There is no scarcity of excellent steakhouse chains in the United States, from Outback Steakhouses to Texas Roadhouses.
But on the other hand, LongHorn Steakhouse’s stellar performance over the past few months suggests that an increasing number of Americans are turning to the restaurant chain to satiate their cravings for grilled beef.
The casual steakhouse, which falls under the purview of parent company Darden Restaurants, exceeded analyst expectations with a substantial 7.1% increase in same-store sales for the quarter ending on May 28.
This is even greater than Darden’s aggregate 4% increase in same-store sales and the 4.4% increase reported by Olive Garden, another Darden brand.
What contributed to Longhorn’s exceptionally prosperous quarter? Rick Cardenas, president, and CEO of Darden, stated on a June 22 earnings call that there was no “silver bullet” or single explanation for LongHorn’s performance. Nonetheless, he provided several potential factors that may have played a role.
First, he acknowledged that price increases contributed to the quarter’s robust sales. This is a prevalent practice in the restaurant industry, where many businesses have increased menu prices to compensate for rising costs of food, labor, and other commodities.
According to Restaurant Dive, Darden’s CFO Raj Vennam estimated in March of this year that the company’s total price increases for its fiscal year 2023 would range between 6% and 6.5%.
However, these price increases are not the sole reason for LongHorn’s recent sales growth. Cardenas stated that guest traffic has been “positive” at the chain, with the brand breaking its weekly sales record during Mother’s Day week being a significant highlight of the most recent quarter.
Cardenas also praised the accomplishments of LongHorn Steakhouse’s president, Todd Burrowes, noting that Burrowes and his team have been on a “journey” to promote quality, simplicity, and culture at the chain.
He said, “LongHorn has been executing well for the last few years, and I want to commend Todd and his team.”
Exceptional execution in any restaurant, whether regarding the quality of service or the cuisine itself, can result in happier customers who may be more inclined to return in the future. Cardenas stated earlier in the call that “internal guest satisfaction metrics remain at or near all-time highs across all of our brands.”
He said this in reference to LongHorn’s leadership,” There aren’t silver bullets here. It’s about having great execution, investing in your team, investing in your product to drive profitable, same-restaurant sales growth, and that’s what they’ve been doing.”
LongHorn outperformed other Darden brands in the most recent quarter, but it will be measured against Ruth’s Chris Steak House, a prominent steakhouse chain that Darden acquired just last month.
About Longhorn Steakhouse: Longhorn Steakhouse opened its doors in Atlanta, Georgia, for the first time in 1981. The restaurant was founded by George McKerrow Jr. and Brian H. Fairbrother on the principles of serving outstanding cuisine with unmatched hospitality.
Longhorn Steakhouse rapidly gained popularity among both locals and tourists due to its rustic, Western-inspired décor, and warm, welcoming atmosphere.