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Striking the Balance Between Fancy and Too Fancy

Locations_dallas Rich, or rather diners that still have jobs, are being wooed by Adirondack chairs and ship lanterns in Red Lobster’s remodeling endeavor. It hasn’t worked on me yet. I may fall into the disposable income for dining camp, but I must admit my attention was grabbed harder by the chain’s by four courses for $15 promo than attempts at creating a new look. I mean, really, I could practically spend that on a sandwich at lunch (I wouldn’t, because I’m cheap). At least I have the choice, though; households earning less than $40,000, so-called "aspirational diners," aren't buying lobster dinners like they used to.

Who knew that when I randomly decided to visit a part of New Jersey I’d never explored and pulled over at a Texas Roadhouse , that I was fitting right into the CEO CG Hart’s vision for an expanding demographic. No, I am not a “blue-collar worker” and yes, we ordered “higher-priced steaks!” If the chain wants to appeal to this undefined “higher income” group, they probably should have the servers stop asking if you’ve eaten a rib-eye before. That’s just weird. And serve skin-on bone-in chicken instead of breast meat. Rich people like that (ok, they don’t—too much flavor).

Showing some chain ignorance, I always thought Grand Lux Café was the lower end Cheesecake Factory so I never wanted to go (only the best for me!).Yes, I know, grand and lux are word clues. I’ve steered clear of the one in Paramus and wasn’t tempted by the original in The Venetian over New Year’s Eve. And apparently, no one else has been going because the restaurant is perceived as being too damn fancy. Downscaling is in order. Throw out the Adirondack chairs, stat!

Cheesecake Factory CEO, David Overton told The Wall Street Journal that he’s making the "decor less formal and fancy," so as the newspaper puts it, “not to intimidate the average suburban family who wanders in after a trip to the mall on a weekday night.”

Not sure if I’d use the term intimidated to describe my reaction to the “elaborate design, sumptuous fabrics and textures, and custom artisan-created details…awash in a color scheme reminiscent of a Venetian carnival,” explained on Grand Lux’s site. It might be safer to say a little frightened.

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