Quality is king for ‘new’ Long John Silver’s
By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
18 September, 2012
Long John Silver’s (LJS) executives aim to set the massive chain apart from other quick-service seafood restaurants with a new marketing slogan and by improving the quality of its core products, CEO Mike Kern said in an exclusive interview with SeafoodSource.
“There is an array of exciting ways to prepare seafood, whether it is as an entrée, salad, wrap, melt, or sandwich. We aim to be the leader in filling that space,” Kern said. Several new products are in the development stage, and the chain just launched hand-cut onion rings.
LJS executives reviewed the entire operations and product offerings at the 1,300-store chain after LJS Partners acquired it from Yum! brands late last year. LJS set up new headquarters in Louisville, Ky., earlier this year.
To further grow the brand, LJS executives are unveiling a new marketing slogan at the Long John Silver’s Franchisee Association’s 2012 Convention this week in Orlando, Fla. “Long John Silver’s, That’s What I Like” is a phrase that “rings very true to our core users,” according to Kern.
Meanwhile, most of the work on Long John Silver’s menu has been on improving the quality of core items, according to Kern.
“Price plus quality equals value. We think we had swung too far to meet the price point and now we are trying to shift back [to higher quality products],” Kern said. Quality improvement measures include product re-formulations and new staff training.
For example, customer research found that the chain needed to improve the “bite and overall eat” of its fried shrimp, according to Kern. “We changed our specs on shrimp to go to a bigger shrimp and a different type of cut in terms of butterfly and partial-butterfly. We have a different customer experience now in favor of more shrimp and less coating,” Kern said.
In addition, LJS evaluated its core battered fish product and found that store staff needed refresher training on how the product should be prepared and delivered to the guest. “The training lifted product quality and guest performance scores by double digits,” Kern said.
18 September, 2012