Porcini's Pronto: "Great Italian cuisine without the wait!"
Porcini was opened in 1969 as a family-owned restaurant chain and its business was successful with 4% profit margin. Porcini’s was renowned with its attention to quality and price premium was relatively small compared to its quality and artful presentation. Porcini’s was able to maintain its high product and service quality mainly because it was a family-owned restaurant chain which gave considerable amount of control and of its safe approach on company expansion decisions. However, the management was also viewed as go-slow and comparing to its competitors like Olive Garden and other full-service chain restaurants like Denny's, Porcini’s brand recognition was much lower. The U.S. restaurants industry had three major segments: fast food, single location full-service restaurants, and full-service chain restaurants. Porcini's senior management came up with a Pronto concept which could possibly open up a new area which no one has entered yet. Key features of the Pronto concept included locations at interstate highway exits, Porcini's quality food and service with faster turnover of tables, and limited beer and wine selection. Main competitors would be fast food chain which has been operating along the interstate systems for decades and specifically targeting for travelers, and also full-service chain restaurants like Denny's. It will be critical to come up with a clear differentiator to its competitors, on both quality and service, and position itself against them. Chef Molise was taking it very serious on developing a special Pronto menu which would be less extensive with slightly lower price than Porcini’s traditional menu. Also, Halloran, who was Porcini’s HR director, put significant amount of effort onto recruiting the right people and form a “Pathfinder Team” with 3 or 4 outstanding Porcini’s employees at each new Pronto’s location. One full week of training and indoctrination in the...
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