Chain Beverage Buzz: May 2, 2011

Buffalo Wild WingsWith the uncertainty of the upcoming NFL season, Buffalo Wild Wings is planning contingencies in case of a lockout. Part of this plan, according to Chief Executive Officer Sally Smith and Chief Financial Officer Mary Twinem, is to maintain relatively low wing prices to continue the momentum of training investments, upgrading technology and promoting menu extensions, including introducing 12 new items. Buffalo Wild Wings also plans to maintain customers  through its multiyear partnership with NTN Buzztime Inc. Buffalo Wild Wings will use Buzztime’s out-of-home interactive technology to integrate sports and trivia games with guests' overall dining experience.

Darden Restaurants Inc. plans to double the size of LongHorn Steakhouse over the next 10 years, expanding the chain to 600 to 800 units, making it the same size as Olive Garden. The remodeling of 100 restaurants and cable TV ads that highlight grill season will help accelerate LongHorn’s growth as well.

McCormick & Schmick'sIn the last issue of VIBE, we reported that McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant was looking for a buyer. Although Tilman J. Fertitta and a subsidiary of his Landry’s Restaurants Inc. put in an offer, it was rejected. Douglas Schmick, chairman of the seafood chain, said in a statement that the offer undervalues the company. Fertitta already has a 10.1% ownership of the company.

The Melting Pot is continuing its Big Night Out promotion with the launch of its American Craft Beer and dinner pairings. Director of Food and Beverage and Executive Chef Shane Schaibly paired each course. The beers to be featured during the promotion include Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone IPA and Rogue Chocolate Stout. Check out the menu here.

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