Yard House, the beer-focused casual-dining division of Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants Inc., rose to No. 91 in the Latest Year, from No. 97 the Preceding Year. Darden acquired Yard House in August 2012, when it had 39 units, for $585 million, from TSG Consumer Partners, and added it to its Specialty Restaurant Group, which includes Seasons 52, Eddie V’s and other brands.
Yard House was founded two decades ago, and was one of the pioneers in craft beers. The concept’s name comes from its signature “yard” of beer, served in an extra-tall glass, and the beer menu includes more than 100 beers on tap and a chalkboard of changing brews from around the world. Recently, the brand has been marketing itself as a “modern public house where food and beer lovers unite.”
Keys to growth:
Unit growth. Yard House led the 2015 Top 100 casual-dining segment for percentage increase in units, rising 13.5 percent, to 59 restaurants, from 52 in the year ended May 2014.
Strong segment. Interest in craft beer has been increasing, reflected in sales growth at restaurants. A 2014 study by analytics firm Technomic found that consumption of craft beer volume expanded 11.8 percent overall, and 14.5 percent in restaurants and bars. Yard House was well positioned, with a 20-year history in the space.
Vibrant atmosphere. A menu of likable American menu items and global flavors provides a broad appeal for culinary tastes. The brand also crafts a music playlist of classic and new rock that appeals to a wide variety of demographics.