What is in this article?:
- Carrabba's rolls out redesigned menu
- More new menu items
The updated menu features 15 new items and a format intended for easier navigation.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill has introduced a new beef skewer entrée, as well as more chicken and seafood options.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill has rolled out a redesigned menu with more than 15 new items in a format intended to be easier to navigate.
Carrabba’s new menu features icons for signature items — such as mussels in white wine, Chicken Bryan and Fettuccine Carrabba — and for dishes with fewer than 600 calories if ordered with steamed spinach as the side item. Those include the chain’s signature Chicken Marsala and Spiedino di Mare.
“We wanted to make sure that we were getting credit for healthier or lighter items,” chief marketing officer Danielle Vona said.
She added that the menu revamp is part of a broader brand refresh that the 240-unit Bloomin’ Brands Inc. subsidiary started two years ago. Carrabba’s remodeled 41 locations last year.
The menu has also been reorganized to be easier to navigate. Previously the chain had two pasta categories — stuffed and signature — and entrées were divided into “wood burning grill,” “Marsala” and “classics.” The pasta section is now divided into “pasta” and “oven-baked” and the entrées are divided by protein: chicken; beef, pork and veal; and seafood.
The chain is also marketing the new menu online as having 15 items for less than $15.
“Part of the reason we did this is to make sure we had affordable items in every category on the menu,” Vona said.
The menu has been in test markets since June and was rolled out systemwide in January and February, she said.
The announcement of the menu revamp, the largest at the chain in years, comes days after Italian casual-dining giant Olive Garden launched a new menu at its 834 locations.
Unlike Olive Garden and many other casual-dining chains, business is relatively good at Carrabba’s: In the most recent quarter, ended in Dec. 31, 2013, Bloomin’ Brands announced a modest 0.9-percent increase in same-store sales at company-owned Carrabba’s locations. By contrast, Olive Garden’s parent, Darden Restaurants Inc., said it expects a same-store sales decline of 5.4 percent at in the quarter ended Feb. 23.
Carrabba’s has added two appetizers:
• Arancini are deep-fried balls of rice, Italian fennel sausage, red bell peppers and Romano cheese, served with marinara sauce for $6.
• Shrimp Diavolo are batter-fried shrimp in lemon-butter sauce topped with pepperoncini, red bell peppers and crushed red pepper for $8.50.
The chain has also added two new flavors of its Roman-style pizza:
• Chicken Bryan features the chain’s signature preparation of wood-grilled chicken with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, basil and lemon butter, now served on pizza for $12.
• Carnevale is Pepperoni, Italian fennel sausage, roasted red bell peppers, basil and a housemade sauce for $12.
Both of then new pizzas are priced at a premium to the Margherita and Quattro Formaggi currently on the menu at $10.50, but at a lower price than the $12.50 create-your-own option that allows up to three toppings.