April 02, 2009 // Franchising.com // Leawood, KS - In response to a number of so-called financial experts suggesting Americans stop dining out as a means of surviving the current economic downturn, Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc. has taken it upon themselves to declare April National Eat Out Month.
The hip-casual dining restaurant, with 106 locations, will launch its cheeky campaign on April 1, 2009 telling customers, 'if you don't eat out at Houlihan's, please eat out somewhere!" The campaign includes a mass-blast Email to its guest database on April 1, digital billboards in its home-base of Kansas City and several Public Service Announcement (PSA) inspired spots in top-rated radio stations, including National Public Radio (NPR).
According to the National Restaurant Association's website, the industry's overall economic impact is projected to exceed $1.5 trillion in 2009. A large downturn in restaurant attendance is likely to have a very real impact on the economy as a whole.
Houlihan's goal with National Eat Out Month: take a stand against the naysayers of dining out and reverse the consumer sentiment that eating out is irresponsible in some way. Research from the NRA finds that 69 percent of adults with children say purchasing meals from restaurants, take-out and delivery places makes it easier to manage their day-to-day lives.
Houlihan's recently launched three new programs to help the cost-conscious enjoy dining out while keeping an eye on their wallets. They include: "Mealio Dealio," a three-course prix fixe meal starting at around $12, Half-Price Wine, $6 Appetizers during happy hour and Bottomless Soup and Salad at lunch. Program availability to be determined on a location by location basis.
Houlihan's has been the trendsetter in casual restaurants with a menu of eclectic dishes featuring premium ingredients like artisan breads and cheeses, Prime aged steaks and seafood and its signature drink flights of mini martinis, mini margaritas and wine flights. Menu items range from classic (stuffed chicken breast or a mini burger threesome) to adventurous (So. Cal fish tacos or seared rare ahi tuna salad with a banana-ginger vinaigrette), often with whimsical presentations in a style-forward atmosphere. Currently, 106 Houlihan's restaurants operate throughout the country, 70 of which are franchised, and company executives estimate approximately 30 new locations will open in the next two years.