Via Group Grabs Macaroni Grill Business Without a Review

Second Restaurant Account Win in a Month for Maine Indie Shop

By Published on .

Most Popular

Portland, Maine-based indie agency Via Group has landed another restaurant account, Romani's Macaroni Grill, without a review. The account was previously handled by indie agency Firehouse in Dallas.

Via earlier this month nabbed East Coast chain Friendly's marketing account after a review.

"Via's strong track record of producing return on investment was a factor in our decision," Brandon Coleman, CMO at Romano's Macaroni Grill, said in a statement. "But ultimately it was their enthusiasm for communicating our brand renewal that drove us to establish a partnership. We want our guests to feel the passion that Via embodies."

"My love of Italian food is matched by the excitement of working with this incredible management team," John Coleman, CEO-founder of Via, said in a statement. "Romano's Macaroni Grill has a unique offering and a compelling story to tell. We're honored that they've selected Via to partner with them."

Brinker International, parent company of Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy, in late 2008 sold Macaroni Grill to Mac Acquisition, an affiliate of private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital. Brinker's website says it still maintains a minority stake in Macaroni Grill. Golden Gate Capital also owns On the Border -- also formerly a Brinker brand -- which in February handed its marketing account to indie agency Barkley.

Golden Gate Capital today agreed to buy California Pizza Kitchen for $470 million. The process had begun in April 2010 when California Pizza Kitchen put itself up for sale after garnering interest from several potential investment firms.

Macaroni Grill in 2010 spent $9.9 million on U.S. measured media, according to Kantar. It spent roughly the same in 2009, up sharply from $2.4 million in 2008.