Checkoff participation at MUFSO helps keep beef on the menu

Oct 16, 2009
by WLJ
Checkoff participation at MUFSO helps keep beef on the menu

For 50 years, the Nation’s Restaurant News Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators Conference (MUFSO) has fueled the foodservice industry with the education and peer-topeer connections that have contributed to the longterm success of countless chain restaurant companies. Once again this year, the beef checkoff was one of several dinner sponsors, enabling beef representatives to network with top foodservice CEOs, listen to information from industry experts, and gather data and ideas in order to maximize beef’s presence in the foodservice marketplace.

Taking part in the conference were checkoff representatives Scott McGregor, cow/calf producer and feedlot owner from Nashua, IA, and vice chairman of the industry’s Joint Foodservice Committee, and, Al Pedigo, cow/calf producer from Scottsville, KY, and member of the Beef Promo tion

Operating Committee and the Joint Foodservice Committee.

“Restaurants are putting an emphasis on premium ground beef on their menus—it’s a moderate price point that they think consumers are demanding—ground beef meals between $5 and $10,” says McGregor. “Beef is still the reason people go to a restaurant. That said, we have to keep volume moving through the chain and keep beef at the forefront. The economy will turn around and when it does, we have to be a player. The flat iron and boneless country-style ribs have already found their niche through checkoff-funded promotions and restaurants are now turning to ground beef to grow market share.

One thing both checkoff participants noted was the increased emphasis foodservice outlets are placing on service and repeat customers—as well as a knowl edgeable wait staff.

“When customers’ expectations are at an all-time high, employees are the single most important point of difference between one restaurant and the competition,” says Pedigo. “If a consumer goes into a restaurant and the wait staff doesn’t know the difference between a sirloin and a flat iron, that might detract from the eating experience, causing them to be less likely to pass along the ‘good word’ to a neighbor.”

Even in a tough economy, consumers are expected to spend more than $500 billion this year on food prepared away from home. And the more than 900,000 foodservice locations sell more than 8 billion pounds of beef annually. That’s roughly half of the total beef volume in the U.S. That’s why your beef checkoff is committed to helping restaurants deliver exceptional dining experiences, each and every 500 billion times. — WLJ