Restaurant Development & Design

MAY-JUN 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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2 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 Y / J U N E 2 0 1 7 TREND Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits HQ: Charlotte, N.C. Ownership: Public 2016 revenue: $1.2 billion-plus Total units: 715 as of Dec. 2016 (308 company owned, 407 franchised) New prototype units: one open, two in development Average unit size: 70 seats inside; 3,900 square feet Average unit volume: $1.8 million Best seller: More than 80 percent of transactions include a biscuit At first shake, Bojangles' might not seem trendy. After all, the 40-year-old chain has been doing biscuits since long before biscuits were on trend. But recent moves made by the legacy brand to shine a brighter spotlight on biscuits and to reimagine its prototype suggest it is ready to leverage its position in new ways and compete for the favors of a younger generation. Debuted in Greenville, S.C., in January 2017, the chain's new prototype is billed as the Bojangles' of the Future. Its signature feature: a glass-walled "biscuit theater" designed in coopera- tion with San Francisco-based restaurant branding and design firm Tesser. "Biscuits are a huge deal at Bojangles'. We're proud of our 48-step biscuit-making process and the fact that our fresh biscuits are baked on- site throughout the day," says Randy Icard, vice president of construction and development. "Every restaurant has a certified master biscuit maker, and more than 80 percent of customer transactions include a biscuit. The new biscuit theater design puts our biscuit making front and center." Fried chicken shares the stage at Bojangles', of course, along with other proteins such as country ham, or shortening for our biscuits, preferring organic, full-fat dairy instead." The Portland market has wel- comed the concept with open arms. All locations have lines out the door and around the block during peak periods. On any busy Saturday, each venue — the smallest of which is 600 square feet, the largest 1,000 square feet — bakes an average of 700 to 800 biscuits. Biscuits are baked fresh throughout the day in open kitchens designed to let guests watch the action and savor the aromas. At the core of Pine State's menu is a variety of signature biscuit sand- wiches. Best sellers include the McIsley, with fried chicken, pickles, mustard and local honey; the Regina, with an over-easy egg, braised greens and hot sauce; and the Reggie, with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy. Purists can go plain or build their own, and the restaurants offer biscuits by the dozen or half-dozen to go. Among the non-biscuit menu, top sellers range from blueberry cornmeal pancakes and house-made andouille corn dogs to Southern-style shrimp and grits. A small but diverse menu of signature craft cocktails and sodas is offered as are coffees from Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters and small- batch guest roasters. "Thematically, we're biscuit sandwiches and Southern staples done in a creative, inventive and of-the-times way," Atchley says. "We're doing things our own way, but we're very respectful of the heritage and traditions that make biscuits so cool." Atchley describes Pine State's core demographic as active indulgers. "We're in urban environments where you expect people are going to be out walking, rid- ing their bikes. We have big bike racks, and our seating is split roughly fifty-fifty inside/outside," he says. The restaurants are designed to convey authenticity and exude Southern hospitality. All are located in rehabbed buildings with historic character, and the brand's look and feel is created through an eclectic blend of wood, metal, hand- crafted furnishings, metal tractor seats, funky lighting and vintage accessories. Large chalkboard menus hang above the counters, and service style is fast casual. "We're big on providing gracious, friendly Southern hospitality in a casual, very transparent environment," Atchley notes. "We have a fine-dining take on food and ingredients, but our restaurants are laid-back and comfortable — like a good biscuit house should be." Signature biscuit sandwiches such as the Reggie make up the core of Pine State Biscuits' menu. Photo by Jen Lorentzen

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