Shortly after I arrived in Charleston, I fielded a call from an aggrieved reader, who wished to know why I never wrote about her favorite restaurant, Fatz Café. I explained that I focus primarily on locally owned, independent restaurants, which only upset her further. She’d always thought the Fatz in North Charleston was the sole https://www.storeholidayhours.org/fatz-cafe-menu-prices/ in the world.
In recent years, though, fewer customers have made that mistake about the 45 restaurants inside the Greenville-based chain. “Fatz got off track a bit bit,” admits marketing v . p . Zac Painter. In accordance with Painter, Fatz responded to the recession and ensuing drop-off in casual dining traffic by diluting its homegrown Southern character.
“We became everything to everyone, because everybody was fighting over every share of stomach there was clearly,” Painter says.
Now Fatz is wanting to reverse that trend with a new menu featuring freshly made buttermilk biscuits, pimento cheese-and-bacon jam dip plated in a skillet and Mason jar cocktails. The restaurant’s also done away with something that didn’t pass its “is it Southern?” test, including much of the pop music on its playlist.
“We once had an Asian chicken salad,” Painter says. “It was actually a great salad, but it’s not what a Southern kitchen would serve, so we took them back the menu.”
Painter said customers have mostly responded positively towards the changes, but there is a business process in position for coping with guests who would like their Mediterranean fish or pasta back.
“Someone from our support center or regional manager personally contact(s) these to say, ‘We promise you’re likely to love what we’re doing,’” he says, emphasizing quality upgrades like a switch to Carolina shrimp and homemade peach preserves; the condiment is supposed to reference the converted peach shed which 29 years back housed the very first Fatz.
“From a kitchen perspective, we’re doing far more things in-house, so we were required to streamline the menu so we may be really very best in class at what we should do,” Painter continues. “We required to get back from what What Time Does Fatz Open was approximately.”
Fatz isn’t alone in seeking to nurse a casual dining brand back to health. An oversaturated marketplace, interest in local food and the rise in popularity of fast casual restaurants, like Chipotle, have devastated the casual dining sector. In 2016, Logan’s Roadhouse filed for bankruptcy, while Ruby Tuesday and Bob Evans each closed dozens of locations. Earlier this coming year, the parent company of Carrabba’s and Bonefish Grill announced it had been shuttering 43 outlets.
“It’s been rough,” Painter says. Other chains are testing rebranding in hopes of turning customer demographics in their favor. A 2014 Morgan Stanley study indicated that casual dining’s “core customers” are eaters between 50 and 68, which may explain why Cracker Barrel recently presented Holler & Dash, an exposed brick-and-cold brew cplgty kind of concept. “We developed Holler & Dash to leverage our brand strengths, more particularly our Southern roots,” a spokeswoman told AdWeek.
Still, aging restaurant chains also have to address problems that Mason jars and iron skillets can’t fix. Over a recent visit to the Fatz in North Charleston, only a couple of the tables inside the section where I used to be seated were occupied. Within minutes of my arrival, one of many parties received its entrees, including an apparently undercooked steak.