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Selling the Restaurants & Keeping Food: Bob Evans
By: Emory Brown
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Bob Evans sausage is a famous American brand that has fed families for generations. What’s eggs and hash browns without Bob Evans? What’s pancakes and eggs without Bob Evans? What are Bob Evans restaurants without Bob Evans sausage? It’s not Bob Evans. It’s two brands built under one brand house that has been divided so the Bob Evans brand name can soar.

It’s hard to be a CEO with two distinct businesses that have a shared product line. Bob Evans restaurants are the family-friendly food business that helps Bob Evans customers have the full breakfast experience with Bob Evans food. Bob Evans sausage and products are the essential elements to a home-cooked breakfast served by mom or dad or grandma or granddad. A perfect unity of product and restaurants to sell breakfast food products. It’s like a match made in heaven from a bottom-line perspective. It’s the perfect customer journey outlined in a marketing plan. A customer goes to the store and buys Bob Evans and cooks it for their family. A customer goes out to a family breakfast and eats at a Bob Evans restaurant to experience the home-cooked love on served plate.

However, if you’re not a good restaurateur, it can become a problem managing 523 units and multiple product lines. So Bob sold Bob to Golden Gate Capital for $565 million and split the restaurants from the brand’s fast-growing packaged foods business.

The goal is to get “Bob Evans Restaurants” back on track while also contemporizing its menu, improving guest service, boosting hospitality, and most importantly showcasing the way Bob Evans restaurants market to their customers. In 2016, Bob Evans restaurants experienced a 2.5 percent decline in same-store sales and 41 restaurants closed while the food segment reported sales growth of 2.2 percent, hence the company's move to sell the restaurant division so they could focus on the food products business. With the 565 million, Bob Evans is also planning to extend its product business with the acquisition of Pineland Farms Potato Company for $115 million to enhance its packaged foods capacity.

Sausage and potatoes sounds like a match made in heaven to me. Sounds like a reverse-engineered deal to supply its former restaurant division with all the breakfast products Bob Evans makes. I don’t think this one was selling one brand to focus on another. It was creating a mutual brand partnership under one brand name so the entire Bob Evans family could win. 

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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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