Boyd Pushes New Eats

The Nevada-based locals casino company has responded to sluggish growth in the sector by adding new restaurants at its properties. It will also renovate some hotel rooms. Station Casinos is taking the same approach, investing $55 million to add new restaurants.

Smith: Capitalizing on a trend toward nongaming

Noting the slow recovery of the locals gaming market in Nevada, Boyd Gaming CEO Kevin Smith said the company’s properties are adding new food and beverage options to entice more customers.

“Consumer spending patterns have shifted over the last several years and it is imperative that we remain competitive by adjusting our products so they’re well positioned to grow,” Smith said during a third-quarter earnings conference call. “To take advantage of this opportunity, we’re investing in projects aimed at enhancing and repositioning certain amenities at our properties.”

Boyd is looking at restaurants at its Coast Casinos properties: the Suncoast, the Orleans, and the Gold Coast, as well as at Sam’s Town, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The company has already opened a new sports bar and grill at the Suncoast. The Game, which replaced TGI Friday’s, has wide-screen high-definition TVs for sports fans.

Station Casinos—Boyd’s biggest competitor in the locals market—has laid out a plan to upgrade its own restaurants. Station will spend a total of $55 million upgrade eateries at its Red Rock Resort in Summerlin and Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson. Last year it added a Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que at Red Rock and two Mercaditos, one at Red Rock and one at Green Valley Ranch. Last month it added a Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellar to Red Rock. The company hopes to cash in on increased traffic to Downtown Summerlin, which opened in October.

Boyd also plans to renovate hotel rooms at the Orleans and Suncoast starting in December.

“We recognize that consumers are spending their discretionary dollars differently today and that demand for non-gaming amenities is increasing,” Smith said. “As we’ve noted previously, we are now targeting some of our capital spending to take advantage of that trend.”

Gaming analyst Cameron McKnight of Wells Fargo Securities told the Review-Journal the time is right to upgrade facilities, despite the slow pace of recovery.

“Going forward, management expects the improving local economy, upcoming renovations and new non-gaming amenities to reinvigorate growth for these properties,” McKnight said.

Through September, gaming revenue in the locals market is down less than 1 percent from 2013, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.