Restaurant Development & Design

SEP-OCT 2018

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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2 2 • 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 8 Peer to Peer By Amanda Baltazar Q&A with Martha Lares Vice President of Store Design and Construction, Wetzel's Pretzels V isit a mall today and you'll find a sorry state of affairs, with empty storefronts and declining foot traffic. However, one type of mall is doing well: the upscale mall, with retailers such as Nordstrom, Brooks Brothers and Williams-Sonoma. And it's in these malls where you'll increasingly find a Wetzel's Pretzels kiosk. The Pasadena, Calif.-based company has around 140 upscale mall locations and plans to grow that number. Sales in these stores are about 50 per- cent higher than the company's overall same-store average. And to fit into this new urban landscape, the concept has recently released a new prototype that it's rolled out to a dozen locations — half of them new builds and half of them retrofits — mostly in California. The new prototype is modern and more upscale than the previous iteration but about the same size (200 to 220 square feet). What are the main goals Wetzel's Pret- zels is hoping to achieve with the new prototype? ML: To create a competitive design that's accepted in "A" malls. We want to lead in the category of being a snack offering. We wanted to determine what landlords were looking for and what we could deliver because they determine where we go in the mall. We also hope to engage our guests and bring them closer by showcasing a great new fresh design. And we want a premium spot to drive our business, so it's important to keep the landlords happy. We wanted to bring [our design] up a notch because our primary goal is to achieve great spots. We're never in the food court in a mall, but we want to be in the fashion section — next to the Louis Vuitton store or the Coach store. You are modernizing the brand. What makes the new design more contemporary? ML: We were challenged by the landlords to bring in a fresh, cool design. They have a certain look they want to deliver. It's always a challenge to fall into the specifics they ask for while maintaining your brand integrity and being a good neighbor. So, our new look is fresh, shiny and clean. It blends in but also stands out. We wanted to live within the real estate but also showcase who we are. We've brought in a lot of white — it's the new color of the design season in retail. Wood is a big part of the design, and the landlords require the use of some wood. But pretzels and wood go well together because pretzels are a very simple product, a very natural product, so just putting in that twist of wood in the detailing of these kiosks shows it's a very modern product but also has this old, traditional feel as well. You need to fit in and stand out in these upscale malls. How can you do that? ML: The landlords wanted something a little muted, a little quieter for the mall landscape. We can deliver a quiet design with the white, but how do you make it stand out in a white background? So, we put the emphasis on colored lighting and maintaining pops of branding within the kiosk. The colored lights bring in that subtle glow without the saturation of color that landlords don't want. It show- cases our brand so we can still deliver on our look without the vibrant colors that

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