Friday, January 16, 2009

Bob Evans wants to be hip. Do kids still say 'hip'?

When your clientele is literally dying out, the best option may be starting over with a new crowd. That’s what Bob Evans, one of the industry’s more grandpa-oriented chains, appears to be trying to do in its latest marketing effort.

The ranch-house-themed chain is reaching out to college students, many of whom may remember Bob Evans as that place where Nanna took them for biscuits and sausage gravy. Headquarters said it will roll a specially built trailer, the BOBurrito wagon, into five Midwestern campuses to give students a taste of the brand’s new breakfast burrito of the same name.

Youngsters can also learn about the BOBurrito via a new Facebook page and a microsite, That’s heady stuff for a concept known for putting servers in western-style garb, right down to bolero ties.

But when the old folks who used to park themselves in a booth every morning are coming less often, what else can you do but make a pitch to their grandchildren?

It’s surprising, though, that the chain didn’t go a step farther and make the BOBurrito with a few all-natural ingredients, a touch that might’ve played well with the college crowd. But because the burrito is being introduced at a price of $5.99, additives-free components might’ve put too much of a dent in margins.

1 comment:

Mark Brandau said...

My grandparents totally took me to Bob Evans as a youngster, but I must add that my older siblings and I have gone back, sans Grams & Papa, because my preschool-age nieces and nephew like it there.

Maybe Bob Evans has been a really great place for kids all along and we got confused because the grandparents were the ones driving them there?