Competition is growing in the food industry at a rapid rate, and today’s consumers expect more than just food when it comes to their dining experience. In response to these trends, restaurants are increasingly searching for ways to reach new customers and keep old ones coming back for more. Right on the forefront of this new wave is MR MIKES SteakhouseCasual, with its board game innovation.
The casual restaurant offers a unique board game experience to its guests in all 26 of its locations in an area known as urbanLODGE. According to RAMMP Hospitality Brands’ Vice President of Brand Strategy and Guest Experience, Arnie Licas, the idea behind this "adult rec room" is to have fun and not take things too seriously, messages that are consistent with the steakhouse’s brand. MR MIKES offers an unpretentious, relaxed, be-yourself atmosphere with a sense of community. Although the Lodge area is aimed at adults, families are also allowed.
Guests entering a MR MIKES location are told by their server about the games available, and the brand is also promoting its program on social media. Available games include Scrabble, Jenga, Battleship, cards, chess, checkers and Trivial Pursuit. Many locations are seeing people returning to challenge each other at regular times each week.
Manitoba MR MIKES franchisee Marisa Philippe spoke highly of the board game program, saying it set MR MIKES apart from the competition. She has also seen families, couples and groups of friends truly enjoying the board-game-meets-dine-out experience.
Licas says the board game program appeals to guests for a variety of reasons, from the chance to do something different to simple nostalgia –back to the simpler times of enjoying each other’s company over a game. MR MIKES is seeing more people coming in for the games as word spreads, and Licas reported that diners who play tend to stay for a longer period of time. Many also join with adjacent tables to become a bigger group, and make new connections. The franchise is still searching for more ways to engage its guests, and they recently launched a new app and guest appreciation initiative.