The Brass Tap, a 50-unit concept that was established in 2008, has long been known for its craft beer and wine. But this year, the company is shifting its focus to food by creating a “food truck” menu that will provide a twist on classic meals starting in March. Food currently makes up about 45% of Brass Tap’s total sales, and the chain hopes the new menu will bring more diners in the door.
“We noticed as the food portion of our sales has grown, so has our topline,” said Chris Elliott, CEO of Brass Tap’s parent company FSC Franchise Co. “Food is important to our customers. It broadens our base.”
Increasing traffic will be important as the company grows. FSC, which also owns Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, had a pipeline of 100 units, 40 signings and opened 10 Brass Tap units in 2023. In 2024, FSC expects to open 23 new units, according to an email sent to Restaurant Dive. Other chains, including IHOP, Chili’s, TGI Fridays, Denny’s and Red Robin, revamped their menus last year to increase traffic and boost sales.
The idea for a food truck menu started brewing over four months ago. Brass Tap franchisees wanted to be able to update the menu throughout the year, especially with Instagrammable items, Elliott said. Additionally, the company wanted to add value-based offerings.
Management devised a 10-item LTO menu — inspired by food truck fare like fried chicken, tacos and barbecue — that would change three times per year and be offered for four to six weeks.
One side of the menu, which is shaped like a food truck, would have five photo-friendly premium items. The other side would have value items with starting price points of $10.
Prior to rolling out the menu, the company is testing the items in some stores to collect customer feedback. If diners don’t respond well to these initial offerings, Brass Tap will add different items for its official launch in March. FSC will also monitor the impact of the items on kitchen flow.
Brass Tap’s core menu, which includes items like pretzel bites, chicken wings, tater tots and various versions of nachos, is already popular with guests. But the company expects its new food truck menu to “turbocharge” its offerings without operators without dramatically disrupting the core menu, Elliott said. The company started with SKUs it already had, but is also willing to bring on new ingredients when appropriate.
Some of the overindulgent items will include a Korean BBQ Chicken Sandwich, a flight of pulled-pork sliders, a Biggie BBQ Mac Burger, Nashville fried chicken, while value items may include crispy boneless chicken wings on a stick, a double-decker BLT and a “Macarito,” which contains pork and mac and cheese in a tortilla.
“[The menu] is taking a lot of things that are done in a lot of places and doing them much more unique and in a [premium] way,” Elliott said.
Correction: A previous version of this article misclassified The Brass Tap, which is a craft beer bar.