Restaurant Development & Design

NOV-DEC 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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7 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 • N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 BEVERAGE BONANZA conut water, ice, sea salt and a dash of cinnamon to rival cold-weather pumpkin spice lattes at a coffee shop near you. Design Cold-pressed juices go hand in hand with smoothies at many of these newer shops, which has an impact on both layout and equipment selection. Not only are smoothie shops reaching for high-powered but not too noisy blend- ers, they're also investing in hand- cranked or machine-powered fruit and vegetable juicers and finding the need to make extra space in the front or back for staff to be able to prep all these fresh ingredients. Front-of-the-house design is crucial to these smoothie and juice bars, which look to differentiate themselves through varying color schemes, mixed-use materi- als, comfortable seating and unique wall decor for an overall ambience that caters to consumers with active lifestyles and an interest in "clean," nutritious food and drink. Project Juice, for example, show- cases soft, natural woods with modern, clean lines and pops of white tiling meant to enhance this brand element of "natural" and "cleanness." A light wood wall boasts giant lettering with the phrase "Drink Juice/Eat Clean/Feel Awe- some," while glass jars lining wooden display shelves are packed with various superfoods like goji berries and maca powder used in the blends. Tropical Smoothie focuses on pastel greens reminiscent of the green veggies in its blends. A "Market Place" display Smoothie King's Tweaked Prototype On the heels of a complete redesign in 2013, Smoothie King continues to tweak its new prototype as it expands throughout the country. "For our redesign, we wanted to go for an authentic and completely transparent look to bring us into the current century," Chief Development Officer Kevin King says. Since its founding in 1973 by Steve Kuh- nau, the franchise company now has more than 900 units worldwide. Last year, it reported a same-store comp sales increase of 9.56 percent and has reported similar figures each year since the redesign. Swapping out solid surface materials and laminate for higher-end glass, wood and quartz in the design also helped "amp up the quality feel," King says. The chain also opened up its serving counter, prep areas and produce displays to play up its use of fresh product and naturally sweet fruits versus the use of corn syrup or any preservatives or additives, he adds. Like a modern-day cocktail bar, all the blenders were moved to the front of the bar so employees never turn their backs on the customers. Undercounter and visible upright refrigerators at the front bar help keep the service line stocked during peak hours and further give customers a peek at the ingredients. "When you turn your back to custom- ers, they don't really know what you're doing," King says. Blender containers are also rinsed on the line in between each smoothie made and fully washed every hour or so. Containers with peanuts, almonds and pecans are labeled and handled separately so that those with nut allergies can safely enjoy smoothies. A mix of seating includes lounge chairs for "post-workout relaxation" and larger tables for more interaction or a break from the office. The chain has also lever- aged technology, continuing to roll out a new online ordering app and POS system that tracks sales and other analytics. Smoothie King doesn't serve cooked food, but new displays positioned on wood-trimmed shelving across from the ordering counter showcase nutritious snacks. "As we've made changes over the years, we have learned more about retail- ing," King says. This year, the chain plans to continue its franchise expansion with a target of 125 new stores, 25 percent more than in 2016. Project Juice, showcases soft, natural woods with modern, clean lines and pops of white tiling.

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