Monday, August 18, 2008

The full-service barbell

From an infomercial yet to be filmed:

FRENETIC VOICE-OVER: Tired of sagging customer counts and flabby marketing efforts? Show investors who’s their daddy with this breakthrough way to keep patrons coming back. Soon your only worry will be getting all that extra money to the bank![Background image of an armored car being loaded with sacks marked “$$.” Cut to a guy who looks like Danny DeVito, tossing fistfuls of Benjamins into the air with near ecstasy.]

VOICE-OVER RESUMES, SPEEDED UP TO 78 RPM: Introducing…the Barbell Concept!! Already used by chains like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s, the Barbell Concept is now fully adaptable to full-service operations. Here’s how it works: Offer a menu of everyday bargains, like the section of entrees now offered for as little as $7.95 on most McCormick & Schmick menus. But there’s more! While you capture bargain hunters with those head-turning deals, boost your check averages with premium products. Enticed by wild halibut, Alaskan salmon or sea bass? McCormick & Schmick is selling it to “high end guests” for $30!!

[Cut to a picture of a buxom woman in a bikini, holding a fake old-fashioned barbell as she oohs and ahhs. The weight on one end is marked “Value,” the one other, “Premium price.”]

VOICE-OVER: Here’s what management has to say:

[Cut to a photo of Doug Schmick, the company’s chairman and CEO. He addresses the camera as “ACTUAL COMMENTS” flashes under the image.]

SCHMICK’S VOICE: With a consumer with household incomes lower than $75,000 who visit us one to two times a year, the majority of our menus have what we call a ‘value band,’ which is made up of anywhere from 10 to 14 items priced between $7.95 and $13.95. The value band accounts for only three to five percent of our menu mix, but appeals with the middle-income consumer.”

[Cut to a picture of a restaurant manager happily pushing a wheelbarrow full of greenbacks.]

VOICE-OVER RESUMES: Be part of the trend that’s remaking casual dining. Outback features a $9.99 steak and an average check in New York of $32! Texas Roadhouse has 19 entrees priced under $10, PLUS a $17.99 prime rib!!

Don’t miss out on today’s hottest full-service trend!! Get your barbell strategy today!!!

Our operators are standing by.

[Close with this disclaimer, presented in type too small for a sharp-eyed mouse to read:]

All information taken from recent conference calls.

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