Turnaround report: McDonald’s new deal, Del Frisco’s Grille’s schizo pitch, Bob Evans’ cracked eggs

Bob Evans to crack some eggs

The struggling family chain intends to complement its push for off-premise orders at dinner and lunch with a grab this summer for more breakfast customers, a familiar prey to the all-day concept. In August, stores will introduce a new menu called Best in Class Breakfast. “This new menu will transition our system to 100 percent cracked-from-shell eggs and improved recipes for our hot cakes, omelets, and fresh sausage,” acting CEO Mark Hood told financial analysts.

Meanwhile, the company’s drive for takeout sales is delivering results, Hood said. The effort pivots on a new broasted chicken, which Bob Evans is promoting as fried chicken without the health detriments of frying.  Off-premise sales for the fourth-quarter ended April 24 rose 25 percent year-over-year, boosting takeout and catering revenues to 16 percent of the concept’s total sales.

Del Frisco’s Grille suffers schizophrenia

The lower-end growth vehicle of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group has been trying to shake off the impression that it’s costlier and more formal than it truly is, a perception that’s been a wet blanket on traffic. The challenges of delivering that message when you’re part of a high-end steak company were evident in this week’s birth announcement of the latest Del Frisco’s Grill, unit No. 18, in Plano, Texas.

The press announcement was accompanied by a picture of a signature meal for the new restaurant: A burger, side of fries and a milk shake, presented on a plain tray. Clearly, it suggests, this is no starched-linen place.  

del friscos grille burger shake fries

But then there’s the copy. The description noted such design features as a “presentation kitchen,” floor-to-ceiling windows and private dining for 20 people.

The menu items highlighted in the announcement did not exactly allay the impression that this might not be a burgers-and-fries sort of place. The cited options included Roasted Corn Bisque, Sole Francese and Prime Beef Stroganoff.

Suddenly, that burger and fries looked like something a customer had brought into the restaurant to see if he could borrow some Grey Poupon.

McDonald’s reaches beyond dollar deals

The mystery of what McDonald’s will flycast this summer to draw bargain-hunters was put to rest this week when the chain rolled out its new summer deal. As some had speculated, the lure is a double cheeseburger and a small order of fries, bundled together as a meal for $2.50. For the math-challenged, that’s more than what two Dollar Menu items would fetch. And, of course, a high-margin beverage is not part of the offer.

Simultaneously, the burger giant is demonstrating its devotion to localizing the menu. Stores in New England are bringing back a lobster, a signature of the region, for the first time in a decade. The lobster-salad-stuffed hot-dog roll sells for $7.99.

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