Bob Evans Farms tries nightly deals
One of the challenges for a chain in turnaround mode is how to discount effectively. Will a price break lure new customers, or just decrease the tabs of loyal fans who would’ve visited anyway at full freight?
Bob Evans Farms admitted earlier this month that it flubbed the test. A recent flight of discounts did nothing but give steady customers a price break.
Now the family focused chain is experimenting with different ways of using value as a traffic lure. Stores in the brand’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio, are trying a rotating series of nightly specials, each priced at $8.99. There’s a different one for each night of the week. Tuesday, for instance, is all-you-can-eat spaghetti night, and Thursday’s bait is chicken parmesan.
The nightly specials test is in addition to the return to the menu of three-course bundled meals.
McDonald’s doesn’t have a lock on all-day breakfast
Meanwhile, Bob Evans reformulated its hot cakes and omelets, the latest change in a rolling revamp of its breakfast menu. The ongoing upgrade effort is helping sales of breakfast items throughout the business day, according to executives of the breakfast-heavy chain. They revealed that a breakfast item is now included on more than half of all guest tickets, an increase from 48.7 percent at the start of the company’s fiscal year.
Applebee’s hires a new ad agency
Step One in the recipe for most restaurant turnarounds is to fire the ad agency. Applebee’s took the alternative route of changing presidents—twice. But it caught up with convention this week, shifting its $165 million account from Crispin Porter to Barkeley in Kansas City, the town Applebee’s is about to leave. Barkeley has previously worked with Dairy Queen, Wingstop and Noodles & Company.
Farrell’s bounce-back chill
The Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour chain will hit an icy patch in its revival when a branch in Mission Viejo, Calif., closes after New Year’s Day. The concept’s relatively new owner, Parlour Enterprises, has vowed to find another location nearby that would be better suited to the business. The store it’s vacating measures 7,500 square feet. Farrell’s features a Gay Nineties theme, with servers in straw boaters serving whimsical ice cream concoctions with a splash of showmanship. Parlour has seven other locations in operation.