uploads///EAT Chilis Menu Innovation

Brinker International Continues To Benefit From Menu Innovation


Jan. 29 2015, Updated 9:05 a.m. ET

Menu innovation

In the previous part of this series, we saw that year-over-year same-store sales expectations for Brinker International (EAT) are higher for the upcoming quarter. These stem from Brinker’s list of initiatives, as we’ll discuss below.

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Focusing on improving food quality

Unlike competition such as Olive Garden, under the umbrella of Darden Restaurants (DRI), which ran its all-you-can-eat pasta campaign, Brinker has been focusing on improving its experience and menu, which is a more long-term strategy.

Some of these strategies include aggressive menu innovation. For example, Chili’s offers a relevant menu, which includes items made with fresh ingredients. Maggiano’s has introduced a light menu for customers conscious about their calorie intake.

Chili’s relevant menu includes the introduction of Fresh Mex Bowls, Table-Side Guacamole, and Mix and Match Fajitas. The company also stated that its Top-Shelf Enchiladas are “proving popular with guests.” Last quarter, the company stated that it would roll out more items on its menu. Hopefully, we’ll see an update in the upcoming earnings.

According to the company, this category has been so successful that one out of every four Chili’s customers is ordering Fresh Mex items.

EAT has also worked on its burger menu, introducing Craft Burgers, following the same principles used in the Fresh Mex platform. Several restaurants—such as Bloomin’ Brands (BLMN), The Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), and those included in the Consumer Discretionary SPDR fund (XLY) regularly refresh their menu to be relevant to their audience.

In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss the company’s marketing and advertising initiatives.


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