From being the shunned protein that most people steer clear of, it has, over the past few years, managed to pave its way back to American restaurants’ menus. It has proven to be a useful addition to customers’ menu options during these inflationary times, other than its demonstrated versatility in restaurant chefs’ kitchens.
Pork is now everywhere, they say. It’s present in our entrees, side plates and appetizers. Subway has its BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, while Chipotle Mexican Grill has made their own “responsible” version of this protein in their Carnitas Burrito.
And it’s said to be perfect when paired with other menu items.
Technomic’s senior consultant Mathew Mandeltort says that barbequed pork, when paired with burgers, is what customers label as “absolute indulgence” when dining out. “And bacons,” he continues, “add a superb complexity and flavor to items that it often goes with—like how KFC used it to add more excitement to their KFC Famous Bowls.”
The chefs of Panera Bread, in their elegant chef clothing, also made their own chicken and pork combination with their Cuban Chicken Panini, where they mixed all-natural chicken with smoked, lean ham on their focaccia. This goes the same with Atlanta Bread Company’s Cubano Porkloin Panini.
“Pork happens to be a wonderful enhancement to chicken,” says Mandeltort.
Technomic Menu Monitor’s director Bernadette Noone attests to this, too, as she reported that bacon and chicken combinations have exceeded a yearly growth percentage of 7%. Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Mazzio’s serves pizza that is every meat and chicken lover’s dream: bacon, various kinds of sausages, chicken and pepperoni in deep pan or thin pizza crusts.
We can also think about Quiznos offering Chicken Carbonara Sub-Sandwich as LTO’s (limited time offer) in their over 4,000 locations across the U.S. Made with chicken, bacon, mushrooms and their specialty rich, creamy Alfredo sauce, the sandwich is a hit among its customers. Then we have Samuel Mancino’s, which operates in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, as they offer their Chicken Bacon Delight—bacon, chicken breast, cheddar, mozzarella, onions and a bit of garlic.
Salt Lake City, Utah-based Apple Spice Junction features Chicken and Ribs, an entrée that presents a side-by-side combination of St. Louis style Pork Ribs coated in tangy barbeque sauce and grilled chicken breast.
And a lot more restaurants chefs, in cool chef clothing, mix their pork with shellfish and beef, too. Other than providing a balance on price positioning as compared to these other types of protein, pork, surprisingly, is the health-conscious consumers’ better option for their daily protein requirement.