Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 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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1 8 • 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 • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 Peer to Peer Q&A with Doug Miller, CEO of Gyro Shack BY AMANDA BALTAZAR, Contributing Editor I n 2009, the first Gyro Shack opened in Boise, Idaho, operating out of less than 200 square feet. A second diminutive store followed, but by this summer, the budding brand will be oper- ating three distinct models: a tiny store model, an urban store model of around 1,000 square feet and a full-size QSR prototype of close to 2,000 square feet. The chain expects to have eight locations by year's end. CEO Doug Miller believes the versa- tility of this QSR brand will be the secret to its success. How big are the first stores you opened? DM: Our first store is less than 200 square feet and opened in a former coffee kiosk with a double drive-thru. Our second is 380 square feet, also in a coffee kiosk with a double drive-thru, with a walk-up window and a tiny patio with two benches. Then you decided to get slightly bigger? DM: Yes. We opened our first urban location in downtown Boise last November. It's 780 square feet with 20 seats and bar seating. The kitchen is right there, and people get to watch their gyro being prepared. What are the advantages, besides more space, of this urban location? DM: The urban location has allowed us to step out of our comfort zone of double drive-thrus and move into the dine-in world. We are able to determine new product flow and test some grab-and-go items in a downtown environment. Tell us about your largest yet, which will open in the late summer less than 100 yards from your current location in Boise. DM: At our store in Boise, we are bursting at the seams. It's nothing to see seven cars backed up in each line, and we [end up] losing sales. We're going to take over an old Pizza Hut just across the parking lot, so we'll see what this brand can do. It will be the biggest yet — 1,800 square feet including a patio with additional seating, so we'll have more than 50 seats. It'll have a double drive-thru with one pickup window, and we'll run cater- ing out of there, too. Will all stores be in former restaurant spaces? DM: No. I plan to open one on a currently empty lot in Meridian, Idaho. This location will be a blend of the drive-thru and urban locations. We will provide indoor and out- door seating, but it will not be fashioned to accommodate long dwell times. Our brand is simple and relies on quick turns both in the drive-thru and dine-in. What are some of the challenges of going into a former restaurant operation and redesigning it for Gyro Shack? DM: It's not a whole lot different from going into an existing space of any brand and redesigning the space and stripping out what was there and putting in what we do. The things that are imperative are a hood — or can we install one — and a grease trap. If we have to put these in, we have to make sure, for example, that there's enough space in the attic of these small places to punch through and provide ventilation. Where do you think the brand will be most successful? DM: I truly believe it's going to be the one we're going to build in Meridian. It

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