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Contents At A Glance

Chain LeaderEditorial Archives2005October — Contents

October 2005

Cover Story: Big Fish, Small Pond
After going public last year, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants now has the capital, as well as the cash flow, to ramp up expansion in an effort to be the first chain to dominate the fresh seafood niche on a national level. CEO Saed Mohseni plans to grow the Portland, Ore.-based chain prudently, opening the bulk of new units in existing markets as well as affluent suburbs and nontraditional locations. He believes the chain will grow to somewhere between 150 and 200 units in 32 markets by 2007.

Storyboard: Station Identification
Firehouse Subs has launched a new TV campaign that features actual firefighters talking about their profession, relationships and appetites, but they don’t mention Firehouse Subs. Instead, the public service announcement-style spots use voice-overs and text to convey the brand message so the firefighters don’t have to. The ads are part of a comprehensive branding campaign designed to help the Jacksonville, Fla.-based concept become one of the top five sub chains in the country.

Restauratour: Warming Trend
Denny’s has replaced its diner-style decor with a homey look featuring wood, earth tones and low lighting. Wood finishes, dark flooring, dark vinyl booth coverings and region-specific art are all meant to turn the bright space into an all-American family-dining concept rather than a theme concept. According to the company, check averages and unit volumes at the redesigned stores are higher than expected.

Toque Of The Town: Mountain Elevation
Corporate Chef and Director of Culinary Philip Butler has broadened Bugaboo Creek Steak House’s menu with more mountain-style comfort foods and value pricing. Butler has updated some core menu items and created seasonal specials while formalizing the chain’s menu-development and testing procedures. The company hopes that this approach will widen its customer base, perk up flat sales and increase frequency.

Multiconcept Operator: Ground Control
Anton Airfood has upgraded airport dining by bringing a mix of original concepts, local brands and national franchises to airports across the country. The company attributes its success to the extensive research it conducts of the local market before submitting proposals, resulting in higher revenues per enplaned passenger. As the third largest player in airport foodservice, Anton Airfood says it’s on track to generate $200 million in systemwide sales by 2008.

Technology: Full Speed Ahead
Chains around the country, including Bojangles’ and Damon’s Grill, have recently installed speed-inducing technology at drive-thrus and takeout counters that have boosted sales and reduced wait times. The technology ranges from a mid-tech combination of cameras and sensors to swipeless credit-card readers.

Editorial: A Lesson from Katrina

The Bernstein Perspective: In Katrina’s Wake

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