Restaurant Development & Design

JAN-FEB 2019

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

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J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 • 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 By Toby Weber I f there's one cuisine that exemplifies fast casual, it's Mexican. There's Chipotle, Qdoba, Salsarita's, Baja Fresh, Freebirds and at least half a dozen more solid options to choose from. That's great if you're going out for a good burrito. But if you compete in the sector, it presents a big challenge. How do you stand out with all that competition? That's the question Bruce Schro- der, president of Moe's Southwest Grill, asked when he took the reigns of the brand nearly four years ago. "We need to make customer choices simple. The bottom line is you need to stay relevant to stay competitive in what's become a share game," he says. To stay relevant, Moe's decided a redesign and brand repositioning was in order. Developing this new design began with a research project. Wanting to learn the good and the bad of its brand, Moe's went to the people that matter most — its customers. Working with brand consulting and design firm Sterling Rice Group (SRG), the chain leveraged its loyalty program and Facebook group to identify three groups of customers: heavy users, light users and lapsed users. "The heavy users could articulate what they love about the brand. The light users could articulate why they come now and then and what it would take to get them to come more often. The lapsed users could tell us what was it about the brand that turned them off and why they left. When you slice it and dice it that way, you get some really good feedback and direction," says Schroder. With rust-colored Corten steel and southwestern colors in its new logo, Moe's wants to establish its Untamed Southwest brand position from the start. All images courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill Moe's booths feature Native American-inspired upholstery and stylized tapestries as booth dividers.

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