We had the pleasure to interview Jennifer Rubright, Carrabba’s Italian Grill’s Beverage Marketing Manager, and although she did not share with us any of the Carrabba’s secret family recipes, we will always consider her a valued member of our PHCP family!
PHCP: What is your favorite beverage of choice, if you had to pick one?
Jennifer: Wheated bourbon, one ice cube.
PHCP: Carrabba’s keeps it fresh with several LTO food and beverage promotions throughout the year. What has been your favorite and why?
Jennifer: I think that the one I am most excited about is the one that just launched, our summer Italian Margaritas platform. It’s a fun way to put an Italian twist on a worldwide favorite and doing it in a way that is a little bit sleek. I think the cocktails are absolutely delicious! They are differentiated. They stand out. They are beautiful. And our team has really embraced them and gotten behind it, which means a lot when you get the buy in from the sales force out there, our Carrabbamicos – that’s what we call all of our team members.
PHCP: We would love to get a little insight into how you got to where you are today. What was your first job, and what skills did you learn?
Jennifer: For my first job in the restaurant industry, I started out as a hostess when I was in high school, and I have been in the restaurant industry ever since in a million different facets. However, the same principle that I learned as a hostess still applies today that we are in the service industry, and it’s our job to make people’s day better. And to make them enjoy that moment of their life that they are choosing to spend with jus, so hospitality in and out has really been the biggest takeaway.
PHCP: Carrabba’s hosts various wine dinners throughout the year, what makes them so special, and what do you do to keep them exciting?
Jennifer: The wine dinners are a huge part of our business, and we put a great amount of time and effort into everything that goes into them – the planning, the execution, the thoughtfulness. Some of the things that I think make them special, first and foremost from a consumer standpoint, our guests truly feel like they are an incredible value. We feel that they are an incredible value as well; you just get so much food and wine and it’s a package experience. It takes all the guess work out of it for people. They just know that there is this awesome event. It’s going to have great food that goes with the perfectly paired wine. It’s reliable and consistent, but at the same time, there is an element of surprise each month because we change the theme – they are all drastically different. The guest gets to learn more about wine and food and how the food and wine pair together. There is a sharing of information at the actual event that really helps make it super special. It’s a very elevated, differentiated type of experience – it’s not something they can get anywhere else.
PHCP: What is your favorite experience that you’ve had since being with Carrabba’s?
Jennifer: To answer this truthfully, I don’t know if there could be one pinpointed experience. Overall, I feel like my favorite part of the experience I have had with Carrabba’s so far is just the culture. The culture about putting people first, not just within our company but also within our community. Everything that we do is surrounded by our principles, beliefs, and on our culture, that’s focused on treating people with respect and caring for people. I think that’s something very different. It’s a breath of fresh air – not something that I’ve experienced before, so I am very happy with a full heart when I go to work every day.
But if I had to pick a specific instance, one thing that I think was exceptional was to see both of our founders at our Managing Partner Conference this year. I think that’s incredible for a 25-year brand to have the two founding partners come and be a part of the celebration with us. To get to hear their stories and hear their passion for why we do what we do and why we have the people-focused experience that we do. I thought that was pretty incredible.
PHCP: One follow-up question to that – you mentioned Carrabba’s being active within the community. Did you want to speak more about these charitable efforts?
Jennifer: It varies so widely. We have two excellent local marketing managers throughout the country who work with partners individually to activate events. We do a lot of events where we feed first responders. We are very active in the school community, where our partners will open their restaurants early in the morning and have the students come in, get to tour our restaurants, learn about produce, learn about pasta, and what a career in a restaurant looks like. Then, they all get to sit down to eat together. It’s a full experience, and I just don’t know of other people who are really doing things like that. That is one example, as we reach out through various channels. We are working on plans right now to further our Carrabba’s Cares platform and do some larger, national, charitable events later this year. The details are still being finalized, so I can’t give any specifics on that at the moment.
PHCP: What recent new branding initiatives have been a success for Carrabba’s?
Jennifer: We have been working to revitalize our overall brand image to focus on our scratch-made kitchen – the fact that most of the items that you can eat in our restaurants are all made by hand, from scratch. They’re family recipes, and we want to make sure that we are telling that story appropriately. We have ignored that for a long time, to try to be like everyone else. We are really changing to embrace who we are and what’s different about Carrabba’s, and it is that we have fresh, quality, handmade food and drinks.Author: admin
Category: Client Love