Love steak? These are 5 big changes you’ll see at North Carolina steakhouses this summer. Steakhouses, like many other restaurants during the pandemic, took a big hit to their business. But this past year customers have returned to their old ways of dining out and steakhouses are booming again. Despite the prosperity of many chains, there are changes coming this year to keep up with current dining trends. That means fine-tuning things to keep business going strong, especially where high inflation has impacted the business.
Some of the better-known chains looking to make changes include Texas Roadhouse, Ruth’s Chris, Outback, and others. Here’s what you can expect to see in steakhouse changes for the rest of 2023 in NC according to EatThis,NotThat!.
- Less is more – Outback is set to remodel over 100 locations this year as part of a multi-year effort to downsize some locations with their “Next Gen” redesign project. Outback President Brett Patterson said, “The smaller size allows us to bring restaurants to areas where larger units are not possible.” One of the first to open is the Next Gen Outback here in Charlotte. The new designs have the most current technology as well as curbside and takeout pickup areas.
- Tech upgrades – restaurants all across the US are using the latest technology to speed up service and improve the customer experience and Texas Roadhouse has announced a pay-at-the-table system called Roadhouse Pay. They also have rolled out the “Digital Kitchen” at locations in Texas and Minnesota that get rid of paper ticket orders and features video screens at every prep location in the kitchen. Jerry Morgan, CEO of Texas Roadhouse said “This will be a big year for us when it comes to opening new stores with a Digital Kitchen and even converting some existing stores.” Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has introduced a forecasting program to increase efficiency in scheduling and preparation and has seen a 10% improvement in hours per entrée
- More expansion – Texas Roadhouse currently has 700 locations. It has a goal of 900 in the future with 25-30 new units expected in 2023. Outback plans to open 75-100 of the Next Gen restaurants in the next few years. Fogo de Chão has 58 locations and plans to open 10 more this year. LongHorn Steakhouse plans to open new locations in the “mid-teens.”
- What is old is new again – Sizzler Steakhouse opened its first location in 1958. At one time it had over 700 locations across the US. That number is down to 70 at the current time. They have rolled out a new restaurant design that features digital displays, tile flooring and recycled wood paneling. There’s even a fireplace near the front counter as well as retaining their famous all-you-can-eat salad bar. Robert Clark, Sizzler USA’s chief growth officer says the salad bar is the chain’s centerpiece. The redesign will have more open space above the bar, new surfaces, and glass on sneeze guards. The first Sizzler to unveil the redesign opened earlier this year in Corona, California. Their goal is to have every location undergo remodeling by Spring of 2024.
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