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Tag Archives: Ruth’s Criss

Positive news on the high-end front

From Nation’s Restaurant New’s Breaking News

High-end restaurant chains say business, travel spending up

August 3, 2010 | By Molly Gise, Lisa Jennings

The return of business travel and conventions is driving traffic at fine-dining chains, many of which have recently reported positive same-store sales after suffering from empty dining rooms during the recession.

While steakhouse chains including Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris and The Capital Grille have taken advantage of the increased spending among their core markets, the high-end seafood chain McCormick & Schmick’s says it has suffered from the Gulf oil spill, which has kept consumers away.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.nrn.com/article/high-end-restaurant-chains-say-business-travel-spending?ad=news

Restaurant earnings: Beyond the numbers – from Nation’s Restaurant News

Restaurant earnings: Beyond the numbers

By Mike  Dempsey

(Feb. 18, 2010) Financial results were mixed this week as a cross-section of restaurant companies reported fourth-quarter earnings. Stalled consumer spending and continued traffic declines plagued top lines, while bright spots included positive earnings growth from cost-cutting moves and favorable comparison to year-ago figures.

Beyond the numbers, companies laid out strategies aimed at combating the sluggish economy and igniting sales and traffic.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.nrn.com/breakingNews.aspx?id=379646

The article goes on to list four companies’ results, Darden, the parent of Red Lobster, P. F. Chang’s, which reported a doubling of profit in the 4th quarter of 2009, Denny’s and Jack in the Box. The article explains that there are bright spots in casual dining, while higher end chains still continue to struggle.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group is such a restaurant operator still struggling with profits, although they “cut their losses” in the 4th quarter. According to NRN, they are still struggling with same store sales, falling 11.2%. You can read the whole article here:

http://www.nrn.com/breakingNews.aspx?id=379656

This is a long way from 2005, when articles like this from NRN were legion:

Big high-end steakhouse chains are primed for 10% growth

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_9_39/ai_n13251038/

Most steakhouses have struggled to fill seats and stem bloodletting from eroding covers. Some, like Palm Steakhouse, are expanding to foreign and other markets. Palm has recently opened a London restaurant and is planning several more in Europe and are eying the Pacific Rim. They are also opening Palm Bar and Grill, a micro version of the venerable restaurant, in JFK’s Terminal 4 (slated for opening last month) and, by all accounts, plan more in the future.  Morton’s is reaching even higher, announcing in-flight offerings from their famous brands. They’ve also offered a Filet & Lobster Tail Dinner via Lobster Gram, a full dinner for 2 delivered to your door for $149.00. You still had to cook it, but they tossed in a couple of “signature engraved steak knives” and Morton’s Signature Grilling Salt and clarified butter.  This program, started in November 2008, has since been discontinued. Guess it wasn’t the hit that they hoped for. 

Independent restaurants have also struggled. One ingenious thing that has been done in Nashville is Nashville Originals, an organization of like-minded indie restaurants designed to promote dining locally as well as offering the benefits of increased scale. While it’s been around for several years, it’s still a nascent organization. Its on-line presence is still a bit primitive and the promise hasn’t been fulfilled quite yet. When they first started, there was talk about possibilities like shared purchasing in order to get better prices, but I’m not sure that this promise has ever come to fruition (it’s probably logistically difficult). About the only shared thing that’s really evident other than the occasional press release is a gift certificate that can be used at any of the member restaurants. I hope that they can get some traction, but it looks like the day-to-day challenges of running an independent restaurant are preventing some serious traction. It’s probably like trying to herd a clutch of cats. Here’s their website:

http://www.nashvilleoriginals.com/index.php

As you can see, there’s definitely improvement to be made there.

I’ve noticed that there are such organizations in various communities throughout America. Hopefully, they can offer some benefits that will help indie restaurants through this challenging economic landscape.

Image found at http://positivesharing.com/2006/03/make-your-business-happy-and-rich/

Upscale chains are taking heavy hits

Restaurant News Logo

From Nation’s Restaurant News’ Breaking news:

                                                  

NEW YORK (Aug. 7, 2009) High-end restaurant results are hitting new lows as slowed consumer spending and continuing budget cuts by corporate clients eat away at earnings.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants Inc. and Morton’s Restaurant Group Inc. both said this week that lower traffic and resulting double-digit dips in same-store sales drove year-over-year declines in second quarter revenue and profit.

Though McCormick & Schmick’s of Portland, Ore., is known for seafood and Chicago-based Morton’s, for prime beef, the two high-end casual-dining operations shared some challenges in the latest quarter. Morton’s, operator of the Morton’s The Steakhouse chain, exhibited the greater struggle, however, as it reported this month a loss for the quarter and greater erosion in same-store sales. McCormick & Schmick’s was able to maintain a profit, albeit a much lower one than a year ago.

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The results followed last week’s report from high-end operator Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group, which also included double-digit declines in sales and profit. 

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High-end seafood operator The Oceanaire Inc., which runs 12 locations of The Oceanaire Seafood Room, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early July and closed four locations. The sector has taken severe traffic hits not only from consumers that have tightened spending, but also from corporate clients that have cut back on travel and entertainment expenses.

Read the rest of the article here:

http://www.nrn.com/article.aspx?id=370874

This shows the challenges that restaurants are struggling with in this tight economic times. As you can see from some of my posts, there are restaurants that are responding to the challenge. And Morton’s, Ruth’s Criss and McCormick and Schmick’s are a top-flight operators that will find ways to regain profitability. However, it’s important for both restaurant workers and patrons alike to realize that we aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto.

It’s not quite as bad as this though:

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