Fogo de Chão has rolled out its new Bar Fogo program systemwide in an effort to expand the brand’s dayparts and increase customer visits, the company said this month.
In February, the Dallas-based Brazilian steakhouse operator unveiled a new restaurant in its headquarters city that features an expanded bar area to appeal to lunch customers and a new Bar Fogo menu with small plates.
The Bar Fogo program includes new Brazilian cocktails, a bar bites menu and happy hour offers, as well as a remodeling program for older restaurants.
“During 2016, we began our remodel program,” said Larry Johnson, Fogo de Chão CEO, during a call with analysts in March. “This asset investment updates the restaurants with a warm, contemporary and timeless feel, which appeals to both the Millennials and the empty nester.”
Johnson said the new look and menu positions the brand as “approachable fine dining,” and increases the capacity and flexibility of seating.
“We anticipate our remodel program should provide a list to revenue on average of approximately 2 percent to 3 percent,” Johnson said. “During 2017, we anticipate remodeling approximately six additional restaurants in the U.S.”
The new Bar Fogo menu is one of the largest bar innovations for the brand since it entered the United States 20 years ago, the company said, and is aimed at providing a “casual alternative” for guests.
“Our new platforms continue to gain traction, and our consumer research shows an increase in frequency to 1.6 visits per year, as compared to 1.4 visits just two years ago,” said Barry McGowan, Fogo de Chão president. “Looking forward, the next set of initiatives will be led with innovation around enhancing our existing platforms.”
Small plates in the Bar Fogo menu include new items like braised beef rib sliders, Brazilian empanadas and garlic shrimp. New cocktails include strawberry-hibiscus and mango-habenero caipirinhas.
“Our strategy is around daypart expansion, all-day value and innovation,” McGowan said, which are aimed at driving awareness, trial and frequency of the churrascaria.
The brand is also highlighting its Bar Fogo Happy Hour from Monday through Friday, which features special pricing of $4 Brazilian bites and beers, $6 South American wines and $8 Brazilian cocktails.
“Our daypart expansion has been deliberate,” McGowan said. “It started with creating our sales manager role at each U.S. restaurant, so they could build traffic in our shoulder periods. As of November, we opened up our last remaining daypart, Saturday, to optimize our weekend capacity.”
Fogo de Chão’s Brazilian Brunch, on both Saturday and Sunday, created demand for the weekend dayparts, he said, and a Gaucho Lunch program on weekdays offers customers options on pricing and the ability to customize their experience.
Fogo de Chão operates 47 restaurants, 10 of which are in Brazil, as well as two joint-venture restaurants in Mexico City.
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