The word Beef ‘O’ Brady’s chief executive Chris Elliott uses to describe his 150-unit chain’s revitalization is “coalesce.” Picture half a dozen initiatives meeting at the table. Not all at once, but slow building over a five-year period that actually began with a competitive lightbulb going off.
Elliott, a former El Pollo Loco franchise CEO and Cinnabon and Church’s Chicken leader, took the reins during 2010. 4 years later, Elliott says, beef o bradys near me scoped its competitive set, brands like Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, and asked “How can we contest with these guys?” And this as being a regional player going toe to toe with billion-dollar brands.
“We felt like we might beat them in value,” he says.
That might seem counter intuitive at first. Casual giants steal share from independents and micro-chains by competing at scale. Typically marketing value more aggressively than small company’s budgets could ever allow. “They’ll probably spend more in a month, electronic media and stuff, than we’ll spend in a year,” Elliott says. That and weathering commodity storms with collective purchasing power.
But this is 2010, not 2019. Applebee’s strayed looking at the value-seeker perch and shifted in unfamiliar directions, like the wood-fired grills that launched in 2016. Inflated menus were commonplace, in addition to LTOs that infused complexity into operations and muddied the ROI of deep discounts. It had been, in a lot of ways, an era when casual chains drifted from their core principles trying to appeal to a new generation of clients we didn’t quite understand yet. The “all-things-to-all-people” aftershock of attempting never to get left behind when consumer preference shifts but hasn’t solidified yet.
Elliott says Beef ‘O’ Brady’s saw this unfolding and chose to carve out a distinct segment in an area many competitors weren’t-everyday value.
“They were kind of going in a different direction from value,” Elliott says of competitors. “And that’s whenever we said, ‘look, it becomes an area where we can compete.’ It just happened to become they were leaving from this so we were diving with it.”
Elliott admits those chains have come back to value, with Chili’s 3 for $10, Applebee’s all-you-can eat deals, Dollarita, as well as other offers. Yet there remains a change, he says. “They practice it on a promotional basis,” Elliott says. “It exists within our restaurants every day of the week so we support that all year round with additional promotions to give it some top spin. But our value is all day, every day.”
“I think the distinction is if you do value you can’t do it intermittently,” he adds. “It needs to be a part of your DNA.”
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s daily value has been key to its resurgence. Notably, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s has taken almost no price lately, unlike many chains trying to capitalize on wage growth and cover for traffic loss. That’s just not who Beef ‘O’ Brady’s customer is, however. They’re price conscious families who want a great deal. And that’s not really a brand promise Elliott is ready to compromise on.
Here’s an example of how serious beefobradys is on the subject: Franchisees can’t set their particular prices thanks to a different POS system corporate installed.
Nevertheless the daily deals would be the foundation. They work, Elliott says, simply because they don’t change in purpose. Taco Tuesdays, for instance, have manage a $5.99 price tag for five straight years. Burger Mondays (the identical price) hasn’t change, either, and isn’t anytime soon. Wing Wednesdays (varies by store), Fajita Thursdays ($9.99), and Surf & Turf Fridays ($12.99) complete the everyday value platform. And Elliott says they’re adding Saturday and Sunday deals in the future.
“The franchises are after me,” Elliott jokes. “They think we must take price on these things. And I’m saying, glance at the results, guys. Glance at the repeat visits that we’re getting on today of the week. Whenever we eyoaqm sit tight, we continue to separate ourselves from people who carry on and take price.”
“If you do that,” he adds, “all of sudden your everyday deal is no longer an arrangement. It’s just like everything else. We’ve had our infernal debates concerning this but we’ve been consistent to separate ourselves from the competitors, and to provide not fake value but real value.”
As Elliott says, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s current progress is the consequence of several changes, not one. Value was just the springboard.