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Hello Bistro Another Example Of Company Spin-Offs To Attract Customers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The corner at Forbes and Wood, Downtown, was once home to a Stouffer's restaurant and later a McDonald's.

Now it's Hello Bistro, Eat 'n Park's latest spin-off.

It's a common strategy as companies fight for new customers without losing their old ones.

"What these companies are doing is that they want to grab new markets but not alienate their existing customers," says Point Park University business professor Elaine Luther.

Hello Bistro is a classic example of why an iconic company like Eat 'n Park has to reinvent itself in the 21st century.

Hello Bistro specializes in faster food than Eat 'n Park and sophisticated made-to-order salads.

"What people want today is they want fast, fresh, and authentic," Kevin O'Connell, senior vice president of marketing at Eat 'n Park, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

"And they want to customize their meal -- and that's really what Hello Bistro is all about. We combine great tasting burgers and hand cut French fries, but the star is really our salad bar."

And customers seem to like the difference from the traditional Eat 'n Park.

"A little more sophisticated items on the menu but very delicious," noted Leah Krenn of Blawnox.

"It's a bit of a healthier meal than you might get in some other places," added Scott Colcombe of Peters Township.

Besides Hello Bistro, Eat 'n Park has Six Penn Kitchen in the Cultural District and the Porch in Oakland -- each with its own identity.

"So they are taking the synergies of the big company but representing each of those -- and I think how they're managing and running them -- are as stand-alone, somewhat unique businesses," said Luther.

And for some young customers like Tavin Melder of Friendship it comes back to basics -- like cooking up some great French fries.

Delano: "How are those French fries?"

Melder: "Good."

Delano: "Really good."

Melder: "Yup."

Delano: "What do you like about them?"

Melder: "That I get to dip them in ketchup."

Now that's an easy customer to please.

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