Font Size:
Extranet > NetNews > Trends >
Help Operators Prep for BBQ Season


Help Operators Prep for BBQ Season

With summer in full swing, many operators are looking to include bold, smoky flavors from the grill. So it’s time to help them prepare a summer menu to challenge customers’ taste buds and set their menus apart. Technomic reports that the number of operators offering barbecue items on their menus has increased by 1.6% in 2015 versus 2014.3 Whether operators are serving up tried-and-true barbecue classics like slow-cooked ribs or offering modern dishes like grilled BBQ chicken pizza, it’s clear that BBQ in foodservice is growing in popularity.

According to the NRA’s What’s Hot List, fire-roasting is one of the top trending preparations for 2015.1 Even if your operators don’t have a smoker or wood-fired oven, they can still enhance their menus and help drive sales by getting creative with menu descriptions. For example, “wood grilled” and “fire grilled” have both increased 10% on menus in the past several years and terms like caramelized, hickory, applewood and oven roasted have also become more prevalent in the summer months.2 Technomic reports that in 2014 barbecue menus saw an increase in the preparation methods of shredding (+28.6%), browning (+10.5%) and caramelizing (+3.7%).3 And don’t forget about the sauce – the top barbecue sauce descriptors include sweet, chipotle, honey, smoky and tangy.3

Authentic regional interpretations of slow-cooked barbecue continue to have broad appeal, but a recent trend is the application of barbecue sauces and flavors to handheld offerings like sandwiches and pizza. Even conventional barbecue chains have rolled out nontraditional barbecue-inspired handhelds, such as the BBQ Chicken Lettuce Wrap LTO at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, a California-based chain.4 Another growing trend is fusing barbecue with other ethnic cuisine like Korean or Latin flavors. For example, fast casual New York restaurant Tres Carnes combines Texas style barbecue with Mexican fare, offering patrons a choice of signature smoked meats – brisket, chicken or pork shoulder – as a filling for burritos, tacos or rice and bean bowls.5

While diners often crave classic barbecue, they may not want it every day, especially during swimsuit season. Help your operators attract customers looking for healthier options by offering grilled lean proteins such as chicken and turkey with sauces on the side. Operators can serve up barbecue chicken breasts or pulled chicken sandwiches with popular summer sides like baked beans, collard greens and mashed sweet potatoes. Many diners also tend to order lighter fare when the weather heats up, so suggest that operators pair barbecue flavors with fresh, crisp salads like a barbecue chicken salad or a smoky grilled shrimp salad.

Perdue Foodservice can help you elevate your operators’ summer menus with the Sizzlin’ Summer Savings promotion. Operators can get $10 off per case, up to $250, on a wide variety of hot dogs and burgers perfect for summer. These items include both no antibiotics ever beef, turkey and chicken products from Harvestland and conventional turkey products from Perdue. For more information, visit

1 Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, “Restaurant Trends: Fire Roasted Foods,” 2/2/15

2 Datassential, “FoodBytes,” February 2014

3 MenuMonitor, Technomic Inc., 2015

4 Technomic, “At Midyear, Technomic Sees Six Trends Emerging,” 7/2/2014

5 Technomic, “Betting on Fast Casual BBQ,” 8/14/2014