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Bravo Brio leans into new menus as salve for slipping sales

brio tuscan grille flatbread

After announcing that it would soon switch to fresh pasta and ricotta made in-house, Bravo Brio is taking an even more aggressive approach to upgrading the menus at its two Italian chains, making those revisions a linchpin in the restaurant group’s recent turnaround efforts.

The new menu at Bravo restaurants shows a more “culinary-forward focus,” CEO Brian O’Malley told analysts Monday. It contains 18 new menu items and features a reconfigured layout that puts guests’ favorite dishes—as well as the freshly debuted items—front and center.

The Brio brand will see a “similar revolution” in regards to its menu, O’Malley said, one that hearkens back to the chain’s chophouse roots and allow guests greater latitude for customization.

Both menus are currently in the testing phase, but O’Malley said customer and employee feedback has so far been positive.

The group’s recent push toward authenticity is driven by its desire to boost appeal with millennial diners, he noted.

Bravo Brio in February announced that it could close poorly performing units across its Bravo and Brio brands as part of the turnaround plan aired at that time, which also included additional staff training and remodels of older units. 

Comps at Bravo Brio continued their downward trend during the first quarter of 2016, slipping 2.8 percent year over year. Traffic took a slightly larger dive, falling 3 percent.

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