CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As part of a chainwide revamping of its rotisserie chicken program, Harris Teeter here has begun pricing its rotisserie chickens by the each instead of by the pound.
It is a step that industry observers have said retailers should take in order to compete better with the likes of Boston Market, Kenny Rogers and other restaurant chains that offer takeout meals built around roasted chickens. The goal is to get "more restaurant-like" and thus more directly comparable to those food service operators. Pricing strategy is a major part of it.
"When was the last time you went into a restaurant and ordered your food by the pound?" asked Dan Giacoletto, national merchandising and promotions manager at Bongrain Cheese USA, New Holland, Pa., in a recent interview with SN.
Officials at Harris Teeter could not be reached for comment on the switch in rotisserie chicken pricing, but a store-level source at a Charlotte unit told SN that the new pricing "gives the perception of a better value. When you put up a per-pound price, it can be misleading, because the whole chicken will be at least twice that price."
The 140-unit chain is now pricing all flavors of its rotisserie chickens at $4.99 each, except in states such as Virginia that require retailers to price the items by the pound.
A call to Harris Teeter's new store in Blacksburg, Va., revealed that rotisserie chickens there are priced at $2.49 a pound. A source at the store said the price of a whole chicken ranges from $4.90 to about $5.50.
When the switch in pricing strategy was made, Harris Teeter devoted nearly a full page in its ad circular to rotisserie chickens, using a color photo of a whole chicken on a platter surrounded by roasted potatoes. The ad offered $1 off on a rotisserie chicken and rotisserie turkey breast.
Part of the rotisserie chicken program's change also involves testing self-service side dishes at the rotisserie station in selected stores.