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M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 7 • 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 • 7 1 to business meetings to celebrations. "It's a dramatic change from being just an indoor restaurant with booths and tables where people come in and eat," says Rogers "We've really expanded the occasions that they can use the brand." Overdue Overhaul In truth, the chain's flagship store was due for a makeover. The restaurant, located on tourist-heavy International Drive, had been in the same building for 22 years, according to Rogers. While some minor updates had occurred — new paint here, new carpet there — in all that time, it hadn't undergone a major redesign. By any standard, this project qualifies as major. According to Execu- tive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bradley Smith, the restaurant — from the front door to the kitchen — was stripped down to its studs and rebuilt. This allowed for major changes in its floor plan. One of the most significant changes was going from a multilevel restaurant — a step or two down to the dining area, a step or two up to the bar/lounge — to a single-level operation. With no steps or ramps to design around — or for team members to navi- gate — the operation is much more func- tional than before, says Dave Culley, the chain's regional vice president for the U.S. In addition, removing the needed steps and ramps freed up space that is now used for revenue-generating seats. The biggest floor plan change, however, involved the bar. Previously, the bar was in the middle of the restaurant. Now it is located on the left side of the operation as part of an indoor/outdoor bar and patio. This new feature is one of the highlights of the redesigned Tony Roma's. On the inside, the bar is surrounded by black-and-white tile laid out in a herringbone pattern. Though the area has several windows, the bar's few small sections of wall are covered with copper- hued tiles. The bar itself has a solid- surface top, while the front of the bar has heavy-duty vinyl panels and a marble finish. The panels, says Culley, can be easily removed when the bar needs elec- trical or plumbing service. The outside portion of the bar is opened through a set of glass garage doors. It features bar seating and a service window that allows waitstaff to easily pick up orders for patio guests. While the previous design did have a patio, it was much smaller and basic. "We reconfigured the parking lot to create the patio, so we lost a couple of spaces, but now that patio juts out from the restaurant," says Culley. "If you're walking or driving down International Drive, you can't help but see this beauti- ful building." The patio is a covered space — a near necessity given Orlando's frequent rain showers — with stained concrete flooring. It features multiple flat-screen Snapshot Headquarters and project location: Orlando, Fla. Concept owner: Romacorp, Inc. Concept: Casual-dining operation specializing in ribs Units: 150 in more than 30 countries Opened: The first Tony Roma's opened in 1972. The redesigned flagship store opened in October 2016. Size: 8,800 square feet Real estate: Retail center Design highlights: New modern interior and exterior decor package with flex- ible dining spaces to satisfy a variety of guest occasions; new indoor/ outdoor bar and patio with a fireplace and views of the Orlando Eye and International Drive; new entry with a fire feature; three state-of-the-art private dining rooms equipped with a full range of audiovisual equipment Build-out time: Six months The new outdoor patio offers bar, table and lounge-style seating, providing guests with different types of dining experiences.