What is in this article?:
- Restaurant brands mark anniversaries with menu moves
- Bolstering brand equity, innovation
Auntie Anne’s, Denny’s, Erbert & Gerbert’s and Hungry Howie’s roll out menu specials to celebrate the birth of their brands
Several restaurant chains are celebrating key brand birthdays this year, but they are not planning gifts of silver, ruby or diamond, as is customary for a 25th, 40th or 60th anniversary. They are celebrating with their menus.
Eau Claire, Wis.-based Erbert & Gerbert’s turned back the clock Wednesday for its Founder’s Day promotion, selling its Classic and Specialty sandwiches for $2.25 and $3.25, respectively, the same prices the sandwiches cost when the 63-unit chain opened in 1988. A third menu tier of five signature subs was sold at regular full prices.
Director of marketing Chuck Schwalbe remarked in a statement that Erbert & Gerbert’s wanted to reward its loyal customers for their part in helping the chain reach its “huge milestone” of 25 years open.
“What better way to kick off 2013 and show our customers we care than rolling the prices on our most popular sandwiches back to the day we started?” Schwalbe said.
Bringing back prices from 1953 was not a realistic option for Spartanburg, S.C.-based Denny’s, but the 1,680-unit family-dining chain still wanted to celebrate its 60th anniversary with an homage to its founding values, said John Dillon, vice president of marketing and product development.
“What we’re wrapping in this year is everything we were founded on as an American diner,” Dillon said. “There are quotes from our founder, Harold Butler, about serving a good cup of coffee, quality food, and at a good value. That’s all still very important today to our guests.”
This month the brand introduced three new coffee blends and a limited-time Complete Skillet Meals menu, as well as additions to the core menu and the popular $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu.
The coffee program took about two years of research and development to be completed, but Denny’s 60th anniversary was not a deadline for the beverages’ rollout, Dillon said. “We saw the anniversary on our scope for quite a while, but in no way did we say everything had to launch by the 60th,” he said. “We had to get these coffee blends right. The two years just so happened to finish when we were able to launch the anniversary, which made even more sense.”
The improvements to the core menu and $2 $4 $6 $8, as well as the launch of Complete Skillets, also were developed without that end date in mind he said. The guiding principle behind those was Denny’s heritage of “abundant value,” he said.
“That really celebrates our heritage in value and as a diner,” Dillon said, “but redefines it to the needs and wants of guests today.”