Restaurateur Educates Servers to Maximize Sales of High-End BeefTue, 18 Feb 2014 10:45:53 CST
What's a high-end restaurateur doing in cattle country? Chad Mackay, president of of El Gaucho Hospitality, says time spent with producers helps him serve customers back home.
"We've got cattle production in one part of the country and yet cattle consumption, beef consumption, the premium stuff, is really in the coastal cities."
Mackay calls his clientele "progressive" so servers must be well-educated on beef cuts, the aging process and the product's origin. Cow school is what Mackay calls the training program that brings ranchers and waiters together preparing his staff for his customers who expect a special dining experience.
"Out in Seattle we have a fairly sophisticated consumer. They may not know everything about beef, but they are interested and want to know what is going in the cattle, how they're grown, where they're from. So, one of our jobs is how do we develop our servers so they are informed so they can tell our guests and sell the quality of steak that we do."
Certified Angus Beef prime headlines the menu, but consumer inquiries led the restaurant group to explore the brand's natural extensions, too. Of course, these elite products must meet strict specifications and there must be a consistent supply.
" I think in the long run that's probably part of the consumer set that's going to demand that and producers will meet that demand."
Cattlemen shouldn't look away, he says, because interest from elite steak houses is just the tip of a new spear in the meat industry.
"New specialty beef companies, regional meat companies that are finding niche products and that's an opportunity to find a place for producers to hook up with high-end restaurants and people who care and don't mind paying the price for unique products that consumers would enjoy."
Ranchers may not spend much time in big cities, but can rest assured that their hard work is rewarding guests all over the globe.
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