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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6 0 • 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 How To "We had a lot of conversations like, 'Is it more important to show the qual- ity or tell customers we're quality?'" he says. "And things like quality and doing the right thing, these are things that are better shown. We get a deeper emotional connection." Checkers and Rally's updated its stark black-and-white checkered exte- rior tiles in 2016 with the addition of random red tiles "to be fairly subtle," says Director of Design and Construc- tion Bret Cunningham. The restaurants featuring the 4.0 design are doing well, with sales up around 10 percent. The design retained the chain's polished stainless-steel awnings that sport a red stripe, but there were some changes. These include switching from a neon light to LED, which is easier to main- tain and also less expensive. The 4.0 design also exaggerated the awnings, staggering them in elevation and ex- tending them out farther from buildings and tilting them upward. Checkers/Rally's has also retained its exterior red fiberglass umbrellas in its seating areas, which are nonnegotia- ble and differ from most QSRs and the use of canvas umbrellas. "They're an unusual shape and not very common," Cunningham says. "Guests often iden- tify the umbrellas and associate them with our brand, prior to even seeing our signage." Because the umbrellas don't fit any historical time period, they fit the brand's nostalgic style and don't look dated, he explains. One change that was not subtle: the double drive-thru that the chain was known for has been downsized in many locations to a single drive-thru because "the doubles weren't penciling out," says Cunningham. The change has made for a nimbler brand, allowing the chain to go into smaller locations and to use the added outdoor space for additional seating. Removing the lane hasn't affected brand equity or sales, adds Cunningham. Throwback Style A&W is taking a different tactic. Eschewing subtlety and instead drawing attention to legacy elements, the chain is employing what it calls Hip Nostalgia. It takes the best of the past and makes it relevant to today's consumer while still capitalizing on the affinity Baby Boomers have for the brand, says Vice President of Marketing Sarah Mueller. Key elements of this, she explains, include the restaurants' angular mid- century-inspired roof line, colorful pop art created with retro techniques that aren't overly computer generated, and references to the century-old chain's start as a small roadside root beer stand. New items are created using old styles, so they look like they've been done by hand — everything at A&W was hand-painted until the 1950s — and that includes everything from the menus to the visible brushstrokes in the paintwork. "We wanted this subtle touchpoint," Mueller says. And one element A&W is resurrect- ing, after it fell into disuse in the first decade of this century, is it bulls-eye logo — the original A&W logo that prior to 2000 was featured in every restau- rant. "We're bringing it back to remind people we're 100 years old," Mueller says. The chain has even added this logo to its drive-thru. Dairy Queen is also playing up its 78-year history through artwork. The Edina, Minn.-based chain has always featured black-and-white photos of old restaurants and music — mostly from the '40s, '50s and '60s — and these are now updated, with some color shots, too. Another addition is history collages, starting in 1938, with the in- vention of the soft-serve machine, and identifying milestones in the evolution of Dairy Queen. "We're showing customers we've been around for a long time, and that helps establish the strength and du- rability of the brand," says Director of Architecture Tom Reinen. + The double drive-thrus at Checkers and Rally's have been downsized in many locations. It made for a nimbler design, allowing the chains to go into smaller locations and utilize outdoor space for additional seating. Image courtesy of Checkers and Rally's

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