Montana’s pushes further into grocery

The family restaurant is trying to increase brand awareness, particularly in areas where it does not have locations.
Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 12.31.22 PM

Montana’s BBQ & Bar is growing its grocery presence to build awareness for its brand during a time when consumers are less likely to be considering a visit to one of its restaurants.

The Recipe Unlimited subsidiary, which currently operates in approximately 100 locations nationwide, excluding Quebec, is launching two new frozen pot pies, available now at major grocery banners.

Adrianne Largo, director of marketing for Montana’s at Recipe Unlimited, says the brand’s competitors are other full service restaurant brands and by moving into CPG, it will give it a different way to brand awareness and expand reach to various channels and opportunities in a way that compliments its restaurant business – as well as giving it a presence in areas where it doesn’t have locations, or where its locations may be closed.

“The decision to provide consumers with a frozen product was made from a convenience standpoint,” Largo says. “[Consumers] can buy pot pies whenever it’s suitable for them, store it in the freezer, without having to plan ahead.”

The brand first launched pork back ribs to into grocery refrigerator sections in the fall of 2019.

Point-of-sale materials rolled out across central and western Canada in mid-October, with danglers being used to draw the shopper’s attention and peel-off coupons to encourage trial. The pot pies were also featured on discount digital flyers Flipp and Reebee, with a Reebee Air Miles bonus promotion at Foodland running this week.

When it comes to its on-pack messaging, Montana’s branding is front-and-centre, along with a clear visual for the kind of meat, to link it back to the restaurant. The launch campaign also included online pre-roll marketing, which had a key objective to raise product awareness and packaging recognition to drive consumer pick-up when they see it in supermarkets.

The push behind CPG also helps Montana strengthen one channel while another faces unprecedented struggles. Like other full service restaurants, Montana’s was affected by dining room closures and pivoted to growing its online ordering and delivery business. According to Largo, ecommerce has significantly grown in the retail food industry, and additional online options for Montana’s might be available in the near future. For now, it is exploring and monitoring consumer interest which will dictate further development and longer term strategy. In the fall, the restaurant side of the business typically activates with TV, digital and social support for its “Ribfest” promotions.

In September, it was announced that Toronto-based Camden would lead media strategy and promotion for licensed ready-to-eat products from Recipe Unlimited’s Swiss Chalet, St-Hubert and Montana’s brands. 

That same month, parent Recipe Unlimited announced a partnership with Diageo Canada, and Ketel One Vodka, with one vodka purchase at a subsidiary such as Montana’s, Pickle Barrel or Kelsey’s being matched with a one meal donation to Food Banks Canada.