Thursday, April 18, 2013

Red Lobster Customer Migration Due To Policy Changes

Retail Food Consumer Discontinuity is in large part driven by the evolving consumer’s desire for new flavors, portion size, portability, price points, and time.  It is incumbent upon restaurant executives to monitor, change and offer what the consumers desire not necessarily what they offered in the past.

Consumers never take a step back in desire for customer service.  They may opt for a different venue with differentiation in service and other food attributes but they have defined service standards and never accept or take a step back.

Darden tested reduced hours for servers last year in order to reduce health care cost. It was a simple math that MBA’s leverage for better numbers on the bottom line what could go wrong.  CUSTOMERS could go wrong.  Due to an up-swell of customer complaints, media hyperbole, and employee discontent Darden back away from the test. 

MBA’s with a focus on accounting must have been at it again.  Ah using simple math to solve a problem. Well what could go wrong? You guessed it. CUSTOMERS could go wrong. Sandra Pedicini of the Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday; “Because of customer complaints, Red Lobster said Tuesday it is reversing a policy started last year that made servers wait on more tables.”

Customers accept legacy brand changes under the Halo of established brand values. Vertically integrating brand value changes must come under the direction of the brand manager not an account.  Customers demand that brands evolve. Restaurant chains must be mindful of how they do that and it must be within the value of the Halo of the brand.
In addition, another policy started at the same time that required everyone hired to wait tables to start out as lower-paid "service assistants" that policy also is being reversed.

Darden has correctly identified that the price, service, value equilibrium within the restaurant niche has changed.  Leveraging legacy benchmarks, syndicated studies and simple math is not the path to continued success today.  The metrics of success today have evolved.  Integrating transparency into the halo of the brand is one sure step to success today. Darden is doing that.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

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