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Beefing Up the Midday Meal

The Nova Scotia Lobster BLT sandwich is a hit at the Palm restaurant, where demographics have shifted to a younger generation The Palm Restaurant 

Steakhouses reclaim lunch hours with prix fixe promotions.

Those lavish expense accounts that supported multi-hour, three-martini lunches in former decades won’t make a comeback any time soon, but two of the nation’s prominent steakhouse chains are banking on Americans’ desire to beef up their midday meal.

The Palm Restaurant has introduced an updated “Modern Power Lunch” designed to attract today’s time-conscious and budget-conservative business clientele. Tested in a few of the chain’s locations last year, the three-course prix fixe menu, priced $25.90, rolled out to 20 of its 26 U.S. restaurants in April.

“The Palm has always been associated with the power lunch, but now our business guests have different needs; they’re time-starved and often have to be back at their desks in an hour,” says Bruce Bozzi Jr., executive vice president and fourth-generation family member at The Palm. “More guests are also looking for healthier options for lunch, and we can accommodate that as well.”
For the three-course lunch, a pair of 4-ounce Filet Mignon Medallions speaks to the chain’s signature steaks. Other entrée options are Chicken Parmagiana, Atlantic Salmon Fillet, and a daily fresh fish special. To round out the meal, guests can choose from three starters, three sides, and two desserts.

In addition to the three-course meal, the menu also features soups, salads, and sandwiches (plus combinations of the three) under a “Quick & Simple” heading. Steakburgers are available as well as crab cakes, ahi tuna steak, a 9-ounce filet mignon, and a 14-ounce prime New York strip steak. For lunch, the price of the filet mignon was reduced to $29.90 from its regular $44.90 dinner price, and the strip steak to $34.90 at lunch from its $46.90 dinner price.

In the four months from the introduction of the Modern Power Lunch menu in April through July, lunch covers increased 4.7 percent, with the highest growth in April (7 percent) and May (12.6 percent). The Modern Power Lunch accounts for 25 percent of the entrées sold at lunch, and the Filet Mignon Medallions are the most popular, representing more than 43 percent of the Power Lunch purchases.

Spirits are also specially priced during lunch at 15 of The Palm’s locations, where a premium martini or 9-ounce pour of wine are offered at lunch for $8.37 (a unique pricing derived from the address of the original Palm Restaurant). Comparatively, dinner cocktail prices range from $12 to $13 and wine ranges from $9 to $32 for a 9-ounce pour. Among the restaurants participating in the $8.37 special, there has been an increase in wine and premium martini sales at lunch.

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