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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5 4 • 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 • J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 9 MOE'S SOUTHWEST GRILL EMBRACES ITS INSPIRATION of stainless-steel wells. Dine-in guests receive their orders in white melamine bowls instead of disposable packaging. These changes, says Schroder, make the food presentation less institutional and more of a chef's kitchen, highlighting the quality of the chain's food for the guest. At the end of the line, instead of serving a bag of chips to every guest, Moe's has created a self-serve station for chips and salsa. The chain commu- nicates the value of this offering with a playful sign declaring Moe's Land of the Free Chips and Salsa. In addition to highlighting for the guest an ele- ment that was already a differentiator, making chips self-serve has simplified life on the line. Staffers no longer have to deal with chip refill requests, and moving the chip warmer from behind the counter created a more efficient design, says Ashman. Once guests have their food, they're given several different seating options. The restaurant's booths have the clearest Southwest influence. The backs are upholstered with a fabric inspired by Native American culture while light fixtures with a sun motif hang overhead. Even more explicitly Southwestern are the dividers between booths. Instead of using panels attached to the booths, Moe's utilizes tapestries that hang from the ceiling. These pieces feature styl- ized characters like cacti and geckos that, says Reed, seem to have their own distinct identities. "If a brand is all about individuality and diversity, we want to create all these different zones that have very distinctive characters…[The booths seating area is] a signature brand space where we could bring in more of the personality ele- ments," says Reed. In addition to booths, the restaurant contains larger community tables. Stools at these tables are bolted down in order to keep the restaurant organized and to comply with ADA requirements. These spaces are especially popular with families, one of Moe's key customer groups. The design also includes banquette seating and floating tables, allowing customers to select the seating arrangement that works for them. The new design also features a large Welcome to Moe's mural as well as green neon cacti that can hang in windows, serving as a brand marker to those outside the restaurant as much as for those inside. Off Premise, On Budget Another design element isn't so much about brand personality as it is the shift- ing nature of the restaurant industry. With the rise of off-premise dining and third-party delivery, Moe's created a dedicated pickup station for to-go orders, topped with a metal cactus sculpture. This isn't the only change Moe's has made with off-premise dining in mind. Beginning before the launch of the rede- sign, the chain began experimenting with drive-thrus. Normally, drive-thru ordering is difficult for a concept that allows for so much customization. According to Schroder, though, advances in touch-screen ordering make it easier for guests to create the exact meal they want, especially compared with trying to dictate an order via micro- phone to a staffer. In addition, the chain has developed Snapshot Concept owner: Moe's Southwest Grill Headquarters: Atlanta Location of new prototype: Kennesaw, Ga. Real estate: Strip center, end cap Concept: Brand repositioning and prototype design Segment: Fast casual Size: 2,600 square feet Unit count: 721 Opened: November 2018 Design highlights: Brand hallmark signage of Welcome to Moe's!; Vibrant colors and materials that reflect the effects of the harsh envi- ronment in the Southwest region of the U.S.; the Window to the South- west video storytelling hallmark, new lighting and community tables. Build-out time: 90 days The new interior features neutral tones along with Southwestern colors and textures, including turquoise, rust and orange.

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