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TGI Friday’s, Red Lobster, and Olive Garden are all trying to distinguish themselves from each other in an attempt to attract new customers (via AdWeek).In this economic climate, chains think they have a better chance at reeling in new clientele through rebranding efforts that might resonate with consumers across the financial spectrum.
“The lines of class have been blurred,” consultant Hasan Ramusevic tells AdWeek. “Fine diners are now all over the board, and there’s a little bit of a race to the middle to get new customers without alienating their core base.”
10 major chains are in search of new, original advertising campaigns. The idea is to try and avoid a “food porn” approach, which tends to be generic across restaurants, and instead focus on carving out a distinct identity for brands that are often lumped together into the “casual dining” category.
Despite the new push, these franchises have been doing well among their core customers, with overall sales rising recently. Darden Restaurant Inc., which owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden, is overall in the black (though its Olive Garden sales were down).
One of the challenges for the chains is that they are now competing against “fast casual” dining establishments like Chipotle and Panera Bread, which offer similar food and atmosphere for lower prices.
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