October 5, 2018

5 Reasons to Add Pork to Your Menu

pork-Korean jokbal-pigs feet.jpgBacon. Ham. Sausage. Consumers are highly familiar with these mainstream pork products and have probably ordered them from your menu. Did you know there are a myriad of other delicious pork cuts that can set your restaurant menu apart from the competition?

Multi-unit restaurant chains often assume that consumers aren’t interested in additional pork cuts. Or restaurant operators believe pork is too difficult to cook consistently. If you have doubts about pork, here are five reasons to reconsider this underrated protein. 

1) Safe Exploration

According to Datassential, pork menu penetration is up slightly since 2010, indicating that restaurants are recognizing consumers’ hunger for pork. Consumers—especially older Millennials—are looking to experience more authentic ethnic cuisine. Cultures from around the world have created delicious recipes using pork as an integral part of their cuisine. Puerto Rican Pork Pernil, Korean Jokbal, Ecuadorian Hornado de Chancho, Jamaican Pork Stew, and Taiwanese Minced Pork Sauce are just a few examples. Why not offer your customers an authentic way to explore global cuisine? 

2) Lower Food Costs

pork-cider-glazed pulled pork.jpg

Shrinkage, waste, and trim can significantly affect your bottom line.  Restaurants with hundreds of locations often find that buying pre-cooked meat provides a yield advantage versus back-of-house cooking from raw. Pork is historically less expensive than beef, and its many value cuts can be transformed into traffic-driving menu items (see #1 above), especially when paired with moist-heat cooking techniques like sous vide. Complementing shredded pork with sauce is another strategy that can lower your food costs.  Pulled BBQ pork, anyone? 

3) Pork Is Healthy

Consumers demand exciting, high-protein, global flavors that are as healthy as they are delicious. The great news is that you can meet all of your customers' expectations with pork. Thanks to advancements in pork farming, seven of pork's most common cuts have 27% less saturated fat than the same cuts 20 years ago. Today there are six cuts of pork that meet the USDA’s lean guidelines, and some of these cuts are leaner than skinless chicken thigh. Pork is also a good source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. A 3-ounce serving of pork is considered an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus; and a good source of riboflavin, zinc, and potassium 

4) Perfectly-cooked pork is possible

pork-al pastor dice bowl.jpgPork cooked to medium doneness (145° F) with a 3-minute rest time is juicy and tender with a slight blush of pink in the center. Cooking pork perfectly—especially the leaner cuts—is an art that requires attention to detail and perfectly-timed execution. Moist heat sous vide cooking pairs well with just about any pork application and reduces moisture loss. You can serve perfectly-done pork every time, at every location, and take satisfaction in knowing that your pork is succulent—never burnt, dry, or tough.

5) Pork is versatile

No matter if you’re serving an upscale Pork Osso Bucco or a steaming bowl of Pho, there’s a pork cut for every day part, food cost, and flavor profile on your menu. 

What's stopping you from adding pork to the menu? Get started with your pork project.