Lone Star tries to spruce up image

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Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, operator of the struggling steak house chain known for its free peanuts and shell-strewn floors, is trying to spruce up its image by giving customers buckets for the shells. The Witchita, Kan.-based chain, with some 310 restaurants, is also eliminating peanuts from the dining room. They're for bar patrons only now, a company spokeswoman said. The restaurants were informed of the change July 17.

To help revive sales, the chain is set to break its first TV campaign, by the end of September via new agency Levenson & Hill, Dallas. A company official said at a financial conference earlier this year Lone Star spends $3.5 million annually on peanuts. Consumers in focus groups have apparently indicated they find the shells on the floors messy.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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