Chili’s may not understand the consumer as well as they think. When outlining 5 new tactics with a collective goal too “out-fast fast-casual” it was clear Chili’s thinks their customers migrated from “Casual dining” to “Fast Casual” dining. What they did get right was the Chili’s customers had migrated. They are not eating less, they have moved not to “Fast Casual” rather much of their target market has migrated to new non-traditional points of fresh prepared food distribution. Yes, the Grocerant Niche.
Chili’s 5 tactical customer focused task collectively reflect chain restaurant strategies that were very effective in the late 1990’s, 2000’s and some today. However on whole they reflect more of what a brand meant yesterday than a successful brand will look like tomorrow. Chili’s 5 tactics are:
1. The chain is refreshing its look, with a system-wide reimaging of company-owned U.S. locations to be completed in fiscal 2015.
2. Chili’s is increasing media spend where it had lost its share of voice, particularly in national television.
3. Technology represents a third priority for the chain, led by new tabletop media tablets that will be rolled out to all company-owned restaurants by June.
4. Culinary innovation, outlined how it offers opportunities to reach what Chili’s called its “new school guests,” the lapsed casual-dining users who are drawn to the freshness and relevance found in successful fast-casual brands
5. Chili’s is focusing on its off-premise platforms of large-order delivery and to-go options.
Don’t get me wrong I do think that collectively that will help in bring some relevance to the Chili’s brand. The customer that has moved / migrated into new non-traditional avenues of distribution may stop back by but the long term attributes that drew them away in the first place have not yet been addressed.
What is required for customer relevance today? Here is what we think. The customer is looking for platform of convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization that edifies a social personalized setting. Think Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing.
Foodservice Solutions® specializes the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Fresh Prepared Food niche aka the Grocerant niche. www.FoodserviceSolutions.us We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy