Upscale Steak Houses

Running head: UPSCALE STEAK HOUSES Upscale Steak-House Restaurants (Trend or Fad?) Denis Boucher Dean West November 30, 1999 Upscale Steak-House Restaurants (We found the Beef) Where’s the beef? There is no lack of quantity or quality of product at upscale steak-house restaurants. Who would have ever thought that people would stand in line to pay an average of $65 for a steak? Not so long ago, beef was taboo for the young, upcoming, physically fit executive. Today, however, traffic and spending are on the increase at fine-dining steak houses. Currently, more than twelve companies have been successful in the “big beef, big check” concept. Many of these companies are looking to expand their product by co-branding with upscale hotels. The return to steak started with visionary independent restaurant owners such as Arnie Morton, of Morton’s Steakhouse, Ruth’s purchase of Chris’ Steakhouse, and progressed to T.G.I. Friday’s former owner, Alan Stillman, introducing Smith & Wolensky steak house, and Don Shula’s decision to franchise his line of steak houses. This segment of the restaurant industry is thriving by providing extremely high quality products for a generous price tag. For now, today’s diner has a voracious appetite for prime, well-aged beef. According to the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, fine-dining restaurants are in a growth period. Customer counts at up-scale steak houses in 1998 increased 7 percent over 1997 and 26 percent during the years 1993-1998. Customer spending at those restaurants rose 11 percent in 1998 and 59 percent over the same five-year span (Frumkin, 1999). Even the casual steakhouse segment has experienced growth from 1993 through 1997 of about 43 percent. Many of these steak houses have added new menu items to lure the “no beef” crowd, but an overwhelming percentage of the sales continues to be tenderloin and top sirloin steaks. Demographics seem to favor the growth …

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