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How To 7 6 • 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 On the plus side, says Ron Stuart, the company's designer, banks have drive-thrus, "and that's one of the reasons they are good. Since they have already been approved, we don't have to bother with the paperwork or getting it grandfathered in. And we don't need any restructuring to do the drive-thru." And that works perfectly for Smoothie Kings, he says, since typically, 70 percent to 80 percent of business is drive-thru; in Nashville, it's 70 percent. The entire Nashville restaurant was designed around the existing drive-thru, which was turned into a double drive- thru. Additionally, a pickup window was added on the opposite side of the build- ing from the drive-thru to aid in the flow of car traffic. The classical architecture of typical bank buildings, however, often presents a challenge. "We do our best to make these resemble our typical exterior design standards," Stuart says. Another negative, though, is there's usually a hefty bank vault that's impos- sible to move and can be difficult to work around. "They are really expensive to take out, so you try to figure out a way to use it," he says. If it's on the side or in the basement, he typically uses it for dry storage. But in Nashville, it's on the back wall, directly in front of the main doors, so he made it into a 240-square-foot private dining room. At this location, the Smoothie King franchisee, Paul McCullough, painted the dining room interior with the brand's trademark white walls with red accents and hung up Smoothie King-approved graphics. The room is filled with a communal table that seats eight and lit with dimmable LED lights in the ceiling and standalone lamps. "We made it into a showcase piece," Stuart says, "but if it had been in a corner, I would have hidden it." Initially, McCullough planned to use the vault for storage, "but I decided that would be a waste and decided instead to use it for a nice gathering place room. It is a topic of conversation in the community, and many people have come to our store just to see our vault," he says. The vault, he says, is popular with all kinds of groups — from families to school kids and women's groups. It can be booked in advance. There was one final obstacle to overcome with the Nashville Smoothie King: The location was enormous. Most of the concept's locations measure around 1,000 square feet, but the Nashville store consumes 4,500 square feet. However, McCullough opted at the outset to build offices in 2,500 square feet of the space to be rented out. This left 2,000 square feet for the chain, which still makes it about double the size of a regular store, but the design does not make it seem that much big- ger. The faux wood ceiling beams are spaced 24 inches apart — double the usual 12 inches. This meant the project used fewer beams than normal but they still serve their purpose of drawing the eye to the smoothie bar. "We didn't want this place to be big and cavernous," Stuart says. "It didn't change the overall look of the store drastically, and it didn't take away from the original design. The beams are a decoration piece. We didn't feel we were losing anything." + At Spring Chicken's new Miami International Airport location, composite walls mimic the natural brick found in the chain's traditional locations. Photo courtesy of 50 Eggs This Nashville Smoothie King location is larger than the chain's typical restaurant. The ceiling features beams spaced in 24-inch intervals, which reduced the amount of wood needed, but this design feature still draws customers' attention to the smoothie bar. Photo by Paul McCullough