Beef prices are soaring. People are choosing to eat cheaper when they eat out. Diners are more often looking for a casual overall dining experience.
So what is a full-service steakhouse that is still trying to attract the right clientele and increase revenue to do in this situation? Downscale your upscale.
A great example of a restaurant already doing this in the marketplace is Del Frisco’s. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House is a fine dining concept known for the white tablecloth service and amazing (often higher-priced) steaks. In an effort to appeal to the every man, they recently debuted their new concept – Del Frisco’s Grille. The concept is simple – a more upscale casual feel, somewhere you can wear jeans and buy a (less expensive ) steak or burger, but you’re still getting a more upscale experience.
Appealing to the everyman is the goal. Not everyone can pay for high-priced steaks, but they still want the experience and a steak burger.
Fleming’s is also a great example of a steakhouse who is trying to downscale their upscale brand. They recently debuted their Paul Martin’s American Grill concept, which is a polished upscale casual restaurant with a focus on local and seasonal food. At the forefront of the menu are their all natural steaks and a few different burger options.
I feel this is a theme we will start to see more of in the next few years where fine dining national units will start to dwindle or evolve to become more upscale casual in order to appeal to a wider audience in the long run. To follow the trend, try ditching the white tablecloths!