This year marks a significant shift in the way that the beef checkoff is working with retail and foodservice operators to build beef demand. The foodservice and retail influencer program (formerly known as Channel Marketing and B2B Marketing), has taken a new approach in how it supports the $682 billion foodservice segment with marketing and selling beef. The program is now focused on building deep, valuable relationships with key operators, suppliers and distributors that significantly impact beef demand and sales. Once identified, the checkoff team offers the partner custom, experiential activities based on individual needs to showcase real-time solutions that can quickly transition into actionable results.

In August, the beef checkoff did just that.

Outwest Meat Company, a wholesale meat distributor serving the finest restaurants and hotel casinos in the greater Las Vegas area and part of US Foods’ Stock Yards, was looking to strengthen its existing customer relationships and build their knowledge of beef.

That’s where the beef checkoff came in.

In collaboration with the Oklahoma, California and Nevada Beef Councils, the beef checkoff created an in-depth beef education experience that Outwest Meat Company’s customers couldn’t get anywhere else. The event, “BEEFlexible: Vision, Value and Inspiration,” took place at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on Aug. 5. Nearly 75 customers attended to hear from a range of subject-matter experts on topics such as beef production, market conditions, menu trends, and new fabrication techniques for menu strategies.

Outwest Meat Company is a subsidiary of US Foods, one of America’s leading distributors. US Foods is Keeping Kitchens Cooking™ with its customer base of independent and multi-unit restaurants, healthcare entities, hospitality, including hotels and casinos, government and educational institutions.

“Everything we do focuses on bringing our customers superior products and offering unmatched customer service. This event provided a unique educational experience that helps our customers fuel their programs and businesses,” said Jerry Blanckaert, Division President, Outwest Meat Company/Stock Yards Las Vegas. “Feedback from the attendees showed that the event hit the mark on what we were trying to accomplish – bridging our customers’ knowledge gap about beef and showing our customers that Outwest is a company at the forefront of industry trends and one who can deliver actionable insights for their business.”

Following the event, Outwest received customer requests for more information on the beef cuts shown in the checkoff’s cutting demonstration. In addition, pre- and post-surveys showed a positive shift in attendees’ perceptions of beef’s value. Attendees reinforced they left the event with a greater knowledge of beef trends, a deeper understanding of beef supply and demand and more awareness and clarity surrounding modern beef production.

Clay Burtrum, a stocker and cow-calf operator from Stillwater, Okla., member of the Beef Promotion Operating Committee and chair of the checkoff’s nutrition & health subcommittee, experienced the event firsthand.

“The event puts checkoff resources, directly in the hands of those who sell beef to consumers, and those who we count on to build long-term demand for our product,” said Burtrum. “It was very rewarding to see our checkoff dollars at work to strengthen the relationships within the supply chain, particularly an influential foodservice purveyor that caters to the Las Vegas market.”

Following the August immersion experience, the beef checkoff will continue to work closely with the Outwest Meat Company on future initiatives. Additional events with targeted partners in the retail and foodservice sectors are scheduled to take place this fall, as each segment is a crucial gateway to bring new thinking for beef to market and consumers.

For more information, visit www.BeefFoodservice.com.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.