Travelers want and support quality

Time on the road means a temporary surrender of the home kitchen, but thanks to restaurants committed to quality, you can still find the taste you want along the way.

Just driving by may not tell you enough, so plan ahead if you can. Pull over if you can’t, and open your cell phone to search the web or click on a travel program “app.”

Around the world, millions of travelers are reviewing and sharing their eating experiences, creating a culinary short list while encouraging others to do the same.

The 9,000 licensed Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) restaurants in North America have gained an edge, standing out for their focus on quality, says Steve Ringle, director of business development and analysis. The link was clear in a recent analysis of data from the mobile app Trip Advisor: the more CAB product a restaurant served, the higher its rating.

“Restaurants that draw that line to focus on quality, and commit to it at a high level, tend to meet and exceed consumer expectations,” says Ringle, who combs through marketplace statistics to find the logical next steps for the branded beef company.

This spring he was looking for evidence that eateries paying attention to quality maintain a better reputation; that’s when he came across the Trip Advisor ratings.

“If they were buying CAB to a very high level, they also tended to score higher for percent recommended on the site,” Ringle says.

Trip Advisor is the world’s most recognized travel site, allowing tourists to read customer reviews from other travel junkies regarding hotel accommodations, entertainment activities and dining experiences. Visited by an average 17.5 million users each month, mostly between the ages 25 to 64, it serves as a gatekeeper to current travel hotspots.

Based on the volume of all beef restaurants purchasing the brand from CAB partner distributors, CAB ranked them with 0- to 5-star ratings. Zero stars represent restaurants that buy less than 150 pounds per month while those buying at least 1,000 pounds of middle meats per month rate all five stars.

Restaurants need not be licensed to buy CAB, but they must be licensed to promote the fact.

Of the 729 5-star venues, 384 or 53% were licensed. Only 1,164 of 68,717 – less than 2% – of the no-star restaurants were licensed.

Most restaurants get 0 stars. Those that earn 5 stars do so by consistently buying a large volume of the most expensive cuts available…CAB sirloins, strips, ribeyes and tenderloins

“We would much rather have the 5-star restaurants licensed,” Ringle says.

Some steakhouses still manage only 0- to 1-star ratings with CAB, but the data suggests a route to greater success: as purchases increase, so will customer satisfaction as reported by users of Trip Advisor.

Even restaurants without a beef-based menu can make a quality steak go a long way for those customers who love the few beef items featured.

“Both Italian and seafood (Fig. 1) restaurants are buying our product in high volume and earning those high ratings,” says Ringle. “In fact, seafood accounts show a direct correlation, almost one to one.”

CAB-licensed steakhouses (Fig. 2) across the country have the same positive correlation, especially with middle meats, he adds.

The data show highly rated restaurants tend to serve more CAB entrees. Turning that around the other way, Ringle says many travelers set their web browsers to to find the best restaurants as they travel.