Roadhouse: A Blueprint for Success
struggling economy there's one chain restaurant that is defying the odds as
many establishments have been forced to cut back or close their doors forever.
That chain? Texas Roadhouse.
Restaurant Business, the 697-unit chain has averaged more guests this year than
any other period that it's been open. It's reported an increase of 10% traffic
and same-store sales are up 15.8% through seven weeks.
deny that Texas Roadhouse has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive
rate. That's attractive," an article by Simply Wall Street says.
Restaurant Business, many experts are predicting negative traffic for
restaurants this year. So how has Texas Roadhouse been so successful? Nobody
knows for sure. There are some techniques, however, that many – including Texas
Roadhouse – have used to help usher customers through its doors.
Roadhouse president Gina Tobin believes that investing in technology may have
made a big difference. In most of its restaurants, the chain offers Roadhouse
Pay, where guests can pay their bill and leave whenever they want instead of
waiting. Justin Doshi, reservation specialist at BentoBox, a company that helps
restaurants create better experiences for their customers, agrees that
technology plays a major role in attracting and retaining customers.
to book an advanced reservation is key to driving foot traffic to your
restaurant. The real opportunity is how to turn a one-time visitor into a
repeat visitor," Doshi told The Food Institute.
He adds that
owning your own reservation management system instead of using a third-party
platform can help take you to the next level.
have a first-party reservation system in place, you gain access to important
customer information. This allows you to extend your relationship with that
customer by creating a personal experience during the meal or marketing to them
directly after their experience. As a restaurant owner, you'll have more
control over your diners' experience even after they leave your restaurant,
which will build loyalty and incentivize them to return," Doshi says.
Parsons, president of Razzoo's Cajun Cafe, agrees that technology plays
a large part in restaurant success.
our team refined our tech stack, and with that it has allowed us real-time
insights about our customers' ordering habits," Parsons told The Food
Institute. "With these insights, we have been able to curate select specials on
products at certain times of day that are most intriguing to our guests, which
has increased traffic and sales."
It may come
as no surprise that the menu plays a huge role in a restaurant's success, but
Texas Roadhouse has found success with its menu mix. Sam Cooper of findarestaurant.co.uk
adds that menu simplification and flexibility is the key to survival for
restaurants during this cost-of-living crisis and the impacted supply chain of
such as Ikoyi in St James's Market, offer a tasting menu that is
reactive to produce availability and the chef's creativity. By not having a set
menu, not only does it provide an exciting dining experience, it also helps the
restaurant to navigate through the ever changing price and availability of
produce without compromising on the taste," Cooper says.
restaurant business is struggling, it may be time to look to Texas Roadhouse as
a blueprint for how to navigate these trying times. Food Institute Focus
Nestlé Targets Plant-Based at University Dining Halls
plant-based offerings expand across food service, college and university dining
halls are a popular target for innovation and experimentation.
Last month, Nestlé
Professional announced a new plant-based college dining program in
partnership with Wholesome Crave and the University of Massachusetts.
The menu ranges
from more traditional vegan fare such as Eggplant Lasagna and Alfredo Tomato
Soup to internationally inspired dishes made with meat substitutes, including
Chawanmushi with Sweet Earth Breakfast Sausage, and Tres Hermanas Enchiladas
with Mindful Chik'n.
Institute spoke with
Fleur Veldhoven, vice president of marketing at Nestlé Professional, to
unpack this partnership and gauge the outlook for plant-based in the broader
food service space.
Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.
prompted Nestlé Professional to develop this plant-based partnership?
Purpose-Driven Plant-Based Incubator was created in response to foodservice
providers reporting increased demand for a wider variety of globally inspired,
flavor-driven, plant-forward options.
Incubator is intended to be a space to share insight and knowledge amongst
existing and new partners, and to ideate and test new opportunities, recipes,
and approaches to successfully accelerate the adoption of more plant-based
also the ability to inform students and operators about the emissions footprint
of their meal via on-menu carbon labeling.
the menu options measure up to traditional meat-based dishes, in terms of cost
to the company and the consumer?
From a cost
standpoint, plant-based products are generally comparable to the cost of
meat-based products, both for companies and consumers.
cost difference worth mentioning is the environmental cost, or rather savings,
associated with these products. Not all foods have equal impacts. Animal
proteins—especially beef and lamb—are generally more resource-intensive to
produce than plant-based foods. More plant-centric eating therefore reduces
pressure on forests, fresh water, and the climate.
people shift toward plant-forward diets can have climate and other
environmental benefits. By expanding plant-based and plant-forward menu options
in scaled-dining settings, we can all help to build a better, more sustainable
demand for transparency and clean ingredients continues to grow across the
plant-based industry. What steps does Nestlé take to ensure that these menu
options are nutritious and balanced?
that what we're offering is nutritious—in addition to being delicious and
operationally efficient—is a priority element of this program. One of the ways
we're doing that is through our partnership with UMass Dining and Wholesome
Crave. All three of the founding organizations are like-minded when it comes to
our desire to make a positive impact in nutrition and food systems. We came
together to promote the health and environmental benefits of plant-based dining
at scale through foodservice.
Nestlé envision the future of plant-based in food service?
it's so important we delight our diners with delicious and nutritious food
experiences. We know they will not compromise on taste and texture.
comes down to making plant-based foods attractive and craveable so that they
are the choice and not the compromise to a meal experience.
university students are oriented toward exploration and diverse thinking – from
an openness to try new foods and to deepen their commitment to sustainability.
That's why we're starting the Incubator there.
further ahead, we see this program being scalable for out-of-home dining
operators of varying formats and sizes beyond just the university setting. Food Institute Focus