CENTENNIAL, COLO. — Beef producers regard the food service channel as being integral to their business and livelihood. Since National Restaurant Association figures indicate consumers divide their food spending equally between food service and retail and that eating trends typically start in food service and eventually influence consumer purchasing patterns at retail, the beef checkoff is targeting the approximately 945,000 food service locations in the U.S. — approximately 27 units for every grocery store.

"The checkoff recognizes how important the restaurant landscape is to the livelihood of the industry; therefore, checkoff dollars are being invested to promote all beef, with special emphasis on middle meats," says Bill Jackson Oakdale, Calif., and chairman of the industry’s food service committee. "In 2008, beef wholesale purchases by all foodservice segments totaled $26.3 billion — that’s more than 8 billion lbs. of beef or almost half the beef sold in the United States! What an opportunity for the checkoff to have some impact."

Revised promotional efforts now include the BEEFlexible Ad Campaign, which promotes the power of beef’s versatility across the menu landscape and is currently ranked the #1 advertising campaign in food service. Each ad contains a "call to action" directing readers to a web site designed specifically for food service professionals. Peers recently recognized its success as the campaign received a National "Best of NAMA" Award.

Food service is suffering far less than other industries, so the checkoff’s revised tactical plan to promote middle meats is a sort of stimulus plan for the food service channel, Mr. Jackson said. "As a proactive measure for tougher economic times, another ad campaign called ‘Beef Profit Power’ was launched in conjunction with the BEEFlexible campaign. This Profit Power campaign spotlights a series of compelling statistics that emphasize just how profitable beef can be for food service operators."

The beef checkoff partnered with Golden Corral in The Beef Lovers Promotion to extend these promotions. This promotion ran in all 485 Golden Corral restaurants in 41 states from Oct. 20 through Dec. 31, 2008, during a period of softening steak sales. It is being credited for moving almost 14 million lbs. of brisket, shoulder clod, beef flats and sirloin.