As part of an ongoing effort to support and promote U.S. beef steak as a delicious and enjoyable meal for Korean diners, USMEF-Korea recently conducted its second annual American Steak Week promotion. Funding support for this activity was provided by the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).
USMEF partnered with 18 restaurants for the two-week promotion, encouraging participating establishments to offer a high-quality U.S. steak meal accompanied by a promotional side menu item or food gift and a glass of wine. USMEF provided materials including printed menus, table tents and banners and developed a micro-website that contained educational information about how to enjoy American Steak Week.
Several popular restaurants taking part in the event created unique presentations for U.S. steaks, including:
- Six outlets of the Butcher’s Cut offered a side of grilled asparagus with their U.S. steak meals.
- The Eatry offered a shrimp topping to accompany its U.S. steak.
- Two outlets of GOO STK participated, with one offering a bottle of truffle oil and the other a bottle of olive oil with a U.S. steak meal.
- Turtle Grill and Bar served a special tomato gratin with mozzarella cheese.
- Barn Prime Steakhouse served a steak salad with shrimp for lunch and offered a special grilled asparagus and tomato with a U.S. steak dinner.
- Two outlets of The Steakhouse by VIPS offered a side of macaroni and cheese.
- Rib Steak served a grilled lobster tail topping with its U.S. steak meal.
- Kyungsung Steak had a special kimchi macaroni and cheese side item while Goom Steak served its U.S. steak with a fresh mozzarella green salad.
- La Cucina offered steak salad with asparagus, egg and caviar.
- Steak 595 offered a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad with its U.S. steak offering, along with ice cream for dessert.
All restaurants reported increased sales of U.S. beef during the promotion.
“American Steak Week has now been a great success for two years in a row,” said USMEF-Korea director Jihae Yang. “Steak is trending in Korean restaurants and we want consumers to know that U.S. beef will provide the best dining experience in terms of flavor and quality.”
Publicity surrounding American Steak Week was also a success. Press releases were distributed to Korean magazines and daily newspapers and generated significant coverage. Advertorials were placed in Chosun Ilbo, a leading Korean newspaper, highlighting key messages about U.S. beef. Another advertorial was placed in the magazine Luxury following the event. It included detailed information on the restaurants that participated in American Steak Week, images of U.S. steak being served and comments from several participating chefs.
Influential bloggers were also invited to a taste test of American Steak Week items prior to the event and encouraged to share their observations online. The event was also promoted on Facebook and the popular Korean social media site KakaoStory. Social media outreach connected to more than 89,000 consumers, generated more than 2,000 likes, 500 comments and 300 shares.
Growing popularity of U.S. steak is one of the factors driving an upward trend in beef exports to Korea. Through November, beef/beef variety meat exports to Korea in 2014 were up 14 percent in volume (to 107,147 metric tons) compared to the same period in 2013, while value surged 44 percent to $762.8 million.