From refreshed interiors to separating ordering and dining areas, restaurant chains across categories have recently debuted new remodels to provide a better guest experience. While much of the impetus for redesigns at chains like Jamba and Firehouse Subs were to incorporate better off-premise channels, prototypes and remodels shared this year also took the overall guest experience into consideration, such as Mooyah Burgers' decision to transition its kitchen from an open to closed design. Round Table is also adding a beer wall to boost its dine-in experience.
Check out additional in-store innovations from seven of the most dramatic restaurant redesigns this year:
Location of new store: Concord, North Carolina
What's changed: This is the first comprehensive redesign by the donut chain in over a decade and is one of 45 new shops to open in new and existing markets through 2020. The company will also redesign existing stores. The new design features an enhanced doughnut theater experience with end-to-end views of the doughnut making process, new lighted doughnut display cases and digital menu boards. The location also features enhanced customer-facing technology including online ordering, in-store self-service pickup, dedicated parking for mobile order pickup, an expanded drive-thru with two lanes and digital order confirmation. A new menu at the location includes ice cream sandwiches; the ability to customize doughnuts with five different glazes, 10 toppings and five drizzles; and hand-spun milkshakes.
Prototype location: Chicago
What's changed: The new design in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago separates the ordering area from the dining room, according to a press release sent to Restaurant Dive. Customers will complete their order and pay first before the sandwich is made and can watch staff make their sandwiches behind glass counters. The prototypes still feature booth seating, but also include wood and natural elements. It also has a redesigned digital menu board that includes hot sandwiches, soups, shakes and cookies in one area. The company will use this redesign in all future stores including locations in Las Vegas, Tampa, Florida, and North and South Carolina, where the chain plans to expand.
Locations of new design: All new units will get the redesign, with existing shops to follow.
What's New: Along with removing "Juice" from its name, the chain began a redesign during the summer that included a new logo and whirl graphic in an emerald green brand color. The new store designs feature light wood with a clearly designated pickup area. The company also revamped its e-commerce platform with a mobile-friendly website and mobile app that offers customization and personalization as well as order-ahead capabilities, nutritional preferences, integrated gift cards and a new loyalty program. It also expanded into delivery with Postmates and Uber Eats during the year.
Round Table Pizza
Locations of new store design: Sacramento, Oakdale and Pittsburg, California
What’s New: The Sacramento location was the first to feature the company’s full redesign, which is expected to roll out across the 440-unit system, and features a beer wall, round booths, a game room and a party room. The previous color scheme of red, blue and green has been replaced by black, white and red colors with Round Table’s new logo, which includes a silhouette of a knight's helmet.
Prototype location: Minneapolis
What's different: The 3,000-square-foot restaurant includes a compact bar and dining area with community tables and will focus on delivery and catering, which was a large aspect of the previous Famous Dave's in this market and a growing part of the business overall. CEO Jeff Crivello told Food on Demand that off-premise now makes up 50% of the chain’s business, which is why it is planning to shrink its restaurants. The new location will also offer new menu items such as shareable finger foods, handhelds, grab-and-go options and new cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. Many of these items are also geared toward catering and delivery, according to Food on Demand.
Locations of new designs: All new locations, with 12 franchised locations to be remodeled starting in 2020 with remodels completed by 2024.
What’s new: The burger chain’s new redesign features community seating areas with high-top tables and flexible seating where guests can move tables to accommodate large parties and booths for guests to stay for extended periods, according to a press release sent to Restaurant Dive. A designated pickup area will include a bench for guests waiting for their to-go or delivery orders. Previously, Mooyahs had an open kitchen, but the new design will have a closed kitchen after gathering guest feedback. New locations will also have digital menu boards and back-of-house kitchen display systems to enhance throughput and accuracy. The company will also update its logo across its system in January alongside its rollout of its remodeled locations.
Prototype Location: Jacksonville, Florida
What’s new: The new design, its first in 25 years, is dramatically smaller, using 25% less kitchen space, and holds about half as many seats as a traditional 50-seat store. The kitchen is now at the back of the restaurant to allow for a designated area for to-go orders. A new sandwich steamer with a drawer, compared to a clamshell top, is expected to reduce heating time by a minute compared to two minutes and 45 seconds.