Steak ‘n Shake, working with its first agency of record in several years, touts its distinctive style and menu in new advertising that uses the theme line, “Just No Equal” (watch it here).
The Indianapolis-based chain named one-time Wendy’s shop Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners in New York City to handle its account earlier this year. The chain spent $17.7 million on measured-media advertising in 2010, up about 4% from 2009, according to Ad Age. Since splitting with long-time agency Young & Laramore in 2009, Steak ‘n Shake reportedly had been without a lead agency.
Advertising during the past year included a couple of odd TV spots with Steak ‘n Shake employee Mike and his talking paper hat, who chatted about what makes the chain great. Those spots–created by The Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla.–used the tagline, “Life Needs Flavor.” The first of the “Just No Equal” spots depicts a father bribing his kids with the “4 Meals Under $4” at Steak ‘n Shake so they won’t tell Mom who broke the china penguin.
The chain—which reports that 60% of its sales come from dining room/counter guests, with the remainder coming from drive thru and pickup—recently has expanded its breakfast menu to more firmly establish Steak ‘n Shake as an all-day concept. New additions include a $3.99 All-You-Can-Eat-Pancakes special, Country Skillet meals and Perfect Start Oatmeal. Lunch/dinner specials include new Peach and Key Lime Milk Shakes, a California Double Steakburger and a Royale Steakburger topped with a fried egg.
Since becoming part of financier Sardar Biglari’s Biglari Holdings company, Steak ‘n Shake has shown sales growth. For the 28 weeks ended April, 2011, sales for the 413 company-owned restaurants were up 3%. There also are 75 franchised units. For fiscal 2010, same-store sales were up 7.5%. That came from a 10.6% increase in customer traffic that was slightly offset by lower selling prices.
Biglari Holdings also owns the Western Sizzlin chain. Earlier this week, it was reported that Biglari Holdings paid $100 million for a 9.7% stake in the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain.