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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5 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 • S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7 FAZOLI'S TAKES THE NEXT STEP TOWARD REVIVAL Updated Ordering In addition to making its dining room more comfortable and appealing, Fazoli's completely rethought and redesigned the ways guests can place orders and receive their food. The simplest changes were to the dine-in menu board. The previous design featured a static menu for permanent items with a digital menu board below for limited-time offerings (LTOs). "We did an eye study," Josephson says. "We thought [that design] was great, but the placement was so low that nobody was looking at it." The digital board now sits to the left of the static board, creating a three- panel menu. The screen is still used to display LTOs. The center board, where guests look first, showcases the chain's highest-satisfaction items, while other offerings sit on the right board. The chain is also taking steps to make the ordering experience better for off-premise diners, offering catering, drive-thru and to-go. Combined, these three categories make up more than 50 percent of Fazoli's business. To accommodate these customers, the company has long offered online ordering and recently introduced a mo- bile app with an ordering option. This business is supported in the redesign as well with a new to-go/catering pickup counter, separate from the dine-in ordering line. Consisting of shelves for holding orders, the space is situated to avoid creating bottlenecks with tradi- tional dine-in customers. Though this redesign was interior-focused, it also included an update to Fazoli's drive-thru, another key component of off-premise din- ing. Like most concepts, the chain's pre-redesign drive-thru consisted of a backlit menu board and a speaker on a post. That doesn't make for a great customer experience, Josephson says. "As a consumer [in a drive-thru], I'm always looking at the back of someone's dumpster or somebody who's out back taking a break. It's almost like you're sneaking around the back to place your order," says Josephson. "This is a great opportunity to make guests feel more encapsulated in the brand." This encapsulation has taken the form of the "drive-thru of the future," where several interior design elements are brought to the outside of the build- ing. While the speaker post is still there, it is now clad in wood-style vinyl tile similar to the material used for the inte- rior flooring. This tile also serves as the backdrop for the menu board. Divided into three panels, one sec- tion of the board is dedicated to special messages such as LTOs, one to brand- ing images and one to the menu itself. Instead of being backlit like QSR drive- thru menus, this is front-lit with goose- neck lights and has a small canopy that hangs over the car at the ordering station. "We're trying to encapsulate for guests the feeling of dining in," says Jo- sephson. "We've done some focus groups with consumers, and [the updated drive- thru is] having an impact on how they feel about Fazoli's." The company has also prepared for an ordering option that hasn't yet rolled out: kiosks. In the new interior design, Fazoli's created extra space for these self-service stations. Instead of locating them alongside standard POS stations, the kiosks will be in the lobby area, away from the traditional queue. This approach will prevent crowding and jostling among customers ordering from the different platforms. Notably, Fazoli's doesn't see self- service kiosks as a way to reduce labor costs. In keeping with the company's high-touch strategy, the chain views kiosks as a way to free up employees to take care of customers. "A machine can take an order, but there's no way a machine can deliver Snapshot Chain headquarters: Lexington, Ky. Year founded: 1988 Signature menu items: Baked Lasagna, Three-Cheese Tortellini, Chicken Carbonara, Pizza Baked Spaghetti, Unlimited Breadsticks, Brownie Gelato Sundae Number of units: 211 (120 company, 91 franchise) Unit size: Smaller prototype is 3,200 square feet; larger prototype is 4,000 square feet; BOH for both is 1,000 square feet Seats per unit: 96-122 Location type: Inline, endcap, freestand- ing, conversion options, nontraditional Total system sales: $135,132,616 (2016) Unit growth projections: 16 units in FY18; 8-10 units in FY19; 10-12 units in FY20 Average per person check: $7.80 Equipment package cost: Freestanding: $250,000-$427,818; inline or endcap: $205,000-$245,000 Prior to the redesign, Fazoli's leadership believed the company wasn't getting credit for its fresh prep work and the quality of its food. The new prototype addresses that with a semi-open kitchen and several freshness cues in its art package.

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