Carrabba’s Italian Grill president Michael Kappitt touched on a universal truth for restaurants. “We have competitors everywhere,” he says. But that’s where the generalizations end. There are four independents for every multi-unit Italian brand in the country.
Since The Cheesecake Factory outlined a plan to take full control of North Italia in October 2018, the brand has grown by four locations, and now has 18 across nine states. There are also first-to-market entries “coming soon” to Tennessee and North Carolina.
Beyond Meat’s IPO debut May 2 turned out to be a blockbuster event. It’s soared nearly 250 percent since to $87 per share, making it the most successful launch of 2019.What’s most interesting about the surge is the booming movement it suggests.
We’ve all heard the restaurant peril, “trying to become all things to all people.” But what if we looked at it another way. One of the dangers brands face, especially those with strong guest affinity, is the temptation to chase another restaurant’s core equities.
As far as failures go, Grimaldi’s wouldn’t mind repeating this one. When Eric Greenwald, the iconic pizza chain’s chief operating officer, helped launched the brand in Arizona 16 years ago, they strategically choose three spots to test the waters.
One of Olive Garden’s biggest menu moves in recent months wasn’t anything fresh or revolutionary. It was a bulked-up version of a classic—Chicken Alfredo, but now with 50 percent more chicken. This aligns with a broader value strategy for Olive Garden that’s also been super-sized lately.
Darden flagship Olive Garden hasn’t lacked for consistency. With same-store sales growth of 3.5 percent in the second quarter of fiscal 2019, revealed December 18, the classic 858-unit chain has reeled off 17 consecutive periods of positive gains.