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Innovative Cuts Create Options for Taiwanese Beef Customers

June 19, 2014

With the price of a high-quality beef dinner topping $100, options for many beef-loving Taiwanese diners have narrowed, and restaurant operators are struggling to find menu options for the full economic spectrum of their customers.

Rising beef prices have inspired many of Taiwan’s top restaurants and hotels to partner with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to develop creative new dishes with more affordable cuts, including the petite tender and the clod heart. Early results indicate that both restaurants and consumers are enjoying the fresh approach, and Taiwanese media outlets are taking notice.

With funding support from the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), USMEF recently hosted seminars for Taiwan’s food service operators, retailers and importers to educate them about the quality and value of these two U.S. beef cuts. Cooking demonstrations, product information and recipes showed the participants how the petite tender and clod heart could add menu alternatives at a variety of price points.

Jimmy Chang, chef and owner of the Chez Jimmy restaurant chain, was the first to introduce the petite tender, adding it to the menu in four of his restaurants. He soon found it accounted for 15 percent of his sales.

"Food service operators need to commit to developing new menu items," said Chang. "With creativity, determination and a perspective of what is important to the customer, we can add new menu items that our customers will appreciate and will be successful for us."

The Regent Taipei Hotel introduced four petite tender menu items at its mid-price restaurant, Azie, with dishes ranging from $12 to $17, finding them to be a good fit.

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"We think the petite tender matches our middle-price restaurant," said Simon Wu, executive director of the Regent Taipei’s food and beverage department. "As a leader in Taiwan’s food service market, we feel it is necessary for us to try new items and be creative to meet our customers’ desire for variety and quality."

Wu also appreciated the technical support from USMEF in helping his restaurant adopt the new menu items.

"The petite tender has the features of lean muscles without the grassy smell (of grass-fed beef)," said Maggi Wu, marketing planning manager for the historic Taiwan Grand Hi-Lai Hotel. "People are focused on flavorful, nutritious and low-fat meals, and the petite tender provides customers with more dish choices while giving restaurants an ingredient that can be used in steakhouses, buffets and for tappanyaki (Japanese style griddle cooking)."

The Grand Hi-Lai found a variety of uses for the new cut, serving it at the hotel’s poolside café and lobby lounge in six dishes ranging from $10 to $24. In addition, the hotel’s dietician provided information on the nutritional value of this lean cut. Customers who posted photos to the Hi-Lai’s Facebook page during the promotion showing them sharing the dishes with their mothers were entered in a drawing for special meal prizes at the hotel.

The interest by leading hotels and restaurants in the newly introduced U.S. beef cuts has helped generate a significant amount of media attention:

  • CTV News on Youtube
  • Market Daily
  • Apple Daily
  • China Times
  • Taiwanese blogger
  • Hi-Lai Hotel website
  • Hi-Lai Hotel Facebook page

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RELATED TOPICS: Beef, Exports, Beef News

 
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