Making Bank

Del Frisco’s Grille

Restaurants on the rise are touting double-digit growth in revenues.

It’s not enough to make great food and beverages; restaurant chains worth noting are those that make great financial strides as well. The brands on the FSR list of Ones to Watch have impressive track records, starting with the fact that each recorded 2013 year-over-year sales gains of 13 percent or greater.

Compare that with the companies in the FSR 50, where 21 chains experienced sales growth of less than 5 percent in 2013 and 15 brands actually saw revenues decline from 2012 to 2013. In fact, only one restaurant among the FSR 50 experienced sales increases greater than 13 percent: Buffalo Wild Wings, at 23.3 percent, which also celebrated crossing the $1 billion mark in 2013. While none of the companies on the Ones to Watch list is close to that billion-dollar threshold, it’s significant when a company tallies an 83 percent leap in revenues, as was the case with Del Frisco’s Grille, or when Twin Peaks increases its sales by 68 percent and scales past $165 million in revenues.

Among the 10 brands profiled as Ones to Watch, five are upscale eateries, including three with a dominant steakhouse profile; three brands veer to the pub or sports bar genre; and the remaining two are classic casual- or family-dining venues. Each is a success story in the making.

Del Frisco’s Grille

Sales Growth: 83.8 percent 2013 Sales: $44 Million

The Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group (DFRG) says its Grille concept is the company’s upscale-casual answer to demand for more Del Frisco units—a strategic gamble that is clearly paying off in spades. The brand more than doubled in size in 2013, growing from five to 11 units, with average unit volumes (AUV) running between $4.5 million and $6 million, and average check amounts of $45–$55. The Grille locations range in size from 6,500 to 8,500 square feet, and offer both an ambiance and menu that cater to business diners and customers looking for Del Frisco’s signature steaks in a less-formal setting. DFRG’s other brands, Double Eagle Steak House and Sullivan’s Steakhouse, have larger footprints and higher price points, with average checks ringing in at $107 and $59, respectively. The company plans to open additional units of each brand, aiming for perhaps one new Double Eagle Steak House a year and four to six units between Sullivan’s and the Grille. However, the Grille is expected to be the leading growth vehicle, and another Grille opened in June in Burlington, Massachusetts, bringing the brand’s total to 12 units.


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