Dining With Denise Neil

6 months after opening, Wichita restaurant implements 'substantial price reduction'

Hurricane Sports Grill franchisee Austin Kinzle is making some changes at his 6-month-old restaurant.
Hurricane Sports Grill franchisee Austin Kinzle is making some changes at his 6-month-old restaurant. The Wichita Eagle

Wichita's first Hurricane Sports Grill has been open just over six months at the new Tyler Pointe development at 13th and Tyler.

And in that amount of time, franchisee Austin Kinzle says, he's learned what the Wichita market wants — and doesn't want.

Earlier this week, he announced on social media that the restaurant is making two big changes: lowering prices and improving service.

"It takes a lot to open a brand-new restaurant in a community, and like all restaurants, we had our learning curve and had to figure out our market," he said.

Since November, when the restaurant opened, Kinzle has been collecting feedback from customer surveys and from social media. Then, he said, "we basically listened to our customers and listened to the wants of the community."

The biggest change is that the restaurant is lowering prices. On food, the menu prices have been reduced an average of 15 percent across the board. For example, its half-pound steak burger went from $10.99 to $8.99. Its fajita rice bowl dropped from $12.49 to $10.99.

"It's a substantial price reduction," Kinzle said.

Its drink prices have gone down, too. Beer used to run from $5.50 to $7, depending on the serving size. Now, beer is $4 to $5.75. The restaurant also introduced a well liquor program that will offer mixed drinks for $4.50, $4 during happy hour.

The price changes were effective starting on Monday.

Kinzle said he also listened to feedback about service and has taken steps to hire new staff members who understand the level of service he wants.

"We had some struggles in the beginning to get good, qualified service staff," he said. "It took a while to get the right mix of people in the restaurant and to get the service level we expected, but we feel like we've arrived at that point, and we're excited to be there."

The restaurant is part of a chain based out of West Palm Beach, Fla., that has 80 restaurants across the country. The closest one to Wichita is in Iowa.

Hurricane Sports Grill’s menu is large, and its specialty is its wings with 35 different types of dipping sauces. It also serves street tacos, burgers, sandwiches, salads and entrees like steak, ribs and grilled shrimp.

Customers have been complimentary about the restaurant's beachy decor, and they love its patio, Kinzle said.

He said he hopes the changes will get the restaurant on the right course for its next six months.

"Our environment has been popular with people, and we've got a good atmosphere," he said. "We just really had to focus on our pricing and our customer service."

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

(FILE VIDEO --NOVEMBER 10, 2017) The restaurant is at 13th and Tyler.

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