Offering Steak-Tasting Menus Allows Guests to Try a Variety of Cuts
Steakhouses don’t shy away from offering a variety of cuts of meat—Angus, Wagyu, lamb chops, venison—nor do they fear giving diners the option of sizable steaks like a 32-ounce tomahawk or 14-ounce New York strip.
Sometimes the steaks get dry or wet aged for 28 days or even up to more than 100. With the higher ticket price, people usually don’t order more than one steak despite wanting to try more, and that’s where offering a steak flight or tasting portion can be beneficial.
“We decided to do a flight because people are more interested and excited to try different cuts of meat,” says Giuseppe Tentori, executive chef/partner of Chicago’s GT Prime. “It’s more approachable financially and people get the option of tasting different meat than they normally would. With a flight, it’s more exciting and you can compare the meat next to each other.”
GT Prime offers a number of steaks, ranging in cost from $38 for beef tenderloin up to $90 for A5 Miyazaki Wagyu. But the coup is its $220 carnivore steak tasting: four eight-ounce cuts served sliced. A current menu has beef filet, venison, bison and American Wagyu, but the options can change depending on what the kitchen has and what they want to introduce to guests.
Tentori says even though the carnivore offering costs more, it’s almost all meat trimmed of the fat presented without any bones, so guests are getting 32 ounces of quality meat. Sometimes, multiple people at a table will each order one but, at the end of the day, it’s about hospitality, not revenue.
“If we do 100 covers a night, we’ll do 10 percent of the carnivore (offering),” Tentori says. “It’s more for the experience than us making money. Food costs are higher for us, so we’re really not making too much, but we do OK. It’s not about the money.”
It is, however, about making guests happy and that’s something Troy Guard, chef/owner of Guard + Grace in Denver, takes to heart. The owner of the TAG Restaurant Group includes a filet mignon flight on his steakhouse menu for the simple reason he wants guests to explore different types of beef. For $75, guests enjoy four ounces each of prime, Angus and grass-fed beef, which Guard says it ends up even being a little less expensive than ordering everything separately because they subtract a few dollars per protein. And, like Tentori, for Guard it’s not about the money.
“It’s more approachable financially and people get the option of tasting different meat than they normally would.”
– Giuseppe Tentori, executive chef/partner of GT Prime
“Steak is always going to be a high food cost,” Guard says. “It’s hard to make money off meat and we’ve come to accept that. The steak is our draw and ‘marketing tool’ you could say and it’s our job to get creative and make something delicious for the guest.”
Though it may not be the biggest money maker, offering a steak flight or steak tasting can hook curious diners into trying a wider variety, which will then get them talking to others about your restaurant. So in the long run, it really can add to your bottom line.