Sales per restaurant at Smokey Bones lagged behind its counterparts.
Olive Garden: Total Sales: $2.62 billion. Average Annual Sales Per
Restaurant: $4.6 million
Red Lobster: Total Sales: $2.58 billion. Average Annual Sales Per Restaurant: $3.8 million
Smokey Bones: Total Sales: $337 million. Average Annual Sales per Restaurant: $2.9 million
Bahama Breeze: Total Sales: $166 million. Average Annual Sales Per Restaurant: $5.2 million
Seasons 52: Data not available.
Source: Darden’s 2006 Annual Report.
VIA Bob Wright. If you or I owned a Smokey Bones Bar-B-Q Restaurant, we might be thrilled with the money it makes. But the concept does meet Darden’s internal hurdle rate for returns for a national chain.
Darden’s fought the limitation of their bar-b-q/sports bar focus since day one. Frequency of visit is the key for all Darden concepts (and most non-tourism driven or event restaurants for that matter) and even people who love bar-b-q have cut back on their visits. All Darden restaurants experience strong trial (honeymoon) due to name/brand, concept, location, consumer’s natural propensity to try a new restaurant and advertising. From there (generally about three to six months after the honeymoon ends) the location, concept, menu, experience, prices, etc., bring people back.
So Darden, the last remaining Fortune 500 company in Central Florida, continues to search for the third leg to the stool to go with Red Lobster and Olive Garden.
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Artist Christian Nold outfits volunteers with global positioning system devices and the sensors used in lie detector tests. Then, he sends his subjects out to wander their neighborhoods. When they return, Nold asks them to recount what they saw and felt when the polygraph recorded a quickened heartbeat or an elevated blood pressure.
Nold, a London-based artist, calls his work “emotional mapping.” Having mapped settings as varied as industrial areas of Bangladesh and the red light district of Brussels, Belgium, he recently arrived in San Francisco for his first U.S. project.
Marketers, mobile telephone companies, architects and real estate developers have expressed interest in putting Nold’s handheld gizmos to commercial use, a situation the artist finds ironic. He said he gets five e-mail solicitations each day asking about the practical applications, but turns most of them down.
Nold has been making emotional maps for three years and says he has been heartened by the common threads that have linked neighborhoods in places like Siena, Italy, Munich, Germany, and San Francisco. He’s found that his subjects enjoy being given a reason to roam aimlessly, tend to have elevated emotions at corners and on their way to a destination, and are endlessly curious about new stores and restaurants.
“When I go to a place, I’m always kind of a tourist,” he said. “But I get a mixture of this ephemeral stuff with an amazing grass roots view you would never get unless you lived in a place for 10 years.”