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 3 This opportunity has come to fruition in the form of a new prototype restaurant, dubbed Untamed Southwest. The first two stores were built in the second half of 2018. One, in Sandy Springs, Ga., is a remodel of a company- owned store. The second is a ground-up build in Kennesaw, Ga., owned by a franchise partner. This store, dubbed The Oasis, will also serve as Moe's test kitchen for new menu items. With Moe's Southwest inspiration as its differentiator, the new design makes use of the looks of the region's various cultures, along with its natural materi- als and feel, says Lance Reed, creative director with SRG. "It's really important to us that everything didn't feel slick and polished," he says. "In the Southwest things are touched by the elements. You think of the sunburnt wood and the oxidizing of metal when it rusts. There's an almost wind- swept quality to things. They're exposed to the hardness of the elements." These elements can be seen starting with Moe's new logo. According to Jones, Moe's previous logo — which featured a circular shape, red and yellow lettering and a chili- peppered-turned apostrophe — felt dated and also like it could fit into the QSR segment. The new logo is truer to the brand's new emphasis. While it main- tains the established equity of the strong all-caps name MOE'S found in the old mark, it now employs colors and shapes that evoke the Southwest. It features both diamond and triangle shapes to reflect the region's landscape and rugged nature. And, instead of yellow and red, the colors are white, turquoise, orange and rust. "We wanted to improve the idea of Southwest and really make sure that was coming forward with a more distinctive color palette, typography, patterns and references to the Southwest motifs and icons," Jones says. On the building's exterior, the Southwest influence can be seen on more than just the logo. The new design features a tower clad in a rust-colored Corten steel with a strong patina. The tower's base, meanwhile, is covered in a stone-style material. These elements, in particular the steel, says Reed, help establish the brand personality. "Corten is an architec- tural mood they do a lot in the South- west. We thought it would look really beautiful, and it helps to set Moe's into a unique space where it doesn't really feel like a Chipotle or Qdoba or something else. It feels like an authentic brand that can stand on its own." The exterior aesthetics carry through to the building's interior, where the color palette includes neutral tones along with pops of Southwestern colors and textures such as rust-colored wall elements and Native American-inspired upholstery. As guests enter, they encounter a video monitor designed to look like a window that showcases rotating, often lighthearted images of Southwestern scenes. The purpose of this feature is to help set the emotional tone; any brand- ing in the videos is minimal. "We are having to train people on what does the Southwest mean," says Moe's Director of Strategic Initiatives Sunny Ashman. "The guests absolutely love that element. They don't feel like they're looking at a typical presale board that you would see at a fast food place that's constantly rotating LTOs." At the order line, guests encounter more Southwestern elements. The face of the order line is covered with a printed graphic that looks like a woven basket found in Native American cultures. On the line itself many ingredients are served out of pots and pans instead Project Team Project lead: Sunny Ashman, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Moe's Architect: GPD Group Kitchen supplier: TriMark Strategic Interior design: Conceptual design by Sterling Rice Group and Lauren Taliaferro, Director of Design for Moe's Kitchen design: Collaboration of Lau- ren Taliaferro, Director of Design for Moe's, and Karen Bustios, Director of Operations for Moe's Instead of marketing specials and LTOs, the Window to the Southwest video screen is designed to evoke the feeling of the region.

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