Kitchen tweaks drive much-needed volume recovery for Frankie & Benny’s

Frankie & Benny’s claims its 260 branches have re-found their competitiveness following extensive menu restructuring and a facelift of the brand in the market.

The chain’s parent company, The Restaurant Group, was given a wake-up call two years ago when a review it carried out concluded that the brand had lost “significant value credentials”.

Over the last 12 months it has gone back to the drawing board to restore its USPs, make its offer more distinctive to its core family audience and refresh its brand identity to attract back lapsed customers.

It has also examined the structure of its menus, which has ultimately led to its entry-level main courses being lowered by 25% and overall dishes by 7% on average.

“In January [2017] we re-introduced a £9.95 two-course fixed price menu, our cheapest fixed price menu for six years,” the company said. “We trialled and subsequently launched our new, significantly better value core menu in two waves in March and May. Drawing on customer insight, we launched an optimised version of this menu in October with main course entry prices 26% lower than the menu we started the year with, and like-for-like dish prices reduced by 7% on average, positioning our offering as highly competitively priced.”

The chain, which is the largest part of The Restaurant Group, has also made other changes with regards to its kitchen.

This includes deepening the distinctiveness of its offer by investing in the quality of ingredients, upgrading its menus to align with its core family audience and introducing new dishes that have proved popular, such as its new hot dog range and a steakhouse salad which has become its best-selling salad.

Last summer it launched a new kids’ menu, as well as a revamped breakfast menu featuring a broader range of healthy options and a tailored kids offering. Its menu will be extended further in the coming months with new vegetarian, vegan and dessert dishes.

Towards the end of the year, Frankie & Benny’s commenced roll-out of a refreshed, more contemporary brand look and feel which will be represented across all brand touchpoints. It is trialling a pilot ‘capital refresh’ across 10 of its sites which it will learn from and optimise before making a decision on whether to roll-out more widely.

The firm claims that the proposition changes are driving improving volume momentum. “Our performance suggests that we are taking volume share, with market data showing declining restaurant like-for-like sales over the last six months, in spite of significant price increases by our competitors,” it said.

“Whilst we are pleased with our progress, we are not complacent. In the current year we will be launching an extended range of healthy dishes across our menus, upgrading our vegetarian and vegan options and introducing a redesigned desserts range. Alongside these initiatives, we will continue to improve the quality of our ingredients.”

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