Loin steaks were eaten by 67 consumers over a 15-wk period (n = 739 consumer observations) to determine the consumer acceptability of beef tenderness in the home and a "white table cloth" restaurant. Steaks were rated for tenderness, juiciness, flavor, and overall palatability on an 8-point scale. The acceptability levels for tenderness were established based on Warner-Bratzler shear (WBS) force values, tenderness ratings, and a chisquare analysis of the judgment of tenderness and overall acceptability by the same consumers in both the home and restaurant. Results based only on observations from consumers in Lubbock, TX indicated that the beef industry should target production of beef steaks that have a Warner-Bratzler shear force value of 4.1 kg or less to ensure high levels (98%) of consumer acceptability. Results suggest that an acceptable level of beef tenderness for consumers can be determined and WBS values can be used as criteria for determining which steaks will be considered acceptably tender to consumers before distribution to retail outlets. The beef industry needs to conduct a nationwide research study to determine whether the results from this study will apply to all U.S. beef consumers.