How to Fight Rising Food Prices with These Affordable Substitutions

Seasoned Shirt Steak

Why is food getting more expensive? While disruptions to the supply chain due to coronavirus are partially to blame, rising food costs have been a problem for restaurant owners for years. Here’s how to fight rising food prices with clever, affordable substitutions.

Substitute Cheaper Cuts of Meat

With meat prices so high, it can be hard to turn a profit on meat dishes without turning diners off with high menu prices. Keep menu items affordable and profitable by offering cheaper cuts of meat. If your signature dish incorporates a filet, for example, it might be time to add a delicious shirt steak to the menu. You can also use chicken thighs, rather than chicken breasts, for stir fries and salads.

Stretch Your Meat with Lentils

While meat prices were already skyrocketing in the US, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused even more price increases for everything from beef to chicken. In addition to swapping out expensive cuts of meats, it might also make sense to stretch your meat by adding cooked lentils. This strategy works especially well if you’re making hamburgers, meatloaf, taco meat, chili, or meat sauce.

Don’t be Afraid of Frozen Food

While having fresh ingredients is important to executive chefs and diners alike, not all frozen food is created equal. In fact, using frozen berries and vegetables in the off-season is a great way to save money. Plus, when fruits and veggies are flash frozen at peak ripeness, they last longer and retain more nutrients, so you’ll have less food waste without sacrificing the health benefits. 

Use Dried Mushrooms

Fresh doesn’t always mean better. In addition to being more affordable that fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms last longer, so they’re less likely to go bad before you have a chance to use them. Afraid of the way they look? Simply soak them in some water and they’ll plump right back to their natural form.

Swap Out Spices

While many of your restaurant dishes likely have their own signature spice blend, there are certain spice substitutions you can make that can reduce your menu costs and increase restaurant profitability. You might, for example, try subbing turmeric for saffron, since saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.

Go Seasonal

While having a seasonal menu is great for combatting rising food prices and reducing food waste, you don’t need a completely new menu for each season to thrive. You might, for example, serve “seasonal vegetables” as a side option for your entrees, that way, you have the flexibility to use whatever affordable vegetables are in season. Looking to fight rising food prices by changing your wholesale food provider? McDonald Wholesale offers ingredients from over 800 quality food vendors, including everything from nationally-branded products to the highest-quality local food brands. Contact us today to become a customer for life. In the meantime, check out our foodservice blog, where we cover everything from how to improve your restaurant profit margin during COVID to our guide to no-contact curbside takeout and food delivery.

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