Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 2015

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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 • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 5 BUZZ who's doing what Tampa-based chain Burger 21 recently announced a new expansion strategy tar- geting nontraditional market segments. The better burger chain has confrmed its frst landing on the other side of the aisle: The company received approval in early June to develop two units in the Tampa International Airport (TPI). Part of a major redevelopment of the airport and its concessions – largely tar- geted at showcasing popular local restau- rant brands – Burger 21's airport units will require signifcant prototype design and operations modifcations. The fast-casual concept's traditional units average 2,400 to 3,000 square feet and serve lunch and dinner only. Staff members deliver meals to tables in eight minutes, on average, and the environment and service style feel more "casual" than "fast." In contrast, the TPI units will be a fraction of the size and will have either no seating or shared seating. Ticket times will have to be considerably faster, and these locations must add breakfast. Working with its chosen concessioner, HMS Host, Burger 21 has spent more than 18 months in equipment, opera- tions and menu R&D in anticipation of its airport debut. "It's been a long process, starting with evaluating concessioners and then going through developing and transitioning the brand from a fast-casual restaurant with eight-minute ticket and delivery times into something that can work in a much faster-paced environment and still maintain our quality levels," says Ashley Pollard, director of franchise development. Design-wise, the nontraditional pro- totype maintains key branding elements of the traditional units. "We want to keep the fresh, contemporary aesthetic of the brand, but have had to make some signifcant changes," Pollard says. "For example, in our traditional units we have paper menus so we had to fgure out how to incorporate digital menu boards. We also have to focus on communicating the fact very quickly that we're about more than just beef burgers and do it in a much, much smaller footprint." Naf Naf Grill Nabs Roark Capital Investment Chicago-based Naf Naf Grill, a fast-casual concept serving authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, has secured private-equity fund- ing from Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group. The investment is Roark's frst in an emerging growth brand. Founded in 2008, Naf Naf Grill oper- ates 13 locations in the greater Chicago area, with additional units under develop- ment in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its menu offers core protein options of slow- roasted steak or chicken Shawarma in a pita sandwich format, as well as in a rice or salad bowl. Staff bake pita bread fresh on-site daily and customers can custom- ize their pita or bowl with freshly prepared salads and sauces. Founders David Sloan and Sahar Sander will continue to lead the company as co-CEOs. As part of the transaction, restaurant industry veterans Gary Beisler and George Condos will join Naf Naf Grill's board of directors. Beisler most recently served as CEO for Qdoba Mexican Grill, growing the brand from 7 units to 650 be- tween 1998 and 2013. Condos retired this April as the president and COO of Arby's, where he helped lead the re-posi- tioning and resurgence of the brand. Neal Aronson, founder and managing partner of Roark Capi- tal, noted, "Naf Naf has talented and passionate founders, a highly differenti- ated brand, and tremendous long-term growth potential. It is the frst of a number of emerging brands we hope to invest in." Burger 21 Kicks Off Nontraditional Expansion at TPI

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