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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Peer to Peer 2 6 • 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 Q&A with Nick Reader CEO and Co-Founder, PDQ BY RENEE PAS N ick Reader started out with a love of both food and football (he's a former chief financial of- ficer for the Tampa Bay Bucca- neers), joined forces with his friend Bob Basham (co-founder of Outback Steak- house), and created PDQ in 2009. The owners of the Tampa,Fla.-based chicken tenders chain have, from its inception, focused on from-scratch cooking. De- sign has always been a key component, with open kitchens an early-on decision as a way to emphasize food integrity. This year, the chain charts a refresh course as it implements a design reboot. Currently at 60 units in 11 states, the majority in Florida, growth plans include adding 30 new units in the next two years, which includes adding Utah as a new market. What's the first thing customers will notice in the new design? NR: The new logo and mascot are noticeable additions and add a lot from a branding standpoint. The creation of our new chicken mascot came from pop artist Burton Morris. It was a six-month creative process with a lot of back-and- forth and feedback. We love the way it reflects our personality as a chain. The thumbs-up sign the chicken is giving represents the fact that we don't take ourselves too seriously. How has the restaurant decor changed? NR: From a pure decor standpoint, we previously had too many different materials. There was too much going on. For example, we had four different shades of wood in play and three different shades of green on the walls. We have simplified that — for instance, down to a light and dark wood. We also fixed some of what I call the Xs and Os — with the store reboot, which I would say is a 2.0 design version — that didn't age well. The sun really ages things, especially in our primary Florida market, and some of the wear and tear from 1,000 people walking on the floors needed addressing. And we even made some adjustments to make our wood beams look better, too. What pushed you toward the need for a redesign? NR: We were hitting on five years on some of the buildings. Sometimes, because we live so close to it, we are very observant. We wanted the design of our stores to reflect the A-plus quality in everything in our stores, from the food quality to our people and hospitality. Will you tweak any of the design elements now that the first redesign store opened? NR: Yes. Our first redesigned store opened December 10 last year. We'll open two more before making any adjust- ments; I think we are 80 percent there. Overall, I'd say it looks slightly more unfinished than I would like. We're work- ing on nailing it down. What subtle elements changed that might not jump out at customers right away? NR: We want to make sure we stay cognizant of just how different it looks going forward. People that eat here once a week might not even be able to tell you what our colors are. Still, we want to make sure custom- ers know it's the same operation. We ac- tually reached a point where, internally, we were thinking of putting the old flags

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