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Q & A: Steakhouse Side Dishes

Q: With all the pressures on getting customers to come back more frequently, and maintain or reduce food costs, do you have any suggestions for our steak house?
A: Take your cues from the big boys: Morton’s Ruth Chris, Del Frisco, etc. or creative chains such as Lettuce Entertain You. Check out the sides menu at Wildfire in Chicago:

Sides

POTATOES AND VEGETABLES
REDSKIN MASHED POTATOES . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.95
STEAMED BROCCOLI - with herb butter . . . . . . . 3.95
WILD RICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.95
AU GRATIN POTATOES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.95
CREAMED SPINACH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.95
ROASTED VEGETABLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.95
GIANT BAKED POTATO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.95
BBQ RUBBED SWEET POTATO . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.95
TRADITIONAL MAC & CHEESE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.95
WOOD ROASTED MUSHROOM CAPS . . . . . . 5.95
CHEDDAR DOUBLE STUFFED POTATO . . . . . . . 5.95

ACCOMPANIMENTS
All dinners served with your choice of:
REDSKIN MASHED POTATOES • WILD RICEAU GRATIN POTATOES • CREAMED SPINACHROASTED VEGETABLES • FRENCH FRIESBROCCOLI WITH HERB BUTTER~ OR ~BBQ RUBBED SWEET POTATO . . . . . . . . . ADD 1.95
GIANT BAKED POTATO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ADD 1.95
TRADITIONAL MAC & CHEESE . . . . . . . . . ADD 1.95
WOOD ROASTED MUSHROOM CAPS. . . . . . ADD 2.95
CHEDDAR DOUBLE STUFFED POTATO . . . ADD 2.95
WILDFIRE OFFERS A GLUTEN FREE

What they all have in common is an extensive side dish selection to offset the cost of the protein, or to keep from having to raise entrée prices and chase away your regulars.  Count the number of potatoes from this menu above.  You know that nearly every single one is simple to prepare and has a terrific food cost.  In this economy, train your waitstaff to offer to spilt the sides or encourage ordering several and serve “family style” or shared so the customer orders a side instead of saying “oh, that’s too much for me to eat”.