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The Secret Ingredient for Staying Popular & Profitable | FoodPower is a restaurant consulting firm that coaches industry leaders to leverage strengths, create concepts, refine menus & identify opportunities to increase revenue & capatalize on the changes in today's dining out patterns.
No Fiscal Cliff for Restaurants?
It's True, if you Apply the "Dog Bone Thesis"  
The Dog Bone Thesis? It's really something to bark about! Just ask concept founder Nicole Miller Regan, Senior Research Analyst at Piper Jaffray, where she focuses on the Restaurant Sector. By using the Dog Bone thesis, her favored restaurant variation of the "barbell theory," she can assess the growth potential of a restaurant company. 

What is this Dog Bone thesis and how can we use it?

It is really understanding, utilizing, and maximizing both ends of the spectrum: the bargain and the lux.  Restaurants on the lower end (fast casual) and the higher end (fine dining) are adapting techniques from each other.  Those facing fierce competition in the middle (casual) are re-engineering and re-inventing themselves into a NEW polished casual category that appeals to the next generation of diners focused on experience rather than price.

Let me explain how restaurants everywhere can use the Dog Bone thesis...

  My friend and past client Phil Crowley, VP/CFO of Lawry's Restaurants Inc., is a man with insatiable restaurant curiosity and knowledge. Phil introduced me to this "Dog Bone Thesis" and after doing my research and really wrapping my head around the concept, I started looking for ways to help restaurateurs utilize it. 
In our R&D, Phil and I decided to visit FLEMING'S PRIME STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR, a popular older national restaurant chain we both agreed had weathered the economy well with smart moves that adapted their re-engineered menu offerings for the bargainistas as well as the splurgers.
Here's How Fleming's Adapted the Dog Bone Thesis to Acheive Success...

Fleming's really took the time to understand and satisfy both ends of the spectrum: the bargain and the lux
They implemented the Dog Bone thesis to launch a killer Happy Hour and upgraded their Dining Room Menu to add sexy appetizers while maintaining a 100-bottle wine list and giant bone-in steaks.
What's gotten the most press? Their "5 for 6 til 7" Happy Hour menu which consisted of 5 cocktails, 5 wines and 5 appetizers for $6 - plus their incredible signature Fleming's Prime 8-ounce Burger served in the bar from 5-7 p.m.
What I love is that this restaurant - often known for its LUX - appealed to the BARGAINISTA and the proof is this nod from Paul Hodgins in the Orange County Register's Fast Food Maven blog:

Best Happy Hour tip of the year so far: the 5 for $6 ’til 7 deal at Fleming’s Steakhouse in Newport Beach. I enjoy Fleming’s but, like most people on a budget, I can’t eat there very often. This H.H. deal gives you access to some of the restaurant’s best cocktails, wines and appetizers for a reasonable price. Dinner, too. The Prime Burger with cheese and bacon has got to be one of O.C.’s best $6 burgers.


Fleming's is a perfect example of an older concept successfully casting a wider net and merging two distinct dining groups in an amicable way to capture the widest audience.

Now, there is a new breek of restaurant that has eliminated
casual dining and fine dining as the extremes to create the new POLISHED CASUAL category.

WHAT IS POLISHED CASUAL? According to James Brennan of the Enlightened Hospitality Group, it's defined as:
  • Focus on the experience, rather than price; value isn't neccessarily price -  it is what you are getting for what you're paying
  • A balanced space with kitchen at one end of the restaurant and bar at the other end, where Chef and Mixologist are emphasized and celebrated
  • Large, open kitchens and bars that serve as a stage for the Chefs and Mixologists
  • A menu meant to engage diners by encouraging conversation about the dishes
  • Specialty cocktails with unique ingredients and interesting twists
  • Distinctive music that creates a mood that evolves over the course of the evening
The photo above is from the bar at Herringbone in La Jolla, a restaurant in the Enlightened Hospitality Group portfolio. It successfully achieves the polished casual formula to create a strong restaurant that appeals to so many demographics.

In our search for the leading restaurateurs in the Polished Casual category, we came across the Enlightened Hospitality Group, who has pioneered the concept of “social dining” with a growing group of restaurants starting in San Diego and making their way into other cities in the western US.

This group has created a number of restaurants that have oodles of personality and appeal to target a wide variety of guests with one thing in mind: the experience.
This is Searsucker in San Diego and it has gained quite a bit of attention for its unique brand. This restaurant, and its sister concepts by the Enlightened Hospitality Group, are ones to watch.

If you ask me what I think about the future of Polished Casual, I'll give you this example of a product my teenage granddaughter absolutely loves: the Sugar Factory's Couture Pop! This may look like an ordinary lollipop, but with its case and adorned stem, it will set you back $30 a pop! If this isn't proof that the experience is more important than the price, I don't know what is!
How FoodPower Can Help You...
While it may not seem obvious to you, there are many factors that can directly relate to profitability and growth.  In most instances, these elements are clear to the objective, experienced eye, but nearly impossible to see for the owner/operator who sees them eight days a week. 
FoodPower finds your profit centers, quickly and objectively, so you can maximize your strengths.  What's more, we can coach you as to how to sort out your specific issues in a way that brings your costs down and your profit up!  We are talking about TRUE, QUANTIFIABLE CHANGE that captures your profits and minimizes your losses.  Our rates are surprisingly affordable and, with the vast majority of our clients, we pay for our services many times over. 

We are ready at FoodPower to go the extra mile and inspire you do the same.
Feel free to contact us at or at 949.646.3206.  You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!
To the power of food!
Phyllis Ann

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Established in 1982, Orange County-based FoodPower is a restaurant consulting firm that coaches industry leaders to leverage their strengths. By working hand-in-hand with restaurant management and staff, FoodPower can help create concepts, refine menus, and identify opportunities to increase food sales and capitalize on the changes in today’s dining out patterns to strengthen brands.

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