This article first appeared in the 1 September 2005 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).
R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. To find out more about R&I, visit its website www.foodservice411.com
Might McDonald’s customers soon be spurred to borrow the tagline “Where’s the Beef?” from rival Wendy’s advertising archives? The burger giant’s menu is more than one-third chicken items, and while Quarter Pounders contribute mightily to its beefy sales, chicken’s growing presence not just under the Golden Arches but across all segments can’t be ignored.
If low food costs brought poultry to the party, it has found other reasons to stay, including its nutritional profile. Consumers believe poultry is a sensible choice, low in fat and calories—never mind that it’s often deep-fried.
That it can be fried helps goose consumption. Nuggets, strips and fingers are fast-growing items largely due to the ease with which they can be eaten. Burger King’s new Chicken Fries arrive in “a container that screams portability,” says the chain’s Coq Roq Web site promoting the strips. Nuggets also are a school favorite.
R&I’s 2005 Menu Census shows that just 1.5% of respondents menu no poultry. Sixty percent serve turkey while 22% offer duck.
Preparations mostly reflect the setting, with sandwiches, salads and wings dominating. And no surprise: Ethnic flavors such as Mexican, Chinese and Italian flatter feathered friends.
On the Menu
Poultry is amenable to many cooking methods and spice levels. Here are some noteworthy preparations.
According to R&I’s 2005 Menu Census, these are the most commonly menued poultry items:
|1.||Chicken breast (boneless, skinless)||88%||88%|
|10.||Stuffed chicken breasts||13%||30%|