Spangles (restaurant)

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Spangles Inc.
Type Family-owned fast food chain
Industry Restaurants
Founded January 1978
Founder(s) Dale Steven, Jesse Lewis and Craig Steven
Headquarters Wichita, Kansas, USA
Key people Dale Steven (owner), Craig Steven (owner), Rene Steven (director of operations and spokesperson)
Products Fast food, including Gourmet Supreme hamburgers, flatbread pita wraps, Western Burgers, and soft serve desserts
Revenue Increase$19 Million USD (2001)
Website spanglesinc.com

Spangles is a family-owned fast food chain based in Wichita, Kansas. It serves 1/3-pound burgers, flatbread pita wraps, french fries, onion rings, Lactose free milkshakes and other soft-serve ice cream desserts, cinnamon rolls of which are made in Yoder, Kansas and are named after the town, and breakfast sandwiches.[1] Breakfast specialties include sourdough sandwiches, Pitas and Breakfast Bowls. Lunch specialties include the 1/3-pound Gourmet Supreme burger, 1/3-pound Western Burger, 1/3 pound Mushroom Swiss Burger, Sourdough Bacon Swiss, Sourdough Turkey bacon Ranch Sandwich and Grilled Chicken on Pita.[2] Some of the promotional food items that Spangles have served are a Guacamole Bacon Swiss Burger, Asian Chicken Pita, Seafood Krab Pita (a Lenten offering), a Parmesan chicken pita, and a Frito Chili Cheese Bowl. The chain is known for its bizarre, kitschy TV commercials. Unlike restaurants like McDonalds, Spangles offers its full menu until 11:00 a.m. and offers six popular breakfast items the rest of the day.

History[edit]

Spangles began as a restaurant named Coney Island in Wichita, Kansas. Brothers Dale and Craig Steven converted a hot dog restaurant named Wiener King into their own restaurant and opened in January 1978.[3] Business went well at Coney Island, but in 1984 the Steven brothers decided that the name "Coney Island" was too restrictive since it could not be franchised. The company launched a city-wide contest which resulted in the name Spangles.[3][4]

Some locations are open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. (drive through only)[1] Hours for a typical store are from 6:30 a.m until 10:00 p.m. for the Dining room and 6:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. for drive through customers. The stores feature a 1950s diner look with chrome and neon red exteriors.[5] The interiors play bebop music and include Elvis and Marilyn Monroe mannequins in dining rooms displaying advertising from the period as well as memorabilia such as neon guitars and jukeboxes. The chain also derives 50% of its revenue from drive-thru orders.[1] Spangles strives for the drive through orders to be done in 70 seconds or less.

The first Topeka store opening made national news in restaurant trade publications in 2004.[2] “An average unit volume of over $20,000 a week is considered respectable in the industry — $25,000 to $30,000 would be extremely high,” Dale Steven said.[2] A typical first week for Spangles in Wichita produces $35,000 in sales, a strong number by industry standards, said Dennis Carpenter, CEO of the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association. In its first week, the Topeka Spangles reached $97,000 in sales; cars were wrapped twice around the building with people outside directing traffic.[6] On April 25, 2006, a store opening in Lawrence, Kansas, attracted 250 people camping in tents who were awaiting the store's 6:30am opening despite a thunderstorm in the area.[7] Campers waited for the grand opening because Spangles offered free food for one year for the first 100 customers (the very first being Andrew Hadel of Overland Park, KS). Some campers stayed for as long as 24 hours in improvised forts to protect against the hail. Spangles framed pictures of the first 100 customers in that store and hung them on the wall of the restaurant.[8] Marsha Sheahan, vice president of public relations for the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, said Spangles is filling a niche that is different than the large chains, such as McDonald's, and the slow-paced home style restaurants in the city.[6]

Business for Spangles increased when the restaurant chain doubled its advertising budget to about 4 percent of its revenue.[9] The company runs major advertising campaigns on local radio stations, local television stations, and Cox Cable channels.[1] In addition to the company's slogan, "Spangles, it just tastes better!", the Gourmet Supreme value pack is advertised with the slogan, "$2.99? Are you out of your mind?" [5] In May 2008 the famous $2.99 Gourmet Supreme value pack was raised to $4.99 due to rising costs. The new $2.99 burger is the Classic Burger which was the Gourmet Jr sandwich. The company's advertising firm, digitalBRAND Communications, has been making Spangles TV commercials for nearly 10 years. In 2005, the company produced 23 commercials, nearly one new commercial every two weeks.[9]

Locations[edit]

Today, Spangles Inc. has 27 locations in Kansas, with 14 in the Wichita area, 4 in Topeka, 2 in Hutchinson, 2 in Salina, and 1 each in El Dorado, Park City, Andover, Derby, and Emporia.

Rene Steven[edit]

A well-known face in the commercials is the Steven brothers' sister Rene Steven, the company's director of operations and spokeswoman.[10] Viewers of the commercials call them "corny" and deride the way Rene Steven speaks.[9] When the company's website launched, she started receiving emails critical of her way of pronouncing "Spangles." In a January 2007 interview, she talked about her reaction to the emails.

“People would e-mail and the whole e-mail would be, any time there was an 's,' they would write the e-mail the way I talk. They would never leave who they were. Chickens. I would always e-mail back something funny. I would e-mail them back just the way they e-mailed me. …It really does bother people, I mean, people think it’s a speech impediment. ... But, you know what, if they have to have to pick something on me, that’s OK.” [11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Graham, Sherry (2000-). "Hungry at 3 a.m. and no cash? Spangles will take credit cards". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  2. ^ a b c Crawford, Janette (2006-04-22). "Spangles opening location in Lawrence". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  3. ^ a b Arnold, Ken (2002-09-20). "Dale Steven, his brother and sister work hard to make Wichita hungry". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  4. ^ Fagan, Mark (2006-01-05). "Spangles to open restaurant in Lawrence". Lawrence.com. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  5. ^ a b Wilson, Bill (2006-12-14). "Spangles is on a roll". The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  6. ^ a b Mazzullo, Lainie (2004-11-26). "New Topeka Spangles enjoys 'out of control' sales". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  7. ^ Fagan, Mark (2006-04-26). "Campers take Lawrence’s new Spangles by storm". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  8. ^ "Free food draws crowd to new restaurant". Kansas University TV. 2006-04-25. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  9. ^ a b c Tankard, Frank (2006-01-15). "Ad Nauseam". Lawrence.com. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  10. ^ "Say so long to Spangles at Kellogg, Rock". The Wichita Eagle. 2006-06-04. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  11. ^ Steven, Rene (2007-01-15). "Audio clip". Lawrence.com. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 

External links[edit]