This clever headline used by Leanne Griffin of the Hartford Courant is a reference to one the restaurant chain’s most popular dishes, the Bang Bang Shrimp, a tasty appetizer, which according to Bonefish Grill officials, has people returning again and again. But is it the bang in the shrimp or the marketing behind it that makes Bonefish such a phenomenal success wherever they open? I recently worked on two grand openings for Bonefish Grill in the Greater Hartford area handling their public and media relations. During these openings, I noticed first-hand the genuine excitement of the local community for a brand they knew very well or recognized from vacations in the southern U.S.
While new to the region – Bonefish Grill’s first New England restaurant opened in Cranston, R.I. earlier this year – there’s been a significant amount of name recognition among local diners. The first Bonefish Grill in Connecticut opened at the Promenade Shoppes at Evergreen Walk at the end of March. The second one opened in Newington just a few weeks ago and these will be just two of more than 10 restaurants planned to open within New England in the next three years.
Bonefish Grill is part of the Bloomin’ Brands Inc. restaurant group, which also owns Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Fleming’s Steakhouse and Wine Bar. These are all recognizable brands with a formula for success. Why does this group produce such consistently good restaurants? Is it the service? The staff friendliness? The food itself?
What are the real indicators in determining why a restaurant will be a success? Many restaurants go out of business in a short period of time simply because restaurateurs have not done their homework or put in the necessary efforts to launch their brand. No restaurant is guaranteed to succeed, but the chances that it will be fruitful and become a success increase when some important steps are taken into account while establishing a brand:
Memorable. Meaningful. Likeable. Authentic. Simple. Creative.
At the end of the day any restaurant needs to own its identity or branding. The more you stay true to your brand, the more you will succeed. Whether a restaurant has been around for decades or recently launched, some companies offer “that little bit of magic” when it comes to grabbing attention and establishing themselves as fan favorites.
Of course, that “magic” doesn’t just happen by itself.
From sensible pricing to a good sense of community, creative logo and tagline Bonefish has figured out how to work their way into their customers’ hearts and minds: as they say, “Happiness Starts Here.”
-Sandrine Sebag, Senior Vice President, Regan Communications, Hartford