Reporter's Notebook
Macaroni Grill expands fast-casual format to dinner daypart

Macaroni Grill expands fast-casual format to dinner daypart

Ron Ruggless

Romano’s Macaroni Grill this week expanded its fast-casual counter format from lunch to dinner Mondays through Thursdays at 137 of its locations.

The casual-dining Italian division of Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group Inc. debuted the Kitchen Counter format in October.

"Honestly, we thought the Kitchen Counter concept was going to catch on quickly, but I’m pleased to say it exceeded our already-high expectations,” said John Gilbert, president of Romano’s Macaroni Grill, in a statement. “We knew busy people would appreciate a fast, high-quality lunch without the fast-food experience, and they proved us right. So why wouldn’t it work just as well at dinner?”

The Romano’s Kitchen Counter dinner menu is offered at $9 in a guaranteed nine minutes. Items include Pork Belly and Chicken Carbonara, Prosciutto and Chicken Penne and Pesto Chicken Farfalle.

Lunch options are offered at $7 with promise of service within seven minutes.

In addition to its 167 Macaroni Grill units at the end of the third quarter on Sept. 29, Ignite also owned and operate 138 Joe’s Crab Shack and 21 Brick House Tavern + Tap units.

Here’s a look at a promotional ad for the Kitchen Counter:


Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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