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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J U L Y / A U G U S T 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 • 1 9 will have a drive-up, indoor and outdoor seating, and walk-up ordering because it's a larger footprint, and it'll be more inviting for people to come and eat in but will have something for people who want to get food on the fly. That 950- to 1,000-square-foot size is the scenario I think long-term is where we fit because we're meeting everybody's needs. Did you specifically design your menu with the small space in mind? DM: Our menu is not as complex as one might think. We have gyros, then added flavor profiles. It's all off the premise of that base gyro. How do you design your tiny stores for maximum efficiency? DM: We have the smallest flat-top grills, rotisseries and kitchen sinks that code will allow. We have a Pepsi machine and a small one-door refrigerator, and we store paper goods and other dry items up high. It goes back to the simplified menu. Our menu is very condensed, and we're able to prep everything in a 2-foot-by-2- foot counter area. And since it's a drive- thru, you don't need things like people cleaning tables, emptying the trash or bathrooms for customers. We also limit the equipment we need because our menu is so small. What does it mean for Gyro Shack that you don't have a cookie-cutter prototype? DM: We're really excited about the next phase of where the brand will go. Each time we open a new store, we find ourselves tweaking the model just a little bit to accommodate. We'll see if we can be successful in a more traditional QSR environment. By the end of the year, we're going to know an awful lot more about this brand, and although we might have 10 versions of the prototype, we'll probably scale back to three basic itera- tions: the tiny footprint, the urban store of under 1,000 square feet and the larger store of closer to 2,000 square feet. If these larger locations also work, it ex- pands our ability for growth because we're not limited to the spaces we can go into. What are the advantages and disadvantages of not having one prototype? DM: It allows us the flexibility to go into any spaces that come available. On the downside, you're always having to recon- figure and start over. And, from a pricing perspective, we can't take advantage of economies of scale. When you don't have one prototype, it's hard to go to vendors and try to start getting the economies [of scale] — on chairs, furnishings — of multiple locations. So, we can't leverage our vendors as effectively as we'd like. What elements of the design of the prototypes will stay the same for each location? DM: We will have the same main branding throughout all of our locations. Athena is our iconic figure, so we picked that Greek goddess and designed and developed the logo with her on it. In every location, we are very food forward and prep food in front of the customer — we don't have kitchens behind doors. It's important to have an image, colors and furniture that are consistent. We recently had an 18-foot-long [Greek-themed] mural painted in our downtown Boise store. It cost $4,000, and we'll reproduce it in all sorts of ways, and it will be in every restaurant in some shape or form. Our branding firm has digitized it, so other stores can use all of it or just a section of it if they prefer. Have you changed anything in any of your stores yet based on customer feedback? DM: Yes. In the urban Boise store, we put a counter with stools along the wall where the mural is. In an area between there and the kitchen, we put in some tabletops, but we found very few people would use the tabletops. I believe it's because it was fairly tight as people stood there or walked by. It was probably uncomfortable to the consumer to eat their gyro while someone was standing over them. So, we took out the tabletops and changed the counter to a two-sided counter with high stools, and it's working out much better. + Gyro Shack's downtown Boise, Idaho, location features a two-sided counter with high stools. Photo courtesy of Gyro Shack

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