Selling More Beef in Restaurants

Beef at restaurantPlease note: Each story has a separate audio file for download.

Suggested Lead: Steve Sands of food distribution company Performance Food Group recently participated in foodservice educational discussions with “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” program staff, working on behalf of the beef checkoff. He says the resources that “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” provides is very helpful to a company like his because it helps his team talk to customers about beef.

(Audio clip #1 -- 0:39) “We value tremendously the resources that they bring to the table in terms of helping to train our sales staff, helping us to become advocates for beef consumption in this country, giving us new ideas on how we can menu beef items, how we can take different products to the marketplace that we may not have thought of. It turns our sales people instead of order-takers, they’re becoming consultants. So the checkoff’s invaluable in helping us educate our team as well as helping promote reasons why restaurants need to carry beef.”

Performance Food Group, or PFG, features all proteins, but Sands, who is vice president of protein procurement, explains how beef fits into the bigger picture.

(Audio clip #2 -- 0:24) “On a dollar volume basis, beef is by far our largest protein. Beef drives a lot of decisions by that restaurant. Beef is a real opinion-maker, if you will, among restaurant operators and so we concentrate on beef and try to be as good as we can in that area because it drives so many other product sales.”

PFG will buy and sell more than 1.5 billion pounds of beef and poultry annually. Sands leaves a parting thought for beef producers.

(Audio clip #3 -- 0:26) “We have to answer the consumer’s desire to know more about how the product is raised, how that animal was treated, so I think transparency and the willingness to tell our story in an aggressive way is paramount to helping to create the beef consumer of the future. Once again, I think the checkoff is invaluable in giving us some of the tools to make those arguments.”

Sands says PFG, like beef producers, knows consumers want quality food.

(Audio clip #4 -- 0:22) “We cannot keep our customers happy if the cattlemen are not providing us with a quality product and the eating experience that our customers desire. So we truly are in the same boat. I do think we need to communicate more, from the restaurant all the way back through the supply chain, so we are responsive to what we’re hearing from our consumers.”

PFG is a Product Council Member to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which is a contractor to the beef checkoff.

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The beef checkoff increases beef demand through promotion, research and new product development, and a variety of other marketing tools.