BY Elizabeth Carlson (’17)
An Adweek article I recently read was quite interesting and relatable to industry trends and dining habits.
The title of the article is “Why America’s Aging Casual-Dining Chains are Quietly Building Fast-Casual Restaurants.” The main purpose of the article was to show that some of the well-known restaurants want to reach out to a younger demographic with new restaurants. Instead of changing the current restaurant styles, they have created new restaurants all together.
This concept, according to the article, is called “fast casual,” meaning a hybrid category that combines the innovative, scratch-made dishes found in chef-driven restaurants with the convenience and quicker turnaround times of fast food.
According to the article, Tony Roma’s, Denny’s and Cracker Barrel have had success with the opening a fast casual place for a younger demographic.
The article talks about Tony Roma’s, which was a chain restaurant that opened in Miami in 1972. Their popular dish was baby back ribs. This chain restaurant built a new restaurant to get a younger population called TR Fire Grill. What does the TR stand for? You guessed it: Tony Roma’s. This restaurant just opened and the only two locations are in Winter Park, Florida and Waikiki, Hawaii.
Denny’s created The Den. They have strategically placed this restaurant close to or on college campuses and have later hours than most restaurants. This is a strategic idea because they want to attract a younger/millennial demographic. They not only have breakfast food but also grilled food, and sandwiches.
Cracker Barrel created Holler & Dash. Their entire menu is based off of biscuits. They want to keep the Southern style but appeal to a different demographic. The chain only has a few locations open in the States: Tennessee, Florida and Alabama.
This could be the future of dining out. Sometimes restaurants need a fresh new appearance but don’t necessarily want to change the branding of the company. After a few years, restaurants may need to freshen up their logo a little bit. But fast casual chains are created to switch up the menu and genre of food served. That is hard to do for a restaurant that has been up and running for 50+ years.
Read the full article on Adweek.
Feature Image Credit: Unsplash
Elizabeth is a senior graphic design major and an advertising minor. When she is not in the classroom, she is Assistant Design Editor for The Wood Word, or she is playing for the women’s soccer team at Marywood.