US eating places stressing worth in seafood promotions

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Recognizing that Americans are increasingly concerned about rising prices due to inflation, many US restaurants are tempting diners with limited-time seafood specials, discounts and meal bundles. Others promise to keep overall prices reasonable even as their costs for ingredients, labor, and serving products soar.

Nashville, Tennessee-based O’Charley’s Restaurant and Bar recently unveiled a marketing campaign featuring an “Economic Stimulus Package,” a bevy of discounts, promotions and offers to “help guests and families who are suffering economically from the current climate.” , the company said in a press release.

A signature component of the new campaign is the “Inflation Discount,” which offers a percentage discount on a guest’s next online order based on the calculation of the previous month’s Consumer Price Index tabulated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Since May’s calculation ended at 8.6 percent, guests will receive an 8.6 percent discount on their next online order in June,” said O’Charley’s.

In July, to celebrate its 40th anniversary, Boston, Massachusetts-based Bertucci’s is offering limited-time price reductions of up to 75 percent on select dishes taken from the chain’s first menu in 1981.

“These are challenging times for so many and it was important for the Bertucci family to do something to offer a little relief – and this throwback menu should help,” Bertucci’s owner Robert Earl said in a press release.

Orlando, Fla.-based Marlow’s Tavern, which operates 22 restaurants in Florida and Georgia, promises to keep prices reasonable for its longtime diners and remove seafood dishes from the menu if costs get too high, according to Marlow’s executive chef, CEO and co-founder John Metz. Metz told SeafoodSource some of his customers are upset about the removal of the crab cake entree, one of the restaurant chain’s signature dishes, but he’s waiting until the cost of crabs is more reasonable before bringing them back.

“We took crab cakes off the menu a few months ago because [the crab] the price is so high. I will not charge you $20.00 [EUR 19.68] …for crab cakes, because that’s not the value proposition we’re offering,” Metz said.

Metz is committed to keeping prices reasonable on Marlow’s “Tavern Favorites” entrée list and offering a range of pricing options for customers.

“You have to be smart. You have to think about what the guests want and give it to them at a certain price. I think we’re good at that,” Metz said.

Marlow’s is also enticing diners with new summer seafood dishes like Carol’s Lobster Roll, served Maine-style or Connecticut-style, and Blackened Triggerfish.

“We try different fish like triggerfish and monkfish that are good for our guests and deliver on our value proposition,” Metz said.

Marlow’s began streamlining its menu ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic and then continued to remove items that weren’t selling well to help manage the loss of business during the pandemic.

Marlow was also “lucky” with some futures contracts it had pre-COVID, “which hampered our ability to get the price right,” Metz said. As a result, it’s able to offer diners appetizers like the popular shrimp and grits at a great price.

Marlow’s sources its seafood from Halpern’s Seafood and Buckhead Beef of Atlanta, Georgia and Farmers and Fishermen of Norwood, Georgia.

Maintaining relationships with key suppliers during the very challenging financial times of the pandemic has also been key to Marlow’s continued success in ingredient sourcing, Metz said.

“At the start of COVID-19, we called all of our key suppliers and said, ‘We’re not going anywhere. We are a stable company, but we need your help. Let’s be flexible.” We’ve been working on paying previous bills during this time and also told them, ‘You need to talk to me about what you can deliver,'” Metz said. “They supported us 100 percent. If there was a problem, we were the first to get the seafood because we had very good relationships. They gave us the best possible value for money and we paid our bills on our time.”

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, Bloomin’ Brands-owned Bonefish Grill of Tampa, Fla., USA, remains focused on grab-and-go family dining. The “generously portioned” Family Bundles offering — like the recently introduced family dish Creamy Cajun Pasta for $47.90 (EUR 47.14) — includes an appetizer, a salad selection, a side, bread, and cookies.

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Long John Silver’s prides itself on the value of its recently launched Coconut Popcorn Shrimpwhich is offered as part of the Sea-Share or Family Feast for USD 10.00 (EUR 9.82).

Located in Orlando, Florida, USA, High Tide Harry’s offers 20 percent off all meals every Monday, along with other specials offered on certain days.

Photo courtesy of Marlow’s Tavern