What is in this article?:
- Famous Dave's aims to develop 'better barbecue' niche
- A symbiotic relationship
Famous Dave's executives say the brand's fast-casual variant makes the brand’s food more relevant on an everyday basis.
A symbiotic relationship
Just as franchisees hope the BBQ Shack would complement their existing locations of the casual-dining Famous Dave’s, the franchisor also plans for the fast-casual variant to help grow sales and awareness for the legacy brand.
“The biggest thing is that the Shack enables us to get deeper penetration and brand awareness and customer sampling in a market where heretofore we couldn’t,” Gilbert said. “We may be able to do multiple Shacks in one trade area given the initial success we’re seeing. Before, we’d do one big Famous Dave’s and move on to the next trade area.”
The big-box casual-dining brand also would have the opportunity to refine its model for the types of visit at which it excels, but hopefully with more traffic from Shack customers satisfied with the food they first encountered in the fast-casual variant, Gilbert said. With the traditional Famous Dave’s logically being the place where Shack customers would celebrate a special or “larger than normal” occasion, the brand is upgrading its selection of craft beers.
“That ties in very nicely with how the big box works: It’s much more celebratory, and it asks for a longer time commitment from the consumer,” Gilbert said. “Guests have a wide range of occasions, and the Shack solves for a quicker occasion, especially if I’m by myself or with just my son. But if the whole family wants to spend time together, they may go to the big box. The food is the enabler of all this.”
The casual-dining version of Famous Dave’s and the three Shack units currently are pursuing catering business without much synergy, but the company is closely monitoring how takeout and catering progress at the fast-casual restaurants to see if any lessons could be applied to the legacy brand, he added.
But Famous Dave’s would not have to worry about promoting two separate brands differently. Last week, the company made a major realignment of its marketing department to begin advertising not with overall new-product news, but with individual messaging for four key lines of business at both the big-box and fast-casual brands: dine-in, carryout, catering and retail.
Because marketing responsibilities will be split among four people overseeing the separate revenue streams, Aric Nissen no longer is vice president of marketing and research and development, and he left the company last week, Famous Dave’s announced.
By addressing customers in different ways for their varied needs, Famous Dave’s hopes to turn around soft same-store sales, Gilbert noted. “The opportunity,” he said, “is to be very specific about how we solve your main meal needs, Mrs. Female Head of Household.”
Famous Dave’s operates or franchises restaurants in 33 states and 1 Canadian province.