The popularity of steakhouses often fluctuates with economic tides. When things are going well, Americans like to treat themselves to a steak dinner. When a recession hits, fine cuts of meat are off the menu.
And while Americans generally love their steak, some meat-based restaurant chains have faced challenges due to changing conditions over the years. Others have managed to reinvent themselves and continue to be customer favorites.
Last year, catering company reported that steakhouse chains were winning the race for pandemic recovery as hungry diners returned in droves and were ready to splurge. High-end and mid-range chains managed to generate higher sales that year than in 2019.
With that in mind, the sunny side of the pandemic could be the perfect setting to pull off a major comeback for a struggling brand. Here are some great chains that do just that.
Founded in 1966, Steak and Ale was one of the first steakhouse chains to offer a casual dining experience at an affordable price. But Steak and Ale restaurants have not been seen since 2008. The parent company of Steak and Ale, Bennigan’s and Bennigan’s On The Fly, Legendary Restaurant Brands, intended to revive the chain and open the first steak and beer in years in Cancunbut it looks like the US will be the first place to host the iconic chain again.
“The revival of Steak and Ale has truly been a labor of love for our team, and as we were eager to reintroduce the brand, we understood the importance of finding the perfect partner first,” said Paul Mangiamele , Chairman and CEO of Legendary Restaurant. Trademarks. “We believe we’ve found that partner in Endeavour. They understand how much our loyal customers miss the fine, casual steakhouses and value-oriented, family-friendly food and service of Steak and Ale, just as they long for the menu. Bennigan’s signature and memorable dining experiences.We look forward to growing together through this exciting relationship.
The very first Steak and Ale restaurant in about 15 years is set to open in late to early fall this year in Burnsville, Minnesota. The new agreement also gives Endeavor exclusive expansion rights for brands in Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.
Black Angus Steakhouse got his start in 1964 in Seattle, Washington, offering steak, soup, salad and a baked potato for $2.99. The casual dining concept was popular with families and eventually expanded to over 100 locations.
In 2009, Black Angus was down to 69 restaurants and filed a second application for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing hardship from the economic downturn.
But the chain completely revamped its menu and in 2011 introduced a new BullsEye Bar concept which brought a livelier bar scene to many of its locations. The revitalization succeeded in improving sales and pulling the chain out of its slump. In 2013, Black Angus recorded 16 consecutive quarters increase in comparable store sales.
While he closed all its locations at its current California base during the pandemic, it has since moved away to refocus on new strategies. Starting that year, the brand announced it was branching out into retail, selling its own brand of restaurant-quality, hand-cut raw steaks.
The Black Angus Meat Market allows shoppers to order online before picking up their purchases in-store for a DIY experience at home.
Logan’s Roadhouse had it all when it opened in Lexington, Ky. 1991. Founder David Wachtel was an industry veterinarian and former CEO of the ultra-popular restaurant chain Shoney’s. With tight management and careful attention to quality standards in all of Logan’s restaurants, the chain has seen growing success. Through 1995Logan went public.
But its 1990s and early success was short-lived as foot traffic slowed. The chain went bankrupt at the end of 2016 with a debt reorganization soon after. Sales lagged for the next three years and locations were closed by the dozens, with 119 units discontinued over the next seven years.
Finally, Logan’s parent company, CraftWorks, disbanded in March 2020, leading the steakhouse to temporarily close all of its locations and lay off most of its employees due to bankruptcy.
At the end of April of the same year, the sites started to reopen again. In 2021, there were 136 Opening of Logan’s Roadhouse restaurants in the United States, down 114 stores since its bankruptcy in 2016.
While things may have looked bleak for Logan for a while, a change in management appears to have turned things around for the channel.
In 2021, the steakhouse recorded 45 straight weeks of strong sales with a 35% growth over the previous year. The company primarily credits a menu overhaul it unveiled that year, which simplified offerings and improved the quality of ingredients, such as its made-from-scratch buns on half-baked steakburgers and sandwiches. book.
In addition, the brand rolled out a new loyalty program and digital application to further engage customers. While the restructuring only recently began, so far Logan’s has received positive reception for its comeback strategy.
In the 90s, if Americans wanted a taste of Australia, all they had to do was take a trip to their local Outback, which was teeming with enthusiastic barbecue enthusiasts.
Although the popular chain may not be exactly what Aussies have always eaten (at least according to them), it’s been one of America’s most popular steakhouse brands for years.
But the channel has not been without its difficulties. Outback’s footprint has shrunk more than 10% since 2011, from 775 locations to 694 in 2021, according to catering company.
While it has shrunk over the past ten years, it has emerged from the pandemic with renewed energy. In May, the channel revealed its plans for a new restaurant prototype, which is smaller in size than the previous slots. It also benefits from a redesigned interior design that will allow it to dedicate more space to new catering services.
This year, Outback opened three of its next generation restaurants—Fort Worth, Texas, Steele Creek, North Carolina and Columbus, Ohio. The company also plans to build an additional 75 to 100 restaurants in the United States, restoring its growing footprint.
Del Frisco’s is a premium dining group comprised of the Double Eagle and Del Fresco’s Grille brands. The restaurateur has received numerous awards and accolades for its excellent steakhouses. Before selling it, the group also owned Sullivan’s Steakhouses, then later acquired Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco.
But even gourmet brands can fall on hard times. In 2015, the Texas-based company saw its sales drop, which was repeated again in 2017. In 2018the brand has agreed to sell its struggling partner Sullivan’s Steakhouse to Romano Macaroni Grills.
When sales did not pick up in 2019, Del Frisco’s reported a net loss of $6.4 million in revenue and said it was getting private.
The channel was eventually purchased by At Landry’sowner and operator of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and the Rainforest Café, but more importantly, a series of successful high-end steakhouses like Mastro’s, Morton’s, Vic & Anthony’s, Strip House and Brenner’s.
Currently, the group has 30 restaurants across 13 states and Washington, DC With the acquisition, the brand continues to grow under the company’s wing.
A previous version of this article was originally published on June 10, 2022. It has been updated with new information.
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