LOGAN'S ROADHOUSE TAPS FRICKS WITHOUT A REVIEW: UNSOLICITED PITCH LETTER HELPS SHOP WIN $5 MIL EATERY CHAIN BIZ

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Logan's Roadhouse has tapped Fricks/Firestone, Atlanta, to strengthen the growing restaurant chain's brand message.

Fricks/Firestone won Logan's estimated $4 million to $5 million account not by competing in a review but after sending an unsolicited pitch letter, said John Fricks, agency president.

The account had been housed for the past two years at Gish, Sherwood & Friends, Nashville, Tenn.

Logan's President-CEO Edwin Moats Jr. said Fricks/Firestone was selected to provide strong brand advertising as the midprice chain, now with 34 company-owned restaurants in nine states, adds an additional 20 units during the next year and a half.

"They believe that with the right message, the right concept and the right [advertising spending] level you will see results immediately," he said of Fricks/Firestone, which also handles advertising for Papa John's International, the fast-growing pizza chain known for its competitive ads against segment leader Pizza Hut (see related story on Page 4).

The fast-food pizza chain is not being considered as a conflict with Logan's, a sitdown restaurant chain.

IT'S THE FOOD

Mr. Fricks said his agency will look to zero in on the food in its work for Logan's.

"Most people pick a restaurant related to the quality of the food," he said.

The initial ad work for Nashville-based Logan's will be outdoor and radio, although TV eventually may be added in markets with high concentrations of restaurants. "It is something clearly we would like to be moving toward," Mr. Moats said.

The chain's current tagline, "Logan's Roadhouse, the hoppin' little joint down the road," is likely to change, he said.

A `UNIQUE NICHE'

Mr. Moats characterized the chain as being in a "unique niche" between steak chains like Lone Star Steak House and Outback Steakhouse -- both of which have new ad agencies and new TV campaigns slated to break this year -- and broader-menu chains like Ruby Tuesday and O'Charley's.

Logan's reported second-quarter net income of $2.1 million, up 32% from a year ago. Revenue of $22.5 million was up 41.1%. The boost stemmed in large part from an expanded number of restaurants. Same-stores sales were down 1.5% for the quarter.

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