The buffet is experiencing double-digit sales growth, renewed franchisee growth, and recognition of its employees as a place to work.
Golden Corral CEO Lance Trenary couldn’t be more proud of how his brand has emerged from the lowest depths of COVID, and he’s not the only one feeling it.
The industry veteran received the 2022 Gold Plate Award from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, joining past winners such as Danny Meyer and Wolfgang Puck. For Trenary, the award says nothing about what he has done individually. It was more of a clear depiction of the roller coaster ride Golden Corral has experienced over the past two years and the resilience of the team members, the perseverance of the franchisees and the loyalty of the customers.
“The emotions were so strong because after the past two years and what our company has been through, for us to be recognized was really a validation of all the hard work and effort and how our team showed up. rose to the occasion,” says Trénaire. “I really saw it as a reward for the entire Golden Corral system. And what I told my team is that my name is on the plate, but it’s a Golden Corral Golden Plate Award.
The roughly 360-unit chain is seeing average weekly sales of up to $85,000 per store, up from $65,000-70,000 at the start of 2021. The brand is even back on the air with new ad campaigns celebrating barbecue. in the garden and the idea of diversity and bringing families together.
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Trenary attributes the comeback to Golden Corral’s strong value proposition, despite the volatile economy and historic inflation. The company has been “very sensible” on pricing and remains well below industry average. When this is combined with the variety and abundance each day, Trenary says, “The customer realizes very quickly that Golden Corral is where you’ll get the most value for your dining dollar.”
Still, he knows it’s Golden Corral’s job to deliver that experience, so the brand intended not to cut back on offerings and not cut quality. The chain is constantly reviewing “do” versus “buy” decisions, and Trenary says more often than not, the best products are made by hand. With that in mind, Golden Corral still mixes their meatloaf, grinds their meat, cuts their steak, breads their chicken, and spends 12 hours cooking their roast.
The chain’s slogan is “one for all,” and Trenary is determined that restaurants live up to that statement.
“So the whole family can come to a restaurant, get what they like, whether it’s salads or fried chicken or steak or whatever, we have everything there every day and we don’t we only have to pay a fixed price that they’re aware of up front – I really like that from a position perspective,” says the CEO. “It gives me good confidence going forward, and I think that’s starting to show in our bottom line and why we’re in many cases outperforming the family restaurant segment right now.”