twin-peaks-irving-texas-promo-ron-ruggless.png Ron Ruggless
At the Twin Peaks Irving, Texas, location, from left: Allison Lyle, Alexis Malvery, executive chef Alex Sadowsky, CEO Joe Hummel, Jordan Mize and Rebecca Gruman.

Twin Peaks hones culinary, beverage bona fides

Sports bar concept works to elevate menu, bar program

Twin Peaks Sports Bar & Restaurant, noted for its costumed female wait staff and 29-degree tap beer, has been working to elevate its menu and bar offerings, executives say.

Joe Hummel, CEO of Twin Peaks, which is owned by Addison, Texas-based Front Burner Restaurants L.P., said the brand’s food and beverage offerings have improved markedly since he joined the company as a franchisee.

“Innovation in the food has really changed since I joined in 2011 and today,” said Hummel, who was named CEO in 2016. “We’re also very involved in the bar with craft cocktails with wide selection of whiskeys and tequilas. In ’11, we were serving very cold beer. Today we’ve expanded the portfolio and added a great wine program.”

The brand has expanded its menu items from 30 to 42 for more variety, Hummel said.

The sales mix is 52% food and 47% beverage with about one percentage point for merchandise, he said, and the new menu, which debuted in March with a rollout of hickory smokers in all 85 units, has helped the brand book a 1.4% increase in traffic and a 3.4% increase in sales for the first quarter.

Chef Alex Sadowsky, who had been with parent company Front Burner’s Whiskey Cake concept and Haywire before joining the Twin Peaks brand in November, was behind the introduction of the new Twin Peaks menu in March.

“We’re doing everything possible with scratch cooking,” Sadowsky said, overseeing the rollout of new hickory smokers to all the units for items like spare ribs. The brand is also playing with smoked cocktails and smoked ice, he said. “It really is a good brand fit in general,” Sadowsky added.

Photo: Ron Ruggless

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The wedge salad is one of the more popular items on the menu, a new version of which was introduced in March.

The smokers allowed Twin Peaks to added in-house smoked meats in several different menu categories like Spicy Thai Ribs and a Carolina Pork Sandwich.

Spare ribs and wedge salad remain the menu’s top sellers, Sadowsky said.

“You’d never believe that a bunch of guys drinking beer and looking at pretty girls would like a wedge salad,” he noted. “We’re working to stay ahead of the trends now.” The next menu rollout is targeted for August, Sadowsky said.

Hummel said Twin Peaks tries to provide a barbell pricing for its consumers, a demographic that is broad but is dominated by 20- to 40-year-old men.

Hummel said the company works to provide options from a $3 beer and a burger to an elevated $8.29 Bulleit Rye Whiskey Old-Fashioned cocktail with crafted ice, which is often on promotion for $5, and a rib-eye steak.

“Our customer has evolved,” Hummel said. “I wasn’t drinking bourbon in 2011, but I’m drinking more bourbons than beer. Our palates have evolved as consumers, so we had to evolve.” Twin Peaks brews some of its own beers, like the best-selling Dirty Blonde, for Texas at the Irving location.

Hummel said Twin Peaks is also upgrading audio-visual packages in older restaurants to enhance television sports-watching occasions as well as expanding indoor and outdoor bars, adding outdoor firepits and making other improvements in the décor.

Photo: Ron Ruggless

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An Old-Fashioned with Bulleit Rye Whiskey and crafted ice cubes

Sales are spread across with dayparts, with about 42% lunch and about 58% dinner and evening, Hummel said.

Traffic does depend on how well favored sports teams are doing in the brand’s regions, which are clustered in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Texas, he said.

“When you think about the seasonality, a lot depends on how the hometown teams match up,” Hummel said. “Those are uncontrollable challenges you think about.”

The company working on opening its first unit abroad in Mexico City, Hummel added.

Twin Peaks, founded in 2005 in Lewisville, Texas, has 85 locations in 26 states.

Correction May 13, 2019: This story has been edited to correct the name of the Twin Peaks beer.

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