The phrase 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 at one time, 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 contend with these guys?” Which as a regional player going toe to toe with billion-dollar brands.
“We felt like we could beat them in value,” he says.
That might seem counter intuitive initially. 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 it was 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, along with LTOs that infused complexity into operations and muddied the ROI of deep discounts. It had been, in a great deal of ways, an era when casual chains drifted from their core principles seeking to appeal to a new generation of clients we didn’t quite understand yet. The “all-things-to-all-people” aftershock of attempting to not get left behind when consumer preference shifts but hasn’t solidified yet.
Elliott says Beef ‘O’ Brady’s saw this unfolding and made a decision to carve out a niche market 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 be they were leaving from this and 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, along with other offers. Yet there remains a change, he says. “They practice it over a promotional basis,” Elliott says. “It exists in our restaurants every day of every week and that we support that all through the year with a lot more promotions to give it some top spin. But our value is actually all day, every day.”
“I think the difference is should you value you can’t get it done intermittently,” he adds. “It must be element of your DNA.”
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s daily value continues to be key to its resurgence. Notably, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s has taken almost no price recently, unlike many chains trying to take advantage of wage growth and cover for traffic loss. That’s just not who Beef ‘O’ Brady’s customer is, however. They’re price conscious families that want a great deal. And that’s not just a brand promise Elliott is willing to compromise on.
Here’s an illustration of this how serious is beef o bradys open today is on the subject: Franchisees can’t set their particular prices thanks to an alternative POS system corporate installed.
But the daily deals would be the foundation. They work, Elliott says, simply because they don’t change in purpose. Taco Tuesdays, as an example, have operate a $5.99 price for five straight years. Burger Mondays (exactly the same 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 near future.
“The franchises are after me,” Elliott jokes. “They think we should take price on these items. And I’m saying, glance at the results, guys. Glance at the repeat visits that we’re getting on nowadays of each week. If we eyoaqm sit tight, we continue to separate ourselves from those who continue to take price.”
“If you do that,” he adds, “all of sudden your daily deal has stopped being an agreement. It’s just like anything else. We’ve had our infernal debates concerning this but we’ve been consistent to separate ourselves from your competitors, and also 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.