throughout the United States are offering turkey as a year- round menu
item. Statistics show a 13 percent increase in foodservice usage of turkey
in the past two years. Value-added cuts make turkey a great option for
fine and mid-scale dining segments, quick-service, catering, home-meal
replacement, health care, educational and industry dining operations.
Chefs in fine dining establishments are offering turkey as a signature
menu item throughout each season. Adding turkey to your menu provides
your guests with new food choices that can expand your menu.
Turkey consumption mirrors the continuing trend toward lean and healthy
foods and expanded ethnic fare. In a recent survey, 76 percent of consumers
said they would order turkey when eating out if it were offered on the
menu. The majority of consumers said they would like to try a wider selection
of turkey entrées because they enjoy the flavors of turkey and feel turkey
is a healthy food. Turkey is easy to use in a wide range of ethnic presentations
and can readily enhance any menu.
Good value yields a great food cost
Turkey is a good value because it offers a profitable, high
margin with low operational costs. Turkey costs less per pound than most
other animal protein foods and turkey signature menu offerings also yield
a better food cost percentage than most other protein foods. The value-added
cuts make turkey presentations less labor intensive, simpler and more
economical to prepare and serve, as well as ensure portion control and
minimize waste. Chefs can realize a better food cost percentage when
using turkey cutlets in place of more expensive beef and veal cuts.
Noted chefs praise the value of turkey:
- Chef Michael Foley of Chicago, "Every single part of the bird,
from the neck down can be used. This makes our food costs drop because
we prepare a variety of dishes including salad, sauté of turkey breast
and braised legs. Turkey has very little waste because the carcass
can produce a soup, chowder or rich stock."
- Chef Bill Jackson of Washington, DC, "It's not easy to put
an eight-ounce serving of protein on a plate and keep the menu price
in the single digits for the lunch menu. But that is exactly
what we do with the turkey burger and we get a 21 percent food cost. That's
a great combination."
- Chef Susan Goss of Chicago, "We can actually sell turkey for
more money than chicken because it is a little different and usually
the portion is bigger."
- Chef Joseph Worden of Wisconsin, "Turkey is very inexpensive,
including the pre-portioned cuts such as tenderloins. Our food cost
percentage is very low."
Turkey can be the foundation for creative menu offerings on
the breakfast, brunch, banquet, kid's, lunch and dinner menus. It is
perfect for traditional American fare, New American cuisine and regional
specialties. Turkey's subtle flavor blends well with the ethnic flavors
of Italian, Mexican, Asian, Mediterranean, French, Thai and Caribbean
cuisines. Osso buco, grilled turkey tenderloins, turkey satays, stir-fried
turkey, turkey chilies and chowders are all on menus across the United
States. Turkey's delicate flavor marries well with a variety of herbs
and spices, sauces and methods of preparation. Turkey is also a relished
favorite with only simple and staple seasonings.
Turkey is widely recognized as a superior protein food, because
it contains fewer calories, fat and cholesterol than other proteins.
Chefs across the country note that turkey is a great menu addition because
it is easy to market the low-cholesterol, low-fat and high-protein benefits.
Many people eat out several times a week and look for lower fat options
such as turkey.
The turkey industry incorporates high-quality standards and
a strong commitment to food safety into their business procedures. Clean
sanitary practices and quality programs such as the Hazard Analysis Critical
Control Points (HACCP) ensure a safe, high-quality food.