Korean consumers gain enthusiasm for U.S. beef
A recent promotion funded in part with beef checkoff dollars featured U.S. short ribs in one of South Korea’s leading barbeque restaurant chains. Sonchugamagoll is particularly well-known for its popular “Galbi” (short rib) menu, and has a very influential presence in the Korean foodservice market. In 2007, it was named Korean Restaurant of the Year by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. To increase interest in U.S. beef, separate consumer giveaways were developed for Sonchugamagoll’s dine-in and takeout menus. For take-out consumers purchasing a 1.8 kg package of short ribs, a package of assorted organic lettuce was included free of charge. For the dine-in menu, any table purchasing a bone-in short rib and a flatiron steak received a complimentary set of organic flower tea. The promotion was offered April 13 through April 30. Despite some lingering concerns in Korea about U.S. beef, the promotion achieved outstanding sales results.
Sales of U.S. beef from the take-out menu increased by 84 percent, and by 77 percent from the table menu over a comparable 17-day period. The total volume of U.S. beef used increased by 136 percent compared to the previous month. “The take-out promotion was especially popular, as the supply of complimentary organic lettuce packs actually ran out before the promotion ended,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation Korea director Jiha Yang. “Songchugamagoll officials were very pleased with the consumer response and the sales results, and they are now much more confident about using U.S. beef.”