Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Beef O’Brady’s Two Steps Forward with a View


The trend is your friend, consider that pre-pandemic shut down, Beef ‘O’Brady’s off-premise business was a little less than average for the restaurant sector.  Then when the shutdown arrived like everyone else it surged from about 10% of sales to a peak of 80% soon after according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Beef ‘O’Brady’s COO, Scott SirLouis, stated, “We had to pivot really fast to keep our corporate stores and franchisees going,”…  “Everybody really came together and got creative, setting up tents in the parking lots with banners directing customers to curbside pickup.”

The race to get up to speed with not easy or pretty according to Johnson, that’s not a bad thing it’s just life.  Beef ‘O’Brady’s after tapping all of its stock of white foam clamshells, they eventually decided to upgrading to black plastic clamshells with clear tops.

It’s not just that easy, there was no consistency in the supply, said SirLouis, and even though the makeshift carryout setup was doing the job, “we realized if we were to keep our off-premise momentum, we had to get better at all aspects.”

Thus, SirLouis got together with his teams to figure out a better way to approach forced change while looking a customer ahead. That’s when “Beef 's on Demand” was born. It’s a separate brand with its own logo, packaging and scaled-back menu.  More sandwiches are on offer, along with other foods that travel well. Simple, fresh, fast giving the meeting the need-set and mind-set of today’s consumer.

SirLouis continued, “We realized that 74% of everything we sell is fried or comes with fried sides, and the plastic clamshells were ill-suited for these foods. So, he and his team brought in packaging from many of their competitors, including Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Outback and Chili’s. “One day, we had a huge table filled with takeout french fries from all these chains,” he said.

Beef ‘O’Brady’s decided to go with a cardboard clamshell with no inner coating—it retained the heat well and didn’t sweat, keeping the fries crisp, said SirLouis. It’s a stock container from an existing packaging manufacturer that the chain brands with the “Beef's on Demand” logo.

“Since we’re not a large company, we don’t have the volume to work with a supplier to create a custom package,” he added. Not to worry, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is keeping a smaller supply of the plastic clamshells for items such as wings and entrees, the new cardboard containers are actually less expensive. “It comes to about a $4,000 savings in packaging per location,” said SirLouis. 

The customer is dynamic, it was time that Beef ‘O’ Brady’s be dynamic as well. “The chain also purchased plastic portion cups for sauces, since the restaurants are now packing the sauce separately instead of putting it on the items. The chain is currently working with a bag manufacturer to source a plastic or paper bag that can hold the new packaging. The new cardboard clamshells were tearing the old bags in transit, SirLouis stated.

Looking a customer ahead Beef's on Demand will continue as both a curbside and third-party delivery program. “We tried self-delivery in the beginning, but eventually backed off,” SirLouis said. “From a cash flow perspective, we need more volume to do self-delivery.”  

With, off-premise business is holding steady at about 25%, the question becomes can we now hold on to that off-premise business? Johnson thinks that most restaurants can maintain those takeout sales as U.S. consumers, want the ability to make contactless payment is a priority.

In fact, 61% of consumers saying they now prefer to make purchases from businesses that accept contactless payments.  As of November 2020, 45% of Americans prefer to view the menu, order, and pay with their phone rather than interact with waitstaff technology matters and consumer touchpoint still rule the day according to Johnson.

Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit GrocerantGuru.com for more information or contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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