Golden Corral touts value with 2 for $20 deal

Staff Writer
Golden Corral touts value with 2 for $20 deal

Golden Corral has begun a national 2 for $20 dinner promotion that aims to build business, compete with table-service operators and reinforce the grill-buffet chain’s value proposition.

National TV advertising for the month-long “The Ultimate 2 for $20” dinner buffet promotion began last week in advance of Monday’s launch of the deal, which is offered Monday through Thursday after 4 p.m.

The 30-second spot emphasizes the all-you-can-eat aspect of Golden Corral’s promotion, which lets guests select from the chain’s entire menu. That compares with a slew of 2-for-$20 deals with limited entrée selection, and, in some cases, shared appetizers or desserts, offered recently by Applebee’s and Chili’s.

“We’re optimistic that our results will be consistent with test-market results, which were very good,” Chris Kuehn, Golden Corral chief marketing officer, said after the first day of the promotion.

Watch the commercial; story continues below

Golden Corral management collaborated in designing the promotion with the operators of its 388 franchised locations, Kuehn said, including multi-unit franchisee Eric Holm of Holm Restaurants LLC of Orlando, who suggested the approach.

Management and franchisees will evaluate how the promotion impacts all aspects of business before deciding on how to use the strategy, if at all, going forward. “We’re such a great deal every day, we don’t want to get into the discount game,” Kuehn said.

However, January is a fitting time for “a little stronger value message,” he said, given the competition for consumers’ dining dollars that now defines the industry and regular post-holiday and winter season sales challenges.

Weekday dinner pricing among Golden Corral operators ranges from about $10.29 to $11.49, as the chain does not set pricing, officials said.

“This is a modest discount delivered in a compelling way that is a reminder of what a great deal we are,” Kuehn said of The Ultimate 2 for $20 promo. “It drives traffic but also reinforces a core characteristic of the brand, which is great value.”

In response to rising commodity prices and other business realities, Kuehn said Golden Corral anticipates raising menu prices from a half of a percent to 1.5 percent in 2012.

He characterized The Ultimate 2 for $20 promotion as a progression from earlier marketing efforts that underscored the idea that consumers could have a satisfying dining experience at Golden Corral “for around $10.”

The campaign also is extended at Golden Corral’s Twitter and Facebook sites and at www.community.goldencorral.com.

While the social media efforts do not necessarily drive traffic, they are “a great listening device” for guest reaction to the chain’s promo, Kuehn said.

Golden Corral has 485 units and is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Contact Alan J. Liddle at alan.liddle@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @AJ_NRN