Restaurant Development & Design

MAR-APR 2018.

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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2 2 • 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 • M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 TREND Starbird is also innovating with next- gen conveniences. A hybrid of QSR and fast casual, the brand embraces customer-facing technologies and by- passes traditional drive-thru queues in favor of car-side pickup. "We have a proprietary app that lets customers order and pay for items for dine-in, pick-up or car-side deliv- ery," Culver says. "You can type in your license plate and type of car, and we'll bring your order out to you." As it looks to grow, the Starbird team is weighing various real estate options. Though they initially leaned toward second-generation sites, the success of the San Jose unit has them rethinking that strategy. That restau- rant, with seating for 60, is a new-build shopping center endcap. "It's really beautiful with lots of windows and is probably the best expression of our brand's target aesthetics," Culver says. Those aesthetics center on provid- ing a customer experience that's upbeat and transparent. "There's white and yel- low everywhere. It's a clean, modern but timeless look," Culver notes. "We try to keep everything simple and well made. Our millwork is real wood; our tiles are real. Just as on our menu, we don't cut corners on design or materials." The Crack Shack HQ: San Diego Units open: 3 Average check: $16-$20 (with alcohol) 2018 expansion plans: 2 units Launched in San Diego's Little Italy in 2015 by Michael Rosen and "Top Chef All-Stars" 2010 winner Richard Blais, who together helm the casually elegant Juniper & Ivy right next door, The Crack Shack touts all-day, elevated chicken and egg fare and a brand experience that's sophisticated, fun, family-friendly and slightly irreverent. It was, Rosen explains, literally in- spired by a shack. "I had purchased the property where we opened Juniper & Ivy, our fine-dining concept, and on the cor- ner of the property sat this 75-year-old, rustic metal shed that was iconic in the area. A couple of times a week, someone would ask to lease it for a coffee shop or some other kind of lifestyle concept. It occurred to me we could use it to create a fine-fast-casual place, so that shack became our first location." Consumers' love for fried chicken the world over and what Rosen and Blais saw as a dearth of fried chicken-focused concepts that put high-quality ingre- dients into a crave-worthy, chef-driven menu led them to focus on chicken. The Crack Shack's signature chicken and eggs are fresh, organic, free-range and sourced from the same Southern California The Starbird sandwich features crispy, hand-battered chicken fried in gluten-free rice bran oil, kale-based super slaw and avocado on a house-baked roll. All Crack Shack units feature an open-air dining experience, full bar and playful branding and decor that pay homage to the chicken. Image courtesy of Stephen Whalen

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