Restaurant Development & Design

January-February 2017

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 7 How To Look Local (Even When You're Not) BY AMANDA BALTAZAR, Contributing Editor S am Fox, CEO and founder of Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts, believes every res- taurant should tell a story, and that's why each of his chain locations is unique. Fox operates four chains that have a local flair — Flower Child (5 loca- tions), True Food Kitchen (16), Culinary Dropout (5) and North Italia (9). "It is important to preserve the soul of the community we are in," says Stephanie Ryder, director of development and design for Fox Restaurant Concepts. This company isn't alone. As chains expand across the country, operators are working to make each restaurant unique while still staying true to the brand. Each chain has its own methodology. The starting point for the individu- alization of each Fox restaurant, for example, is the artwork, which comes from local artists and photographers. But artwork is only part of it. The Irvine, Calif., North Italia store features surfboards on the walls; the Santa Monica Flower Child has a two- story-high mural that depicts a large open journal filled with art inspired by the area; and the Chicago True Food Kitchen has a moss installation that spells out "Be True." "We're always trying to be cognizant of the area we're going into," says Ryder. The chains also work with what they're given at each location. The Flower Child in Santa Monica, for example, has a midcentury facade. "So we brought in Sputnik light fixtures and midcentury furniture so it all felt right, and it aligns with the Southern Califor- nia feel," Ryder explains. Each location is also decked out with items from local antique shops. "We accessorize a lot," Ryder says. "The company gathers things like lamps, vintage toolboxes and stacks of books, although some items are standard for each location. The latter tend to be functional pieces like the silverware holders and furniture, though occasionally even they are switched out if a local item works better. "We have things we like, but we are not afraid to change if it works better for the space." Fox Restaurant Concepts has a small team that works on localizing each restaurant. Some research can be done from their offices, such as scour- ing eBay, Etsy, and Napa Home and Garden, but other work is done in the local communities. Despite all this, there are brand standards at each of the company's four chains that are nonnegotiable. Wall cov- erings, bathroom materials, the wood and the interior finishes are typically Flower Child's designs include a mix of chain and localized elements. Photo courtesy of Fox Restaurant Concepts

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