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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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 • 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 1 customization encourages customers to try the concept, it creates a bottleneck in the queue. With so many choices, guests were taking too long to pick their top- pings. A half minute of indecision times 15 people in line, for instance, would cause a massive slowdown. This not only hurt the chain's opera- tions, but it also hampered the chain's relationships with repeat customers, Brown says. "Our heavy consumers couldn't really get in and out by design," she explains. "You can only move as quickly as the person in front of you." Last November, then, Uncle Maddio's rolled out a new prototype in Acworth, Ga., that reinvents the order- ing and pizza assembly process. These changes led to the creation of entirely new sections in the restaurant and are accompanied by a redesigned dining area with updated furnishings, artwork and brand messaging. New Ordering, New Flow The linchpin of the new design is the chain's remade ordering process. In the chain's previous prototype, guests queue then walk down the as- sembly line and place their order. Once a staff member created a pie and placed it in the oven, guests paid at a point of sale (POS) station at the end of the as- sembly line. The new design shifts the POS stations ahead of the assembly line and pairs them with a set of electronic menu boards that rotate the different specialty pies, ingredients and limited-time offer- ings. Guests now walk in, pick what they want on their pizza based on the menu board, then order and pay. Since guests aren't asked to pick their toppings from a display, the entire process is much quicker. This allows them to get their drinks, sit down and enjoy their experi- ence sooner, says Jennifer Rotondo, who worked on the redesign as founder of Atlanta-based design firm The Kitch. "If you go to a pizza restaurant that you sit down and dine in, you don't get to pick your toppings" by looking at them, Rotondo says. "We're kind of go- ing back to the original model of building pizzas in a traditional restaurant." This change not only sped up the ordering process, but it also increased labor productivity, notes Brown. Now that pizza makers aren't interacting with guests, the assembly line moves much more quickly, allowing the culi- nary team to cook more pies in a set amount of time. Butterfly Effect in a Box This shift in ordering was itself a major change, but it led to a number of other changes that impacted the way Uncle Maddio's presents itself and how guests experience the restaurant. According to Rotondo, while the earlier Uncle Maddio's design was fun and inviting, there were some aspects of the brand that could have been better emphasized. These include the freshness and quality of the food and the restau- rant's "served with love" guarantee, which offers guests a refund and a replacement item if they're not happy with their order. The new prototype emphasizes these aspects with a design Rotondo describes as "Mediterranean sophisticated with a hint of rustic industrial." The chain's "served with love" guar- antee is the first thing guests encounter Uncle Maddio's features a new party table with funky retro custom wallpaper. Other custom wallpapers include Mediterranean travel themed at the to-go counter and the "served with love" wallpaper by the entrance.

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