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Del Frisco’s to create more distinction between 3 brands

Company hires Bain Consulting to hone Del Frisco’s Grille concept

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group Inc. is creating more distinction between its three brands through new leadership, chefs and menu focus, executives said Tuesday.

Norman Abdallah, CEO of Southlake, Texas-based Del Frisco’s, said the company is taking steps to differentiate Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Del Frisco’s Grille and Sullivan’s Steakhouse.

The company has hired Bain Consulting to help it hone the Grille concept. 

“Del Frisco's Grille is also testing a new menu based upon initial findings for Bain Consulting work, with a full rollout slated for the fourth quarter,” Abdallah said during a first-quarter earnings call. “It will include a much improved beverage program supported by formalized wine education of our staff designed to build check.”

Bain’s consumer research, which surveyed more than 3,000 Del Frisco’s guests, also found that price points were less of a concern than having a venue to socialize with friends, or providing a high-service meal.

“Only 13 percent of our guests are true value-seekers, looking for a well-priced meal,” Abdallah said. “This suggests to us that we have a distinct opportunity to build check with the overwhelming majority of our guests.”

Rhe research would also be used to determine real estate locations in the future, “so that we are even more disciplined in generating higher cash-on-cash returns from new store development,” he said.

The company will also accelerate restaurant development next year, to four to seven new restaurants.

In May, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House will open a new two-story restaurant in Plano, Texas. In June, it will open a Del Frisco’s Grille in downtown Manhattan, complementing an existing location in Rockefeller Center.

The first opening of 2018 will be a Del Frisco's Grille in Westwood, Mass., Abdallah said.

“This will be the first location to incorporate the learnings from our Bain Consulting project, and to be considered our ‘Grille of the Future,’” he said.

For the first quarter ended March 21, Del Frisco’s net income fell 38.8 percent, to $3.3 million, or 14 cents per share, from $5.4 million, or 23 cents per share, the previous year. Revenue increased 3.3 percent, to $83.9 million, from $81.2 million the previous year.

Del Frisco’s systemwide same-sales slipped 0.2 percent in the first quarter, reflecting a 0.8-percent decline in average check offset by a 0.6-percent increase in customer counts.

By brand, same-store sales fell 0.5 percent at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, rose 1.1 percent at Sullivan’s Steakhouse and dropped 0.9 percent at Del Frisco’s Grille.

Among the recent leadership additions, Del Frisco’s has hired Sarah McAloon as president of the Del Frisco’s Grille brand. She assumed the post on April 3. McAloon most recently served as chief marketing officer of Cicis. 

As of March 21, Del Frisco's had 52 restaurants across 23 states and Washington, D.C., including Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan's Steakhouse and Del Frisco's Grille. 

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless 

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