Fried bone-in pork chop served on top of golden waffles and bacon

4 Reasons Restaurants Should Rethink Pork

For restaurant operators who are seeking inspiration to help beef up their menus and attract new diners, the answer might be pork.

Yes, pork.

It’s the red meat that’s underutilized, extremely profitable and suitable for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whether for fast casual or fine dining, pork is a protein option that can add excitement to menus and win over guests.

Here are four reasons to go whole hog for pork.

Pork is profitable.

Restaurants traditionally focus on plate costs when deciding what to add or keep on menus. While plate cost as a percent of total menu price is important, it doesn’t tell the whole story, especially when it comes to pork.

According to a report from Datassential, pork dishes, on average, net $3 more than the average dish in the casual dining restaurant segment. For fine dining, the net average is closer to $4 more than the average dish.1 When you look at pork in terms of profit, it’s clearly worthy of a place on your menu.

Pork is affordable.

According to the 2022 Power of Meat, 61% of people surveyed said they are eating out and ordering in from restaurants less often.2

Adding pork to a menu offers patrons dishes that are priced between burgers and steaks. Need a few ideas? How about a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, aka BPT, that has the moistness, salt and crunch of hot chicken but is different enough to gain a following.

Pork is versatile.

It’s easy to make room for pork on breakfast, lunch or dinner menus. For breakfast, think beyond bacon and sausage to pork chops and waffles. For lunch, use pork loin in place of other proteins on salads. And for dinner, design a creative pork entrée that incorporates seasonal fresh vegetables and herbs.

Or take inspiration from around the globe. Research shows that because more people became comfortable cooking at home during the pandemic, they are more likely to eat out at restaurants for experiences and foods they can’t replicate themselves.3 These cuisines include Latin American and Asian cuisines, which feature pork as a staple. For inspiration, consider pork loin katsu or mole pork street tacos as entrees or pork belly bao as an appetizer.

Pork is underused, which makes it a differentiator.

Pork shows up on 58.6% of restaurant menus and is found more often on casual and fine dining menus. In general, though, pork menu penetration is trending down, falling off 4% of menus in the last year and 5% in the last four years.1

Inspired and creative takes on pork can differentiate your restaurant. If you do add pork to your menu, give it the attention it deserves with a well-written description and a high-traffic position on your menu.

Now is the time to go hog wild for pork. For more inspiration on adding pork to your menu, reach out to the Tyson Fresh Meats Foodservice Team today.

1 Datassential Menu Trends, Pork, July 11, 2022
2 Anne-Marie Roerink, Principal, 210 Analytics LLC, The Power of Meat 2022, Report sponsored by Sealed Air Food Care Division/Cryovac® and Published by FMI and the Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education
3 Midan October Foodservice COVID-19 Report, October 2020

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