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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up outside the stores instead of the new ones to make sure customers connected that it was the same PDQ store. You have to make the connection. How does the new design support the chef- driven principle differently? NR: From the standpoint of the kitchen space, it's all about ergonomics and efficiency. We eliminated some wasted space. We spent time with our opera- tions people to see exactly how far the staff needs to walk from the point they take lettuce out of the cooler to get to the spot where they cut it. The goal is all about being more efficient. Everything is now within arm's reach. Additionally, the goal is to have sight lines into the dining room as well. With the way labor is going and the fact that it can be difficult to find good people in some markets, we're working hard to design everything smarter. How has the size of the kitchen space changed in relation to the dining area? NR: We redesigned the building a little bit with slightly less seating based on feedback from guests. We started out with building approximately 4,400 square feet total. Our new building is closer to 2,800 square feet, with about 1,200 of that in the back of the house. PDQ incorporated open kitchens long before it was trending in the industry. How do you stay ahead of the curve? NR: We don't try to stay ahead of the curve at all. If you do that, you run the risk of chasing what's "in," and we don't look at it that way. We are not driven by trends and data design-wise. We consider what we want to be great at: food and hospitality. Having an open kitchen helps us do what Bob Basham and I envisioned as founders, which was to provide true, from-scratch food in an environment where people can watch. Just like at your house, people like to hang out in the kitchen space. Another design convenience at our stores is the placement of hand sinks outside bathrooms. While the parents are in line, they can still keep one eye on their children washing their hands. And the hand sinks operate with a foot pedal, which offers another convenient feature for anyone worried about germs and the flu. Did the menu change with the redesign? NR: We will always keep a very focused menu approach at PDQ with hand- breaded chicken tenders as the star. Last year, we added premium sandwiches and bowls to the mix. We also expanded our sides with rice and garlic broccoli. We do a lot of chef and athlete partnerships for charity that create some unique offerings. In Houston, a sandwich created with B&B Butchers & Restaurant featured blue cheese, bacon, honey and black truffle mayo. Chef John Rivers from 4 Rivers Smokehouse also collabo- rated with us in the Tampa area to create the 4 Rivers Smokehouse Sandwich, a barbecue chicken sandwich dipped in 4 Rivers' signature sauces and topped with avocado herb sauce and shredded cab- bage are a lot of fun and raise money for different charities. +

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