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Del Frisco’s reshuffles management

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group has replaced the president of its challenged Del Frisco’s Grille group and eliminated the CMO post at all three of its concepts in the latest move by the steakhouse operator to reinvigorate sales.

Brandon Coleman was promoted to president of Del Frisco’s Grille, succeeding Sarah McAloon, who had only been in the post since April. The reason for McAloon’s departure was not revealed, but DFRG said she is no longer with the company.

Coleman had been CMO of Del Frisco’s Grille since December.

His vacated post will not be filled. Going forward, marketing responsibilities for that chain and DFRG’s two other concepts, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle and Sullivan’s, will be handled by their respective brand presidents.

In announcing the promotion on Friday, DFRG CEO Norm Abdallah noted that Coleman played a key role in a sweeping consumer research project that was undertaken earlier this year to identify ways of rejuvenating the Grille concept.

Among the insights yielded by the project was an indication that the Grille’s footprint could be expanded “to a multiple of where it is today,” Coleman told investment advisors in July.

He also revealed that the 23-restaurant Grille group could bump up comparable sales 2% by raising awareness of the brand.

The Grille is the lowest-priced of DFRG’s three concepts. Among its challenges has been countering the impression that the brand is a special-occasion sort of place, instead of a place to visit frequently. The research revealed that comps could be boosted 20% by increasing the frequency of current guests.

Among the steps recently taken to alter perceptions was a change in the menu.

The Grille posted a 1.2% gain in traffic for the second quarter ended June 13. That increase was offset by a 4.4% slide in the concept’s average check, yielding a 3.2% decline in same-store sales.

Last week’s personnel changes were the latest move by DFRG to regain its traction. During the second quarter, the company eliminated lunch service at seven Double Eagle restaurants.

DFRG operates 53 restaurants in total.

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