Restaurant Development & Design

September-October 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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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 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 • 5 5 felt we could do even better by improv- ing the interior experience as well," SirLouis says. Earlier this year, Fazoli's rolled out its new interior design, bringing the com- pany's look and feel on par with the food and high-touch service that first pulled Fazoli's out of its slump. Upgraded Experience With the chain's exterior look already set, the interior designers for this new proto- type had a starting point for their work. Several exterior elements influenced the interior, including a red-and-green color scheme (which blends with but does not exactly match the exterior colors) and ex- terior grays that can now be seen in the dining room's wood-style vinyl polymer floor tiles. In addition to new colors, the new design shifted from a QSR look to something closer to casual dining. The restaurant is now a place where guests want to stay and enjoy their meal, says Chief Marketing Officer Donna Josephson. This starts first with the seats. While the chain's previous design offered little more than a sea of tables, the new package has multiple seating options. In addition to two- and four-tops matched with a banquette, choices now include booths with vinyl seating and wood-style laminate tables (chosen for their cost and durability), hardwood community tables, high-top bar seating with docks for charging electronic devices, and a cubby-like booth placed in an inset wall. These options let customers choose the seating that best fits their needs, says Josephson. Older guests often choose quieter booths, while families opt for community tables that allow them to spread out. In addition to moving away from the QSR-esque, the chain wanted the new design to emphasize the quality of its new menu, which includes significant prep work of fresh vegetables and pasta dishes made to order. Prior to the redesign, these efforts were largely unappreciated by consum- ers, according to Josephson. "What we heard from a lot of consumers and guests was, 'We don't know what's going on back there,'" she says. "We've added so much quality to our food, [but] every- thing was hidden." In response, the chain has partially opened up its kitchen, giving guests a view of prep work, breadsticks going in and out of the oven, and finished dishes being placed on the expediting window for table runners. From a design perspective, this was an easy change, notes Josephson. Though it had been covered up due to a long-ago change in its service model, Fazoli's had a pass-thru window in its design for years. Exposing the kitchen was simply a matter of removing a covering from the window and shifting some equipment to provide the view. Now when guests are waiting in line to place their order, they can look at the menu board ahead or to the former pass-thru window that now provides a peek into the kitchen. Directly exposing the kitchen is just one way the chain emphasizes the quality of its food. The new design also employs several freshness cues. Some are direct, including a large closeup photo of tomatoes and text saying "made fresh daily," wall etchings that emphasize the chain's fresh-grated parmesan cheese, and a chalkboard graphic that talks about ingredients like tomatoes and garlic. Other freshness cues are subtler. To counteract the sea of tables, Fazoli's has introduced several custom-made divider walls. One wall is made with red die-cut metal forming the shape of pots and pans, spoons, spatulas, whisks, and other kitchen tools. The chain has also placed art elements on other divider walls, including etchings of ingredients like tomatoes. Notably, Fazoli's had to add to its portfolio of branding elements after build- ing the first of these new stores. Layout changes, including the new divider walls, created more space for these elements, says SirLouis. "We realized how much more space we had to add graphics and branding elements to our dining room to make it even more attractive," he says. "We've since gone back and redesigned the decor and graphics packages to fill those extra wall spaces. You look at it on a floor plan, and it doesn't really sink in as much as when you're actually standing in the space and looking at it." Project Team Key players: Carl Howard, president and CEO; David Hasler, CFO; Donna Josephson, CMO; Doug Bostick, senior vice president of operations & development; Sam Nelson, vice president of franchise recruitment & development Interior designer: Studio D Kitchen design consultant: Best Restaurant Equipment & Design Equipment dealer: Best Restaurant Equipment & Design With its branded graphics, freshness cues and wood- style look, the chain's new drive-thru is designed to bring interior elements of the stores outside.

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