INDIANAPOLIS: Consolidated Products, a holding company for the Steak n Shake restaurant chain, is creating a PR department to help get the company’s story out to Wall Street and the business press.
INDIANAPOLIS: Consolidated Products, a holding company for the
Steak n Shake restaurant chain, is creating a PR department to help get
the company’s story out to Wall Street and the business press.
Victor Yeandel, who joined the dollars 38 million company five years ago
as VP of marketing, will become director of the new PR operation while
retaining his marketing post. The size of the new department and whether
it will work in conjunction with an outside PR firm, however, has yet to
’We’re going to walk before we run,’ said chairman E.W. Kelley.
Kelley, who owns 30% of the company, has long worried about the
company’s image. ’I’ve had a very major feeling we were not presenting
ourselves well,’ he confessed. He attributes this to the way the
company’s marketing department had been organized: PR was not any one
individual’s responsibility, which often left Kelley serving as de facto
A major communications problem for Consolidated has been telling
financial analysts exactly what kind of a company it is. Analysts have
tended to lump it in with fast-food companies, but Consolidated views
itself as a step above McDonald’s or Burger King.
’We’re a limited service, casual restaurant,’ Kelley said. ’For a long
time, we have had trouble explaining why Steak n Shake wasn’t a
fast-food, drive-through place.’
Consolidated’s stock, which trades on the NYSE, took a beating last year
as investors turned away from small-cap issues. Common shares, which
traded as high as dollars 18.7 per share last April, have since fallen
to the dollars 9-per-share range. Believing the company is undervalued,
Consolidated has been buying back shares this year.
Consolidated operates 332 Steak n Shake restaurants, including 51
franchised and 11 specialty restaurants (primarily Colorado
Steakhouses), in the Midwest and South. Kelley has charted an aggressive
growth course, planning to add 300 stores over the next five years. The
chain boasts an almost cult-like following in Central Illinois, where it