dollars signs on the menu. They remind consumers of the cost of the dish and make them less likely to order the unfamiliar. Just displaying numbers “softens” the price.
Why is menu engineering so important for restaurants? Do you believe using the right descriptor words can transform menus into profitable, user-friendly sales tools?
Absolutely. You don’t want your menu to read like a sales catalog. When the menu is a laundry list of items, it can intimidate customers and they’ll retreat to the familiar. They will be less likely to try an expensive item or something new. Instead, you want the list to be approachable and easy to read.
Some restaurants are bringing in huge revenues all from one sheet of paper. It’s imperative to the restaurant’s bottom line that busy, multi-tasking chefs take time out to create a proper menu.
How do you approach menu analysis?
I learn the restaurant concept, menu price analysis, and determine where value can be added. This process makes menu items seem less like a commodity and more intriguing.
First I familiarize myself with the restaurant concept through a conversation with the chef or owner. Next I do a menu analysis, which shows the most profitable and popular menu items – the “stars.” These items bring in the most revenue for the restaurant.
This analysis also shows what should be upsold and down sold. I extend the menu descriptions of the items that should be upsold to make them more desirable. Providing cooking technique, flavor profiles, textures, etc. If there’s enough room on the menu without overcrowding, I’ll add the accompaniments and how they’re prepared.
Words are very powerful on menus. If they do not add value or serve a purpose, don’t put them on. Better informing your customer helps your menu compete with the restaurants across the street and creates non-comparable menu items in both food and price.
How important is it to use words that give a sense of a dish's preparation, flavor and texture as opposed to using language that describes the ingredients pedigree or source?
Providing texture and technique are very important when menu writing. Customers like to know what to expect and it intensifies the “craveability” factor. Just using the word “crispy” or “succulent” can make the mouth water.
Customers like to be in control of their food. Descriptive words make them feel informed, which makes them more willing to try new items or pay more for a dish.
I often have my chef clients try out an exercise using refrigerator magnets. I ask the chefs to compile their favorite words, and this educates them on how to describe their dishes. They can make a cheat sheet for writing new menu items.
Are there certain words that should be avoided? If so, why?
I don’t discourage certain words, but I strongly urge chefs to make sure the food matches the menu description. Also keep in mind the way an item is priced can set the tone in a restaurant.
How does pricing affect the way a menu item is written?
After performing the menu cost analysis to project the profit contribution (menu price – food costs) it is easier to see the value of the dish. Extending the menu description for the stars of the menu is worth the space. Star items can be extended throughout the menu as well. Think about offering an entrée item as a starter portion.
Focusing on dishes with below-average profitability isn’t worth it, if there’s very low profit and low sales, these items should be removed from the menu.
Chefs have the ability to create specials and drive demand. Being creative and using ingredients that are low in demand and low in price, like underutilized cuts of protein such as trotters or shanks, is perceived by the customers to have more value.
How important is it to use menu descriptors for not only the protein, but also the complementing accompaniments?
You have to be careful about using too much copy. If there is too much information the consumer can be intimated by the menu.
It there’s room, consumers like to know what they are ordering. Listing the accompaniments provides an opportunity to round out a meal and intensify a craving.
How do you straddle the fine line between authenticity and cheesy?
Write from your heart. Don’t manufacture the descriptions and it’s easy to be authentic. It’s very important to be realistic with the descriptors – if you claim your bacon is crispy, it better be. Otherwise, you risk losing the trust of the consumers.
More authentic descriptions help consumers feel informed and they can better relate to the dish.
Does the layout affect the use of descriptor words?
Yes, restaurants are becoming savvier with their menus. They tend to be shorter – only five to seven items per segment. Too many items confuse costumers and they’ll default to what they know – which usually ends up being a lower priced item.
Some restaurants are also further segmenting their menus for example, listing out protein such as pork, allowing the menu space to describe the cooking technique and accompaniments more thoroughly, and brings the consumer directly to what they are craving.
Can you tell us a few of your favorite pork dishes and where to get them?
Kreuz Meat Market and BBQ
Hand-carved Pork Chops
Pork Belly and Kalbi Ribs
Koreatown in Los Angeles, CA
El Mirasol Restaurants
Palm Springs, CA
Crispy Skin Pork Belly
Brined, braised and browned to perfection, this crispy pork belly is sure to be a menu stand out.
Crispy Skin Braised Pork Belly
1 PORK BELLY, THICK CUT
8 parts water
1 part salt
1 part sugar
To taste spices, seasonings and aromatics
Brine pork belly overnight.
Remove belly from brine and blot dry. In a diagonal diamond pattern, using a razor blade, score skin. Season skin.
In roasting pan, lined with a roasting rack, place belly skin side up. Add 1” of water or brine to the pan.
Place in a 325 degree F oven until 180 degrees F internal temperature.
Increase heat to 450 degrees and cook an additional 20 minutes or until skin is crispy and brown.
New York Chop
Chef Stephen Barber from Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena, CA menus delicious Pepper and Mustard Crusted New York Chops with pig butter au Poivre.
Pepper and Mustard Crusted New York Chop Green Garlic potatoes, Pig Butter au Poivre, Mache
6 NEW YORK (TOP LOIN) PORK CHOPS
3 TBL cider vinaigrette
6 bunches Mache
1/2 cup pig butter
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
8 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
5 sprigs thyme
5 sprigs rosemary
1 piece star anise
Peppercorn and Mustard “Crust”
1/2 cup black peppercorns
2 TBL mustard seed
Pig Butter- au Poivre
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup bourbon
1 TBL bacon fat
1 teaspoon peppercorn/mustard mix
1 POUND PORK JOWL, OR SALT PORK
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
To taste salt
Green Garlic Potato Cakes
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, small (no need to peel)
6 TBL butter, (room temperature)
1/4 cup green garlic, (white part sautéed until tender)
1 TBL kosher salt
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 TBL shallots, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
To taste salt and pepper
Brine New York Chops for 4 to 6 hours. Remove from brine and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Press chops into mustard seed/peppercorn mixture.
Place sauté pan or flattop griddle on medium high heat and add oil. When pan and oil are hot, place chop in pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges of the steak are golden brown. Be careful not to burn the peppercorns.
Turn the chop over and add a couple tablespoons of butter, sprig of thyme and rosemary to Arroser.
Place in oven for 5-7 minutes or until medium rare to medium about 140 degrees with a three-minute rest time.
Place the potato cake (recipe below) in hot oiled pan and sauté until golden brown on one side. Flip and place in oven until heated through, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Dress cleaned mache with just enough vinaigrette to coat. Season and toss.
Place 4 cups of water in small sauce pot and add remaining ingredients. Place on stove on medium heat until salt and sugar are dissolved.
Add the remaining 4 cups of cold water and allow brine to come to room temperature. Place the chop in brine for 4 -6 hours.
Peppercorn and Mustard “Crust”:
Combine peppercorns and mustard seed in small sauté pan and lightly toast.
Carefully place on cutting board, cover with a towel and crush with a mallet or bottom of a pot/pan. The peppercorns should just be cracked.
Pig Butter- au Poivre:
Sweat shallots and garlic in the bacon fat. Add bourbon and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Set aside.
Cube hog jowl or salt pork and slowly render. I add a touch of water to get this going. You don’t want any color. When rendered, strain and place fat in stainless bowl. Set this bowl in an ice bath and whisk until it resembles white icing.
Fold in the remaining ingredients and roll in parchment paper. Place in refrigerator to set up until firm.
Green Garlic Potato Cakes:
Wash potatoes. Steam for about 25 minutes or boil until fork tender.
Place paddle attachment on kitchen aide or Hobart mixer. Drain Potatoes if you boiled them and place in mixer.
Run mixer on medium speed and add butter, sautéed green garlic and kosher salt. Mix thoroughly and taste for seasoning.
When mixture is cool enough to handle, weigh out 5 ounce portions and form into cakes. Allow to completely cool.
Combine vinegar, shallots, mustard and honey. Whisk in oil, season with a touch of salt and a crank of black pepper.
Plate the chop, potato and mache. Garnish chop with a thin slice of pig butter.
Operators across the country are optimizing menu language to pull in patrons. Take a look at our menuing report to see who’s selling the sizzle.
Menus make a difference, and chefs across the country are optimizing their menus to attract patrons. From preparation cues to emphasizing flavors to signal authenticity, restaurants are writing and organizing menus to increase interest and profitability. Take a look at our menuing report to see who’s selling the sizzle.
Menus Spotlight the Cooking Process to Add Value To the Menu Item
The addition of pork’s cooking process adds sizzle to the menu. The description gives consumers the understanding of the labor of love that the chef has undergone to prepare these dishes and elevates the overall dining experience. As consumers continue to get savvier about their food, these cooking descriptions are going to become increasingly important on the menu.
Whether the pork is cooked slow, or cooked in a flash over a hot fire, these descriptions add romance and flair to the menu. Chefs across the country are using their menu to help position pork as a premium menu item.
“Slow Cooked” Used To Describe Pork Sandwiches, Pork Entrées and Ethnic Pork Dishes
The descriptor “slow” is being used to describe “slow roasted,” “slow braised” and “slow cooked.” This communicates to patrons that the process yields moister, tastier and more tender pork.
The Matador in Seattle, WA features two slow cooked pork dishes:
Braised Pork Sandwich: slow roasted natural pork with caramelized onions, served with lettuce, tomato, sweet cherry peppers, cilantro and chipotle mayo.
Braised Carnitas: slow cooked pork shoulder with orange, allspice, cinnamon and bay leaves, served with black beans, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and tortillas.
Gerry Klaskala, chef and owner of Aria in Atlanta, GA, sets out to make the flavors on his menu “sing,” and such harmony is evident in his signature dishes. Many of the meats at his restaurant are braised, roasted, stewed, or simmered for long periods of time generating the perfect flavor. One of his signature dishes is the Slow Braised Niman Ranch Berkshire Pork Shoulder with pimento cheese risotto, roasted sweet peppers, Vidalia onion and bacon marmalade.
Bones, located in Denver, CO, offers Udon, a noodle dish featuring slow cooked pork shoulder, plum soy broth, poached egg, and scallion.
In the case of slow braises, chefs are also describing the flavor of their cooking liquid on their menus. These added descriptors romance the pork and communicate the true personality of the dish.
Hi-Low, a new Northern Californian BBQ restaurant in San Francisco, CA menus a Sake-Braised Pork Belly with a Tare Glaze, cucumber tsunonomo, pickled peppers and watermelon relish.
Two Restaurant, in Chicago, IL menus two pork dishes that are braised in different alcohols: Pork Belly braised in red wine with roasted garlic and rosemary creamy polenta and Pork Shank braised in bourbon with a bourbon jus and melted leeks.
Slow is also a primary descriptor for the process of smoking ribs. The amount of time a restaurant’s ribs are smoked is something that can set a restaurant apart, so the timing is often added to the menu to differentiate from competition.
Smokin’ Barbecue, in Dayton, OH, specifies the amount of time each pork product is smoked. Their bone-in pork shoulder is slow smoked for up to 14 hours, while their pork spare ribs are slow smoked for up to 7 hours.
Bennett’s Pit BBQ, with two locations in Tennessee, has a menu that specifies that their Jumbo Baby-Back Ribs are slow smoked for up to six hours at around 200 degrees F to ensure that they are tender and delicious.
Menus Elaborate On Their Sizzling Cooking Method
Progressive restaurants are describing all the steps in preparing the pork, rather than utilizing vague culinary descriptors, such as “mouthwatering.” These concrete descriptors communicate the specific flavors that are added to the pork, as well as the preparation.
Luma Restaurant in Pittsburg, PA features a Porterhouse Chop, fennel pollen brushed and pan seared with a Pennsylvania hard cider reduction.
West 14th Street Restaurant, in Marshfield, WI, offers a Porterhouse Chop. The menu goes into detail: “This extra-thick bone-in Porterhouse Chop is pan-seared then oven-roasted to perfection and garnished with a fresh cranberry-apple Gremolata.”
“Fire roasted” as a pork descriptor adds romance, and indicates to consumers that the pork will have a smoky flavor.
Executive chef Phillip Aviles of Masa Restaurant in Boston, MA features Fire Roasted Pork Loin with chorizo, Monterey Jack potato torta and habañero sun-dried tomato sauce.
Philly Sports Bar in Runnemede, NJ features Fire Roasted Jack Daniels Pork Chops served with roast potatoes and broccoli.
Describing Pork on the Menu Is Key in Denoting Authenticity in Ethnic Foods
Today’s consumers crave authentic dishes from around the globe, and want their experience to be real and taste great. Describing the pork’s cooking process as authentic from a particular region of the world helps provide credibility that the food is being true to its ethnicity.
Several ethnic restaurants communicate that their pork is slow cooked in different varieties of leaves. This language showcases that the pork is cooked according to tradition, as well as tells the consumer that the pork will be full of flavor and moisture.
At the Border Grill in Santa Monica, CA Executive Chef Alex Moreno serves a Yucatan Pork entrée: Achiote pork slow roasted in banana leaves, with caramelized onion, orange, cinnamon honey lime yams, caramelized brussel sprouts, and pineapple jicama salsa.
The Taco Shop in New York, NY features a Cochinita Pibil taco made with slow cooked pork baked in banana leaves with Yucatecan relish.
Sam Choy’s Los Angeles, CA Food Truck, The Pineapple Express, serves the Brah-B-Q Pork Sandwich: Kalua pork rubbed with Alea sea salt, wrapped in Ti leaves, smoked and slow roasted for eight hours and served on a homemade Hawaiian bun with a Makers Mark Bourbon and Kona coffee BBQ sauce.
Hung Lao Sandwiches in San Jose, CA, makes their Ch? l?a in house. This traditional Vietnamese pork sausage is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. They serve it sliced in a Bahn Mi sandwich.
Sauce descriptions are paramount in communicating authenticity in pork dishes.
Bigibo Hot Stone, a Korean BBQ restaurant in Los Angeles, CA, describes their cooking process and the sauce to further educate the consumer on the dish: Char-grilled Spicy Pork Marinated with Kohot Sauce.
Cuba Libre in Washington, DC, menus slow roasted marinated pulled pork with classic sour orange mojo.
New Chain News
California Pizza Kitchen rolled out the Spicy Korean Barbecue Pizza, topped with charred Korean barbecue pork, slivered scallions, sesame seeds and mozzarella, and garnished with kimchi made with napa cabbage, cilantro, carrots and cucumber tossed in a Sriracha vinaigrette. It is available on a traditional, thin or whole-grain crust (210 units, HQ in Playa Vista, CA)
Bahama Breeze introduced a Carnitas Rice bowl—slow-roasted pork sautéed with chorizo, corn, plantains and garbanzo beans in a cumin-citrus sauce, served over yellow rice (32 units, HQ in Orlando, FL)
Cousins Subs added two limited-time pork-filled subs to its menu—Memphis Steak and Cubano. The Memphis Steak features steak, pulled pork, Cheddar cheese, sliced dill pickles, lettuce and barbecue sauce on Italian bread. The Cubano features ham, Genoa salami, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, brown mustard, sliced dill pickles, onions and tomatoes on Italian bread (137 units, HQ in Menomonee Falls, WI)
T.G.I. Friday’s has introduced a new Taste & Share menu, which expands its line of shareable small plates and features several pork items:
Bacon Mac and Cheese Bites: Made with three varieties of Cheddar cheese and served with a craft beer-cheese dipping sauce
Thai Pork Tacos: Marinated pulled pork with Sriracha aïoli, ginger-lime slaw and hoisin sauce in three soft corn tortillas (555 units, HQ in Carrollton, TX)
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers debuted Saucy Pork Riblets—smothered in Whiskey River barbecue sauce or Triple S barbecue sauce and served on a bed of Yukon kettle chips (435 units, HQ in Greenwood Village, CO)
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant launched its Spring Menu for 2013. The seasonal menu includes Asian Ribs—an appetizer of slow-smoked pork ribs with a five-spice rub and ground peanuts for $10.99 (35 units, HQ in Chattanooga, TN)
la Madeleine Country French Cafe rolled out a dinner menu at its eight Washington, DC-area restaurants. The dinner menu includes Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin – roasted pork tenderloin brushed with a balsamic glaze and served with maple-glazed root vegetables and quinoa pilaf with mushrooms and cranberries for $10.49 (61 units, HQ in Dallas, TX)
A recap of the 2013 Pork Summit in St. Helena, CA.
On April 26-28, The National Pork Board held it's third annual Pork Summit at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone Campus in St. Helena, CA. State and regional level Taste of Elegance winners attended this exclusive educational weekend as well as foodservice industry trade media editors and featured chefs.
This year's schedule included Pork 101 training and delved into a new approach to indigenous barbecue styles. Friday night consisted of a special live fire barbecue dinner, prepared by featured chefs at St. Helena’s Farmstead Restaurant. On Saturday, attendees were treated to a sausage making demonstration from sausage expert Chirs Mattera of Sausage Craft in Richmond, VA and a pig head butchering and utilization demonstration by Chis Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco. On Sunday, attendees were taught butchering by Cosentino and National Pork Board Director of Foodservice Marketing, Stephen Gerike. All the knowledge amassed over the weekend was put to the test at Sunday’s market basket exhibition in the teaching kitchens of the CIA.
A special thanks to the Taste of Elegance winners for their participation, our feature chefs: Stephen Barber, Chris Mattera, John Fink, Robert Danhi and Taylor Bowen-Ricketts, for sharing their expertise, Rebecca Chapa for the informative lesson on pairing and to the CIA and Farmstead Restaurant for their hospitality. Lastly, a special appreciation to Chris Cosentino, for his enthusiasm about all the parts of the pig!
National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group in Chicago, IL May 15-17.
The National Pork Board will be sponsoring and attending the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group in Chicago, IL May 15-17. The educational forum for foodservice executives will take a look at how to build a brand that connects in a 24/7 marketplace.
On Friday, May 17, the National Pork Board will sponsor the afternoon break featuring a pork chop tasting. We’ll be serving two dishes: a grilled Porterhouse Chop and a pepper and mustard crusted New York Chop. During this tasting two Boos Butcher-block tables will be raffled and Buffalo Trace Bourbon cocktails will be served. We’ll see you there! Bring your business cards!
National Restaurant Association Show May 18-21, 2013 in Chicago, IL.
The National Pork Board's Foodservice Team will be in Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Show May 18-21, 2013. The team will be meeting with customers and packer/processors as well as attending industry events. We hope to see you at the show!
2013 Foodservice Advisory Committee in Chicago, IL, May 20
The National Pork Board will host our Spring 2013 Foodservice Advisory Committee in Chicago, IL, May 20. We take this time to share our progress and plans with key operators and industry advisors to get feedback on our strategies for 2013 and beyond.
COP training is a 3 day course designed to teach the fundamentals of meat specifications and cuts commonly used in retail and foodservice.
National Pork Board is a sponsor of the NAMA Center of the Plate training course held June 4 – 6, 2013 at Texas A&M’s meat science school in College Station, TX. The course demonstrates the breakdown of full carcasses of beef, pork, lamb, and veal into the cuts commonly sold in retail and foodservice, that are featured in the Meat Buyer’s Guide. Class participants learn about industry standards, purchasing options, factors affecting variations of quality, how value can be determined, and the latest cuts being merchandised in the industry.
National Pork Board Director of Foodservice Marketing, Stephen Gerike, and Marketing Managers David Bottagaro and Jim Murray will be on site to teach the pork section of the class.
To register for NAMA’s COP training visit website address
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