Looking to boost revenue and expand its brand, STK established a thriving catering arm perfect for upscale parties, from small gatherings to celebrity bashes.
Combine a swanky steakhouse with a chic bar lounge and what results is STK, a group of 10 global eateries located in trendy neighborhoods in gateway cities such as New York, London, and Chicago. But The One Group, which owns STK, is always in pursuit of new revenue streams. When regular clients such as DirecTV and NBC inquired about its catering events off premises, STK listened.
It launched STK OUT, an off-site catering service. Since its inception in 2013, the company reports the numbers have been spiking. Without a marketing campaign and relying solely on word of mouth, STK OUT has shown signs of establishing a strong base, and is also boosting business in the restaurants.
STK OUT builds brand awareness for the company by expanding to new markets, explains Celeste Fierro, senior vice president at The One Group. For instance, it has catered special events in San Francisco and San Diego, where it doesn’t own eateries. “But people travel all over,” she says, and clients who attend these events become aware of STK’s restaurants and are more likely to dine there.
Overall, STK has shown signs of growth. In 2015, The One Group’s revenue spiked to $52.6 million, up from $40.5 million in 2014. Much of the spurt emanated from opening STK eateries in Chicago and Beverly Hills, and reopening its Miami Beach outlet. Establishing STK OUT presented a way to stimulate growth after comparable sales from STK-owned eateries dipped 0.7 percent in 2015.
STK’s model breaks the mold of the old-fashioned steakhouse, Fierro says. “We’re not your daddy’s steakhouse,” she notes. “We’re not the all-men’s club, with dark décor and the waiter who tries to sell a big steak. We want [guests] to enjoy [themselves] and have fun.” In fact, the chain also specializes in small and medium-size steaks, which appeal to all audiences.
Its catering arm STK OUT is dedicated to breaking even deeper ground. Fierro says that STK OUT delivers “a unique experience and offers that elevated culinary and customer experience that many catering companies aren’t [providing].” Customizing each event provides an edge. “If they want an outdoor barbecue, we’ll give them a unique barbecue, not just burger and steaks,” Fierro says. For example, the menu can highlight shish kebabs or porterhouse steaks, not just the premium steaks featured on the STK restaurant menu.
Cocktails can be customized as well. “We’ve held martini bars, where any type of martini can be served,” she says.
Not only is STK individualizing the food and beverage menu, it also concocts a distinctive atmosphere at each event. “We bring in our own [disc jockeys], bring in décor, and turn the event into an STK experience outside of the usual venue,” Fierro says.