We Always Try Our Best

The New Selling Point of American Catering Chain

Elmer Dills

Wow, sexy waitresses, a rich variety of beers and big televisions have become the restaurant’s three sharp weapons, attracting a large number of loyal diners-and of course their incomes are rising.

The New Selling Point of American Catering Chain

The New Selling Point of American Catering Chain

Franchise chain stores modelled on Hooters girls, such as Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, a sports bar chain themed on the ancient Celtic people in Europe, and Twin Peak, a mountaineering theme, have enjoyed rapid popularity in the past five years. At the same time, Brick House Tavern+Tap and boneddy’s house of smoke and other direct chain stores have also achieved great success in many states. In fact, such enterprises (often called “beauty restaurants”) are considered to be the best catering enterprises in the next few years.

The specific sales amount of such enterprises is still unclear, because they have always been included in the broad category of leisure catering, and privately held companies will not publicly release performance reports. However, the Hooters chain itself has been growing over the past few years with an average annual income of US$ 1 billion.

The beauty restaurant continues to grow in the economic depression, mainly relying on high-end food, bars with a rich variety of beers, large televisions showing various sports events, and waitresses dressed in tight jackets and shorts. However, the biggest characteristic of this kind of restaurant is actually what all successful catering enterprises have in common: quality service.

Why are such stores so popular? Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago food industry consultancy Technomic, said that they provide many male customers with care that they may not get at home. This is very important to many people and makes customers forget to return.

It is difficult to explain why these places which are strongly attractive to men did not catch fire in the past few years. Some people think that changes in policy restrictions or more open sexual concepts have made such restaurants more acceptable to the public. Others think that Hooters’ average sales in the past few years and franchise chain’s stagnation have caused entrepreneurs with similar ideas to lose confidence in the industry.

Ron Lynch, CEO of Tilted Kilt in Tempe, Arizona, believes that the reason why his idea is accepted by the public is because consumers are preparing to try something new.

“Friday’s and Chili’s-the menus and decorations of these stores are very similar because they are all competing for the same market. “Lynch said,” and our target is a completely different market. ”

This is the primary reason why Tilted Kilt attracts Lynch. In 2003, Harrah’s of las Vegas asked Mark DiMartino, who works in the catering industry, what good ideas he had for a store location in the Rio casino. Dimatino came up with a theme that combines Hooter girls and Scottish characteristics, and the restaurant is still using this concept. In 2005 lynch, then the regional developer of Schlotsky’s Deli, saw the store and was very interested in it, so he found dimatino to discuss the purchase of franchise chain rights. In 2006, Tilted Kilt already had three stores. It will double every year. Lynch expects 80 Tilted Kilt by the end of 2011, and another 70 new store franchise agreements are under negotiation.

Lynch said Kilt is not only a place for male diners to see beautiful women, but one of the company’s main product features is “passion to watch sports events”. In other words, the restaurant has more than 50-inch plasma televisions, bars offering at least 24 different brands and different types of beer, and a frugal menu with cheap snacks and $19 steak.

But he admitted that the most important part of the restaurant was the waitress at Tilted Kilt. He said, “We won’t hide-that’s why people are here. Our selling point is sexy, but we are stylish sexy, smart sexy, or cute sexy. There is absolutely no stupid or vulgar feeling. ”

In 2004, Randy DeWitt had the same inspiration. At that time, his Rockfish seafood barbecue chain grew so fast in the Dallas area that it had to start closing some stores. However, he did not simply give up these restaurants, but studied a large number of data and finally found that although the leisure catering market tends to be weak, Hooters and similar restaurants are very popular. Then he came up with the idea of Twin Peaks chain store with the theme of the villa. The waitresses in the store were all wearing plaid jackets, suspenders and hiking boots.

“I know that men like me will like men’s special space with beautiful and friendly waitress service. We intend to create a very different concept from Hooters, “Devit said.” I think Hooters is taking a low-end route, so we are taking a high-end route. We have exquisite food, and girls wear more delicate uniforms. Hooters is more suitable for blue collar workers, and we cater to some people who don’t quite accept the Hooters style. ”

Devit’s idea was proved feasible, and he soon began to convert more of his seafood restaurants into villa restaurants. Now Twin Peaks has 14 branches, 2 are under renovation and 5 are under development.

Apart from the sexy waitress, what makes Twin Peaks different? Devit said it should be their emphasis on quality. All the cups are refrigerated at low temperature, and there is a special system to ensure that every beer is poured at 29 degrees. They have a full range of top whisky in their bar and experienced bartenders take care of it. All ingredients are fresh-even fried foods such as cheese sticks are hand-cut and breaded after customers place orders.

However, as pointed out by catering consultant Tristano, the biggest difference between modern “beauty restaurants” is service. Consumers do not like rude service-they want to be taken seriously and like meaningful communication.

Lynch said: “Everyone else is pursuing high technology. The introduction of any Kiosks ordering system is orderly, but the waiter just threw the dishes at your table in a hurry. We chose different directions. We will inculcate in the staff training that we hope to have good communication with the guests. What we pay attention to is not “technology” but “mental skills”, which means that we often go to various tables to understand the needs of guests. Make guests feel at home. Sometimes our receptions bring guests the happiest moment of the day. ”

Devit of Twin Peaks also agrees. He believes that fostering emotional communication is a key factor in the success of a restaurant, especially in order to attract repeat customers. In fact, some waitresses play a strong “master” spirit. They will use Facebook or Twitter to let regular customers know their shift hours or what special activities are taking place in the store.

“When regular guests come to lunch, the waitress and other waiters can call out the guest’s name and greet them warmly.” Devit said. Regular customers often request to appoint a waiter to serve them, and waitresses have also learned how to make friends with customers.

Devit said, “We have our own terminology and all service personnel know it by heart. If you order beer, the waitress will ask you’ would you like a men’s or women’s cup’? ”

Tristano affirmed the importance of service to beauty restaurants. “The core of this type of restaurant is definitely the service quality beyond the general standard, not the food. I think the success of such enterprises comes largely from service training and employment of suitable employees. ”

Although the beauty restaurant market is on fire, companies are not worried about market saturation, because the number of such restaurants is relatively small, and they are still based on one place at present. What really worries them is the competition from sports themed restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings. In fact, Devit thinks that the current market situation is very similar to that when Hooters first emerged in 1983.

He said: “Looking back, it seemed that there was only one Hooter store at that time, but if you look at it a little, you will find that before Hooter became a legend in the United States, there were many competitors around at that time-such as Mugs ‘N Jugs. ”

Devit bet that most of the merchants competing with him for the male diner market will eventually stop because they want to develop too fast before going to the whole country.

“Every enterprise wants to develop and become a national chain, but before you go out, you must lay a solid foundation for development.” He said. “We must find very talented managers to manage the fast-growing enterprises. My company does not intend to encourage growth, but will determine the speed of development according to its current capabilities. ”

The concept of beauty restaurant is still evolving. Brick House Tavern+TAP-from Joe’s Crab Shack’s parent company Ignite Catering Group-touts itself as a dream space for men. There are more than 70 kinds of beer. There are cinema-style seats in the restaurant. The seats are also equipped with trays in which customers can nest to watch games with friends. In addition, there are special 100-ounce beer cups with small taps on the cups. So far, this chain store has entered seven U.S. states.

These concepts may be very innovative, but how long can such a shop targeting only half the population thrive (and this half of the population sometimes cannot decide where to eat)

“If these restaurants want to be successful, they must also consider the female market,” Tristano said. One third of their customer base is female, and we must find ways to make female customers feel comfortable. ”

Lynch believes that Tilted Kilt will at least not make women uncomfortable. He said: “We do not have any restricted service. If a man’s wife sees a receipt for Tilted Kilt while cleaning his pocket, his wife will not feel any problem. I was surprised when the franchisee asked to consider the baby chair. We are not a threat to women, and we also train waiters to talk to women on the table first. ”

Although there may be female customers on the table, there is no doubt that the restaurant’s concept caters to men’s preferences most.

“Why do we have regular customers come three or four times a month or more?” Devit asked. “A man will also ask for food, sports, beer and attractive women. Life is like this, what can I ask for?


Elmer Dills