In a struggling economy there’s one chain restaurant that is defying the odds as many establishments have been forced to cut back or close their doors forever. That chain? Texas Roadhouse.
According to Restaurant Business, the 697-unit chain has averaged more guests this year than any other period that it’s been open. It’s reported an increase of 10% traffic and same-store sales are up 15.8% through seven weeks.
“You can’t deny that Texas Roadhouse has grown its earnings per share at a very impressive rate. That’s attractive,” an article by Simply Wall Street says.
According to Restaurant Business, many experts are predicting negative traffic for restaurants this year. So how has Texas Roadhouse been so successful? Nobody knows for sure. There are some techniques, however, that many – including Texas Roadhouse – have used to help usher customers through its doors.
Texas Roadhouse president Gina Tobin believes that investing in technology may have made a big difference. In most of its restaurants, the chain offers Roadhouse Pay, where guests can pay their bill and leave whenever they want instead of waiting. Justin Doshi, reservation specialist at BentoBox, a company that helps restaurants create better experiences for their customers, agrees that technology plays a major role in attracting and retaining customers.
“The ability to book an advanced reservation is key to driving foot traffic to your restaurant. The real opportunity is how to turn a one-time visitor into a repeat visitor,” Doshi told The Food Institute.
He adds that owning your own reservation management system instead of using a third-party platform can help take you to the next level.
“When you have a first-party reservation system in place, you gain access to important customer information. This allows you to extend your relationship with that customer by creating a personal experience during the meal or marketing to them directly after their experience. As a restaurant owner, you’ll have more control over your diners’ experience even after they leave your restaurant, which will build loyalty and incentivize them to return,” Doshi says.
Philip Parsons, president of Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe, agrees that technology plays a large part in restaurant success.
“This year our team refined our tech stack, and with that it has allowed us real-time insights about our customers’ ordering habits,” Parsons told The Food Institute. “With these insights, we have been able to curate select specials on products at certain times of day that are most intriguing to our guests, which has increased traffic and sales.”
It may come as no surprise that the menu plays a huge role in a restaurant’s success, but Texas Roadhouse has found success with its menu mix. Sam Cooper of findarestaurant.co.uk adds that menu simplification and flexibility is the key to survival for restaurants during this cost-of-living crisis and the impacted supply chain of fresh ingredients.
“Restaurants, such as Ikoyi in St James’s Market, offer a tasting menu that is reactive to produce availability and the chef’s creativity. By not having a set menu, not only does it provide an exciting dining experience, it also helps the restaurant to navigate through the ever changing price and availability of produce without compromising on the taste,” Cooper says.
If your restaurant business is struggling, it may be time to look to Texas Roadhouse as a blueprint for how to navigate these trying times.