Sweetgreen Debuts Caramelized Garlic Steak to Expand Dinner Sales

Sweetgreen introduces its first-ever red meat option, caramelized garlic steak, to attract new customers and boost evening sales. The premium protein option is available in three new set entrées and can be added to custom dishes, with prices ranging from $16.15 to $17.15.

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Sweetgreen Debuts Caramelized Garlic Steak to Expand Dinner Sales

Sweetgreen Debuts Caramelized Garlic Steak to Expand Dinner Sales

Sweetgreen, the popular salad chain with over 225 locations, has introduced its first-ever red meat option, caramelized garlic steak, in a bid to attract new customers and boost evening sales. The steak, seasoned with a garlic spice blend and roasted to achieve a "deep caramelized char on the outside and a juicy center on the inside," is available in three new set entrées and can also be added to custom dishes.

Why this matters: The introduction of steak at Sweetgreen marks a significant shift in the fast-casual dining industry, as chains adapt to changing consumer preferences and seek to expand their customer base. This move could have broader implications for the industry, as other chains may follow suit and incorporate more premium protein options to stay competitive.

The caramelized garlic steak, finished with olive oil and herbs to evoke classic steakhouse flavors, comes with a premium price tag. At a Manhattan location, the steak entrées range from $16.15 to $17.15, while adding the steak to another set entrée or custom bowl costs $6.45, making it Sweetgreen's most expensive meat option yet.

During a test run in Boston in February, the steak quickly became a "dinnertime favorite," being included in nearly one in five dinner orders and exceeding Sweetgreen's expectations with customers returning specifically to order it again. CEO Jonathan Neman believes the steak will not only drive dinner sales but also expand the chain's customer base, as many fast-casual diners require a meat option.

The introduction of steak, however, raises questions about Sweetgreen's sustainability goals, given beef's substantial carbon footprint. The chain claims the cows used for the steak are grass-fed, pasture-raised, and sourced primarily from farms in Australia and New Zealand that adhere to regenerative farming principles. Sweetgreen aims to become carbon neutral by 2027.

Sweetgreen generates the majority of its revenue from lunchtime trade, with dinner orders accounting for approximately 35% of its business. The chain revamped its protein plates range in the fall to drive evening sales. The addition of caramelized garlic steak marks a significant step in Sweetgreen's efforts to expand its customer base and boost dinner sales, while also navigating the challenges of maintaining its sustainability commitments.

Key Takeaways

  • Sweetgreen introduces caramelized garlic steak, its first-ever red meat option.
  • The premium steak option aims to attract new customers and boost evening sales.
  • The steak is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows from Australia and New Zealand.
  • The addition of steak raises questions about Sweetgreen's sustainability goals.
  • The chain aims to become carbon neutral by 2027 despite the environmental impact of beef.