Free Web Resources Articles - My Overview on Ottawa Restaurants

by DARRYL MORROW - Date: 2009-11-06 - Word Count: 683 Share This!

After years of waning sales and diminished foot traffic, family dining is on the brink of a resurgence, thanks to some aggressive marketing, menu re-engineering and an increased focus on providing value to consumers, according to Technomic, the Chicago-based marketing research firm.
Recent data indicates the segment is well positioned for renewed growth, especially in comparison to casual dining. Of 1,500 people surveyed, 58 percent of consumers said family dining provided good value for the money, compared with 32 percent for casual dining; approximately 76 percent said the food at family restaurants was something their kids would eat, compared with 56 percent for casual dining; and 43 percent said family restaurants offered kid-
The top eight chains, including IHOP, Denny's, Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans Restaurants and others posted sales of about $10.7 billion for their most recently ended fiscal years, up slightly from $10.62 billion a year earlier, according to Nation's Restaurant News' 2009 Top 100 census.
"These restaurants are offering broad menus, have attractive price points and a reasonably comfortable environment that is child and family friendly," Paul said. "I think they have awakened to the fact that they have an opportunity here. Casual dining is hurting and they can get some of those customers who are looking for both quality and value."
Recession-weary consumers are seeking value more aggressively when they dine out, and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is happy to oblige, Mike Woodhouse, chief executive of the 588-nnit, Lebanon, Tenn.-based chain, recently told Nation's Restaurant News.
"The customer has less money to spend, so he or she is more careful when they do spend it, more careful at getting the best deal," Woodhouse said. According to Technomic's Paul, higher check averages and overexpansion have been the main reasons for the casual-dining sector's woes in during the recession.
"Casual dining got awfully pricey for what it was delivering to consumers," he said. "It also overbuilt lots of stores. That hasn't happened in family dining. The higher the price point or check average, the poorer the business has become."
Mark Chmiel, chief marketing officer for 1,500-unit Denny's Corp. of Spartanburg, S.C., agreed that the recession has put a premium on value for many consumers.
"They're looking for everyday affordability when going out to eat, and casual dining is at the higher end when it comes to check average. Earlier this month, Denny's introduced its new Better Burger, a 6.5-onnce grilled burger served on a toasted sesame bun and topped with melted cheese, shredded lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and sliced red onion. The items, which would fall into the meat and griddle categories, will be priced between $4.99 and $5.99 each, Chmiel said.
In August, Cracker Barrel rolled out a series of limited-time offerings in celebration of the chain's 40th anniversary. Those items included several breakfast offerings and entree salads for the lunch daypart. It's about staying relevant, but also consistent, Woodhouse said.
"We're looking back at some of our traditional offerings, but at the same time we're also going to a little bit of a different place. We're offering some healthier items.
"We want to be relevant, but also stay true to what our guests expect from us. We're trying to pay attention to what everyone is looking for."
19 to roll out a variety of new entrees, including several lower-calorie items.
"We have 25 new menu items and are introducing more nutritionally friendly items in several categories," said Cheryl Ahlbrandt, senior vice president of marketing for Perkins/Marie Callender's, which is based in Memphis, Tenn. "We wanted to move to it based upon what is going on in the world. We're trying to evolve, give some contemporary choices."
In addition to modernizing its menus, family-dining chains also are working to attract a younger audience by recasting their late night business.
Chmiel said the program has helped Denny's regain some of the business lost to the extended drive-thru window hours of quick-service chains like Wendy's and Taco Bell.

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My Overview on Ottawa Restaurants

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