Food & Drink International - Winter 2017, Volume 2 - 87
can-style, Gerber Farms chicken breast, Creekstone Farms
pork chops and a vegetarian bucatini to its house specialties.
Grilled shrimp, yellowfin tuna steak and blackened sea scallops are also new items added to its seafood creations.
Wine and Spirits
Eddie Merlot's hired Bretton Lammi as its beverage director
earlier this year to redesign the wine menu. "Wine is a big
part of our business," Humphries says. "He basically took
our whole wine menu and redesigned it and put it into a different format for us. He then went out and started different
programs and promotions throughout the year that have really driven our wine sales to a new level."
The company will continue to promote its new wine menu
while Lammi's focus shifts next year to redeveloping the
spirits menu. He is also rewriting the company's wine and
spirits training program to further educate the team, including selling suggestions.
Last year, Eddie Merlot's focused on a major back-ofthe-house training program aimed at increasing consistency
across locations and ensuring each dish meets the company's
highest quality standards. The training process is ongoing
with corporate management teams evaluating each restaurant on a consistent basis and holding their staff accountable.
The company this year launched a new front-of-house
training program for servers, food runners and hosts. The
training program is hospitality-driven with a focus on the
consumer and maximizing sales volumes. Training began in
August and will run through December. "We have a really
great team of educators to write the programs and educate
our teams," Humphries says.
"From chateaubriands to the
baked Alaska, we are doing
more [to be] entertaining."
"We are going to continue to evolve," Humphries says.
"Starting next year, we are going to take it to another level
by revamping the whole interior of our restaurants. It will be
a contemporary look and the development and design work
will begin next year."
Moving forward, Eddie Merlot's will focus its concentration on metropolitan areas to develop new locations. The
company has intents in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and
is also looking at sites in Boston and Nashville. "We started
as a Midwest chain and have driven the business to some
high-profile downtown locations," Humphries says. "From
our new menu, training and décor, we have a lot of new
things going on at Eddie Merlot's."
Eddie Merlot's last year introduced a prototype design that
caters to the modern sensibilities and needs of its diners at
its steakhouse in Ashburn, Va. Its newest location boasts a
new interior and exterior design, which Humphries says has
been well-received in the marketplace.
The restaurant was designed to better support Eddie Merlot's three buckets of business: private functions, lounge and
à la carte dining. "There is a lot more lounge space and an
entertainment area in there, as well as bigger private dining
areas," Humphries adds. "The dining room is a lot smaller,
but from a perception standpoint it looks full all the time."
The interior of the Ashburn restaurant retains Eddie Merlot's signature contemporary open look, which utilizes light
woods such as maple and cherry, stained glass and backlit onyx stone. This location is also Eddie Merlot's first
free-standing building with the new exterior design.
food & drink international * winter 2017 volume 2 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com