As the weather warms, folks stow away those winter clothes, opt for shorts and t-shirts, ready their summer plans, and blast out of the house as if cooped up for a year. Hm, sound familiar?

For several balmy months we have fun on the mind. We also have food on the mind. There’s just something about summer eats. Get your customers and diners full and energized for more fun. Staples of these summer dishes shine a sunny spotlight on center-of-plate options — those all-too-familiar foods right off the grill and plated as a main, a salad, in a taco, or in a burger. Customers crave ‘em.

But...with things as they are in the world, not all cuts are equal. Supply chain strains or shortages cause undue pressure on an operation, either through inventory or sky-rocketing prices that can bruise your profit margin or force higher prices than your customers want or expect. Don’t worry. We have you covered with creative options that often (but really shouldn’t!) take a back seat to the chicken wings, salmons, NY strips, and filet mignons of the world.

Red Wine-Marinated Flank Steak — Get the grilled steak taste for profit power with this one. Combine grilled herb-packed potatoes and chimichurri sauce (mild or spicy) on the side for dipping. This meat cut and prep also works as a premium salad option.

Cilantro and Soy-Marinated, Thin-Sliced Skirt Steak — Perfect for Asian concepts, this cut brings tons of “light” flavor and summer comfort. Similar to its flank steak cousin above, you get more profit for a steak offering. Consider it also as a specialty burger or steak sandwich.

Grilled Halibut — Halibut, or flounder, is a flavorful, light, and versatile fish...and at a significantly lower cost than salmon, depending on the type of salmon available. This fish falls apart and melts in your mouth! With the freshness of a chervil salad and carrot puree, you have full summer flavor on a plate.

Smoked Pork Shoulder — Uh, yes please. Pork shoulder is a cheaper pork option, but if done correctly (such as smoked and braised over a long period of time) you have a cut as rich and flavorful. After a long smoking process, separate the meat (it’ll fall apart) and serve with the POW! of Alabama white BBQ sauce for dipping. Consider adding this as part of an existing BBQ menu or summer-long special.

Blackened Catfish — If you’re looking for a more affordable fish taco option, look no further than catfish. This is not only better for price points, but the nutritional benefits will surprise customers. Don’t let catfish get a bad rap! With blackened seasoning and chipotle slaw, catfish tacos pack a tasty punch that’ll make customers ask — “who needs Mahi Mahi?”

Cod Fish and Chips — Yep, fish and chips. This pub option on a menu is easy as comfort food. The cod price point is always reasonable, and the dish is always attractive for those looking to refuel with a beer. Be sure to create a homemade tartar sauce packed with herbs as a way to up the flavors and create differentiation.

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