2016-07-21 14:55    


When it comes to the cost of ingredients in foodservice, the big-ticket item is usually protein– especially meats such as beef and pork. Because prices of these bell-ringers often fluctuate, smart operators are looking for ways to increase protein efficiencies on the menu and keep costs consistent.

According to Rob Corliss, founder of the culinary consulting firm ATE (All Things Epicurean) and executive chef of Sheridan’s Unforked, a fast-casual restaurant in Overland Park, Kan., it’s becoming increasingly important for operators to meet customers’ protein needs more responsibly, deliciously and cost-effectively. “These three things are not exclusive attributes—cost control can work hand-in-hand with craveability,” he says. “The key is to use alternatives.”

Here’s a peek at five ways operators can cut protein costs and keep dishes flavorful.

Experiment with lesser cuts

Premium proteins such as steak and chicken breasts are expensive; seek out lower-cost products like ribs, shank, ground meat and chicken thighs, which are delicious when treated with techniques such as braising. “This opens the field to culinary creativity and provides something delicious and affordable for the customer,” says Corliss.

Open the field to alternative proteins

Meat and seafood aren’t the only proteins around. “Alternative sources abound, including many that are appealing to vegetarians and vegans, as well as adventurous eaters,” says the chef. These options include beans and legumes, dairy products, nuts and more.