Darden Restaurants is building up a next generation of restaurants to take over its growth when the classic brands max out on expansion in the U.S.
These smaller, trendier chains are meant to attract Millennials, with a greater emerging Specialty Restaurant Group includes Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie V’s, Bahama Breeze and newly acquired Yard House. Darden’s other concepts include Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse.
Why go after Millennials? According to Boston Consulting Group, the group is driving the dining trends. A recent BCG study finds that Millennials go out to eat 3.4 times a week on average, vs. 2.8 times for the rest of the population, and they are more willing to pay a higher price for a better dining experience.
Meanwhile, Pew Research Group, which defines Millennials as the U.S. teens and twenty-somethings now making the passage into adulthood, says the generation’s personality is confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living. This is key for operators trying to keep pace with the changing restaurant landscape to consider.
Darden told the Wall Street Journal that Yard House, the 40-unit chain it acquired in August, has the most potential to attract Millennials, with its craft beer, gourmet-style bar food and large, open bar areas with high tables for mingling. Darden plans to expand Yard House to up to 200 restaurants.
Read the full WSJ article here.