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7 0 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 7 TONY ROMA'S FOCUSES ON EXPERIENCE PROJECT PROFILE BY TOBY WEBER, Contributing Editor C ompetition for the dining dollar is fiercer than ever. High-qual- ity options are available from a multitude of restaurants; grocery stores have entered the fray with hot and cold bars and even cooked-to- order offerings; takeout-only businesses specialize in pre-portioned meals for the calorie-conscious; and mail-order services give people all the ingredients they need to make a delicious meal at home. With so many choices available to consumers, offering good food in a com- fortable environment may not be enough. Acutely aware of this, rib specialist Tony Roma's has undertaken a compre- hensive update to its concept. According to Chief Marketing Officer Jim Rogers, this effort is meant to bring the 45-year-old chain back to its roots as a place that of- fers a fun experience with good food. The initiative, he says, includes changes to the company's branding, marketing, menu, service experience and restaurant design. Last September, the chain rolled out a new prototype at its flagship location in Orlando, Fla. The restaurant offers several distinct spaces that can accommodate all sorts of guest occa- sions, from a family dinner to date night The indoor/outdoor bar has a set of beer lines that run through the ceiling down to a red T-shaped feature with 10 separate taps. From the wall tile to the flooring, it feels like a separate space from the main dining room and outdoor patio. Photos courtesy of Tony Roma's