On the Border and Shoney’s turn back the clock with anniversary specials

As operators compete with deals to ease inflation, two full-service chains are rolling prices way back to their early days.
On the Border LTOs
On the Border is offering several 40-cent items to celebrate its 40th birthday. /Photo courtesy of On the Border.

On the Border turns 40 this year and Shoney’s has been around for 75 years, so both chains are playing off that nostalgia and taking the opportunity to promote their longevity. 

Consumers benefit from the dual celebrations with a price rollback.

Thursday marks On the Border’s official birthday, and the Mexican casual-dining brand is offering deep discounts on guest favorites. For starters, customers can top off a margarita with a 40-cent meltdown of Grand Marnier, Blue Curacao or gold or silver tequila. Sticking with the 40-year birthday theme, diners can add a 40-cent cup of queso or 40-cent sopapilla to their meal.

“More than anything, we wanted the 40-cent menu to be a big ‘thank you’ to our loyal guests,” said Edithann Ramey, CMO of Dallas-based On the Border. “It’s a menu full of celebratory items, starting with a meltdown to your ‘rita for big flavor, then enjoying our famous queso as an appetizer and finally topping it off with a birthday dessert.”

The celebration continues with a $6 Birthday ‘Rita—a frozen house margarita blended with a hint of birthday cake flavor and rimmed with confetti and sprinkles.

On the Border is also offering a limited-time lineup of popular items from its 1982 menu. These include Campfire Queso, Double-Stacked Club Quesadillas, Barbacoa Enchiladas, Steak & Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp and Honey-Chipotle Salmon.

LTOs have proven to be a winning strategy for On the Border, Ramey told Restaurant Business.  The chain competes in both the Mexican and casual-dining arenas, and items like a Mexican Pizza, Tres Leches Cake and Loaded Queso Burger bring in people from both those sectors.

On the Border falls into the millennial generation, but Shoney’s is a bonafide Baby Boomer, born in 1947 in Charleston, West Virginia. Although the iconic family-dining chain has had its ups and downs over the years, it was purchased by David Davoudpour in 2007 and he’s been on a mission to reinvigorate the concept. Shoney’s is now based in Nashville and operates in 16 states.

While Davoudpour’s focus is on the future, he’s capitalizing on the chain’s heritage for its 75th anniversary. The Southern-style restaurant concept aligned with another Southern brand—Coca Cola—to bring back the Coke Float. The limited-time fountain treat features vanilla ice cream atop a glass of cola.  

coke float

Shoney's teamed up with Coca-Cola to launch a commerative Coke Float. /Photo courtesy of Shoney's

To play up value on this occasion, Shoney’s is also promoting a “Two for Tuesdays” deal. Two of the restaurants’ fresh food bars will be offered for $19.47 every Tuesday through the end of 2022. And all-you-can eat french fries will be commemoratively priced at 75 cents.

"This milestone and significant anniversary are a celebration of fresh food, our collective families and communities and team members,” Davoudpour said in a statement. “Everyone has a fond Shoney's memory. It is our job to make sure we create new ones, starting today, with special offers that will last until the end of this year.”


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