The hunt for new sources of sales is leading several of the restaurant industry’s largest chains into alien territory and surprising competitive matchups. Who’d have thought Domino’s would poke a toe into Target’s turf, or that TGI Fridays would vie in the same channel as Union Square Cafe?
Here’s some of the novel ground that’s being explored.
Domino’s wedding registry
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the pizza-delivery giant announced it was adding an online registry for couples who would welcome food deliveries as wedding gifts, before, during or after vows are exchanged. Well-wishers can skip the blender or matching towels and instead pop for a bachelorette-party catering package ($60), a wedding night snack ($25) or a post-ceremony Excuse Not to Cook treat ($20). The most expensive option is the Dancing With My Slice special, a $100 delivery of pizza for guests who are still ready to party when the reception ends.
TGI Fridays joins OpenTable
The granddaddy of the casual-dining segment claims to be the first nationwide chain to accept reservations through OpenTable, now a must-have service for most independents. Consumers hunting for a last-minute Valentine’s Day reservation can check the availability of tables at their nearest Friday’s and reserve seats without speaking with a person.
Friday’s is sweetening the appeal by offering bottles of wine at half price through tomorrow night.
McDonald’s crabmeat sandwich
The quick-service giant is making a quantum leap from its Filet-O-Fish sandwich by testing a crabmeat sandwich at four restaurants in San Francisco. The five-inch-long, hero-like sandwich features snow crab and sells for $8.99.
Just as noticeable is the name: the McDonald’s Crab Sandwich, not something with a “McD” in front of it.
The test was announced a few weeks before Lent, a time when seafood sales usually spike.