Previously, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s removed wings from the menu because of historic inflation, but the item returned at 99 cents per piece. Also, $10.99 Philly Cheesesteak Thursday is replacing $11.59 Fajitas Thursday, and $9.99 Fish & Chips Friday is taking the place of Surf and Turf, which was around $14. In addition to the daily specials, the company is launching a two for $25 in which customers can choose among four appetizers and nine entrées.
New and upgraded products will include enhanced nachos and tacos, chopped steak and gravy, loaded fries (cheeseburger fries and buffalo ranch fries), and an old favorite, the Dubliner, an open-faced steak and gravy sandwich.
“With staffing issues and supply chain issues that have existed for the last 18 months, our franchise community came to us and said staffing stores and providing great service is the most important thing we can do,” Elliott says. “Please don't throw any menu changes at us right now—any new products or new deals or new complications. Let's keep it simple, and let's just execute in the four walls. That's what we did.”
“ … So after having done really not much with the menu for 18 months, now all this is coming,” Elliott continues. “It was all tested and all working toward giving the consumer some better options and some really good value under the circumstances.”
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s sister concept, Brass Tap, instituted a new menu amid the pandemic, as well. The bar also implemented a brunch program to build weekend sales, but Elliott isn’t sure the same initiative will carry over to Beef ‘O’ Brady’s—at least not within the next few months. Instead, the sports bar is working on rolling out catering, a program it's held back due to supply chain issues with paper and plastics and wanting to remove complications from franchisees’ plates. Catering is scheduled to go live in August.
The concept is also working through new technology to improve the experience of both employees and guests. Last year, the first big push was with back-of-house labor. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s searched for ways to take as much preparation out of the kitchen as possible without any degradation in product quality. Whereas team members pre-cooked, sliced, and reheated meat, now everything comes pre-sliced and cooked to order. The same is true for vegetables that used to be sliced by hand. Elliott estimates the chain removed about 20 hours of preparation per week, which has made the kitchen much easier to handle in the morning.
In the front-of-house, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is testing a self-serve kiosk and order-at-the-table technology. Thus far, the kiosk has not performed well, but it’s only been live for a couple of months. Elliott says the chain will continue to experiment for six months and see if it becomes more popular. There’s a lot more confidence behind the order-at-the-table innovation.
“We give customers a lot more flexibility, and basically we're fine-tuning the technology to start that test this summer,” Elliott says.
The initiatives, combined with growing sales, have sparked intrigue among franchisees looking to grow. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s was once as high as 270 units, but struggled through the Great Recession. With new AUV ceilings, interest has been reignited, Elliott says.
There’s approximately 15 units in the pipeline; six stores are scheduled to open this year. The chain has agreed to six franchise deals in 2022 so far, and hopes to reach as many as 15 by the end of the year. For the next handful of years, Elliott expects an annual cadence of five to six openings, but he’s hoping as attraction grows and AUV rises, the pipeline will continue to build and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s can reach 10-15 per year.
“These are [sales] numbers that not only had never been seen before, I don't think anybody ever thought was possible, and that's created a lot of additional interest in in the brand,” Elliot says.