The Restaurant Group has put a halt on new roll-outs – and by definition the kitchens that go with it – of further Coast to Coast sites.
The company said the American-themed restaurant and bar business has suffered “extreme declines” in like-for-like sales for the past two years and it would now seek to re-position the brand towards a focus on steaks and burgers.
“We are developing a plan for how this new proposition will be delivered. In the meantime roll out of further Coast to Coast sites is suspended until we have clear evidence this new proposition is working,” the company stated.
TRG launched Coast to Coast six years ago and the business showed promising early trading, leading to an acceleration in the opening programme, peaking at 23 restaurants. However, since 2014 the brand has seen like-for-like sales fall.
“The brand positioning has become progressively more premium, which has been at odds with the typical customer missions when visiting out-of-town locations,” the company admitted.
“As with our other Leisure brands, poor price and menu decisions have been made, although the extent of the changes within Coast to Coast have been more pronounced, with a corresponding impact on performance.”
Despite the difficulties it has encountered, TRG said it sees an opportunity to re-position the brand towards a focus on steaks and burgers, both of which are growing market segments and yet remain relatively unpenetrated in its current locations.
Its offer will be substantially more affordable, with a compelling range and quality ingredients.
Although this will inevitably result in lower gross margins, TRG believes it will be offset by increased volume of covers.
“The more focused offering will also facilitate a stronger brand identity and to maximise its potential we expect to invest in marketing alongside some capital expenditure to make clear the proposition has changed,” it said.