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Podcast: Firebirds exec on winning family loyalty

The polished casual brand's marketing head discusses kids' food trends

Listen to this podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify or SoundCloud.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Firebirds Wood Fired Grill characterizes itself as a “polished casual dining” concept and, in keeping with that positioning, its kids’ menu is no chicken nuggets and slice of cheese pizza affair.

Grilled steak and salmon, smoked chicken wings and Parmesan mashed potatoes are just a few of the not-so-common items on Firebirds’ bill of fare for the young set.

Kids_Showing_Off_Their_Complimentary_Firebirds_Chefs_Jackets.jpgAdventuresome foods are not the only unique thing about the 50-unit chain’s play for family patronage, however. Firebirds is also known for providing kids tours of its signature wood-fired-grill station, regularly supplying culinarily curious children with complimentary pint-sized chef’s coats and going beyond simple attention tapping coloring books to highlight charitable causes and medically embattled or recovering youngsters in its “activity books.” And at least half of its kids’ foods meet the nutritional guidelines of the National Restaurant Association’s “Kids LiveWell” program.

Some of those strategies are clearly targeted at Millennial parents.

Firebirds’ progressive approach to family dining – not to mention a four-year average of 11% annual sales growth – likely was part of what caught the eye of the acquisition team at J.H. Whitney Capital Partners LLC, which earlier this year acquired the chain from Angelo, Gordon & Co. for an undisclosed sum.

Stephen Loftis, vice president of marketing for Firebirds, is the prime ingredient in this Extra Serving podcast as he shares details around his chain’s current successful kids’ menu and family business-building practices, as well as some hints about how those policies, strategies and moves might look tomorrow.

Brought to you by Campbell's Foodservice.

Contact Alan Liddle at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @AJ_NRN

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