Why Diners are Visiting These Hot Casual Dining Concepts Instead of Chili’s and Applebee’s

Why Diners are Visiting These Hot Casual Dining Concepts Instead of Chili’s and Applebee’s

You’re in luck data hungry marketers and operators, Foodable Labs decided to do a deep data dive and highlight the Top 25 Hot Casual Dining Concepts to kick-off 2018.

In the past couple of months, traditional casual dining brands, like Applebee’s and Chilli’s, have been experiencing a decline in sales due to decreased millennial foot-traffic. All the while, a new generation of upscale casual dining brands are picking up slack and gaining new customers.

So why are diners choosing to eat at these establishments versus the former casual dining staples?

These concepts have been able to forge a connection with the local communities they serve— not only through community outreach, but also through their menus.

Learn about two popular brands included in the casual dining report, which is available for download, here!

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Is Casual Dining Over?

Is Casual Dining Over?
  • What's the future for brands like Applebee's and Chili's? 

  • Are millennials killing the casual dining industry? 

On this episode of Plugged In, Paul Barron looks at millennial social restaurant visit traffic (SRVs) in casual dining, as a predictor of the decline in casual dining sales. Foodable Labs has tracked a decline in millennial SRVs across the board in traditional casual dining establishments. The new millennial consumers seem to no longer resonate with legacy brands like Applebees and Chili's. 

However, traffic is up in new age casual dining at places like Matchbox and Coopers Hawk.  All is not lost, even with expansion halted and stores closing, there is a recipe for resurrecting these legacy casual dining brands. Watch Plugged In for more!

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Danny Meyer-Backed Company Partners With Amazon for Online Ordering

Danny Meyer-Backed Company Partners With Amazon for Online Ordering

In an effort to offer more food options to its Prime members, the online retail giant Amazon partnered up with Olo, a leader in the digital-food-ordering space, to beef up Amazon Restaurants and facilitate the on-boarding process of new dining establishments onto the platform. This is following a major push by Amazon to penetrate the food and retail industry with its recent purchase of Whole Foods Market.

The deal will allow Amazon Restaurants to take care of the delivery aspect and Olo will remain handling the menu and ordering side of the transaction.

“We’re thrilled to work with Amazon to provide Olo’s base of restaurant customers with a new delivery sales channel that drives increased visibility,” said Noah Glass, Founder & CEO of Olo in a press release about the partnership. “Amazon’s obsession with providing great customer and restaurant experience supports the evolving expectations and behaviors of today’s consumer. We’re excited to connect more of Olo’s restaurant brands with Amazon Restaurants.”

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Here’s Why Chili’s is Cutting its Menu Down by 40%

Here’s Why Chili’s is Cutting its Menu Down by 40%

It’s no secret that casual dining chains are struggling in today’s market. In order to survive with the fast casual brands and the elevated casual dining chains, staples in the casual dining segment are being forced to adapt. 

Whether it’s with a massive rebranding or with a menu overhaul, these are all strategies to keep guests in seats.

Chili’s has already completed a rebrand, but it’s uppin’ the ante with a menu revamp. The chain announced in late September that it will be cutting down its menu by 40%.

Its current menu features 125 appetizers, entrees, desserts and more– but it will be trimmed down to 75 items

The new menu will be focusing on its most popular items like its burgers, ribs, and fajitas.

“Over the years, like many bar and grill chains, Chili’s chased consumer trends, expanded the menu and tried to be all things to all guests, therefore compromising execution and resulting in a fuzzy food reputation,” said Chili’s in a recent statement.

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Chili's Launches the Chilin' Since '75 Campaign

Chili's Launches the Chilin' Since '75 Campaign

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

The casual dining chain, Chili’s has launched a new campaign to promote their heritage. The brand’s latest tag lines, menu additions and ad spots emphasize the humble beginnings of Chili’s when the restaurant was started by a few “Hamburger Hippies.”

Just in time for summer, Chili’s is reminding consumers that the restaurant isn’t stuffy and has a fun atmosphere like it always has, while sharing the brand’s unique history. 

“Our goal for the new campaign was to figure out how do we take a brand that everyone thinks they know everything about and make people sit up and listen,” said Krista Gibson, chief marketing officer for Chili’s Grill & Bar in a press release. “The answer is to tell them something unique that they don’t know. And, for us, that’s our heritage story.”

The latest ad spot reaffirms this with this message: “Chili’s isn’t the product of some board room and it wasn’t started by a bunch of stiffs in suits– heck, some days we didn’t even wear shirts­– Chili’s, Chilin’ since ’75,”

The Emphasis on Quality

Although the brief 30 second ad’s focus is on the laid-back history of the brand, the campaign also concentrates on the fresh food made with quality ingredients. 

Chili’s has launched new burgers since this is how the brand’s heritage started. They are simple and all-natural with no antibiotics or added hormones. 

“We know now more than ever, guests want to know what’s going into their food and desire natural ingredients,” said Gibson in a press release. “We have differentiated our craft burgers with quality and transparent ingredients by offering grass-fed patties and cage-free eggs. As we continue our food transparency journey, we plan to invest in our core menu categories to offer guests more options.”

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