- Baskin-Robbins's unveiled its first Moments concept store in Fresno, California. The redesign is focused on creating more customer interactions and engagement and includes new display cases to better showcase the store's iconic 32 flavors, artwork tailored to the community, updated digital menus and modern padded seating, according to Nation's Restaurant News. The company plans to open up to 10 new or remodeled stores in 2019, including one in El Paso, Texas, set to open in early 2019.
- While the second concept store to launch in El Paso will have a drive-thru, it won't be a main feature for the redesign and depend on whether or not it works well for the location, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. About 100 standalone Baskin-Robbins have drive-thrus with another 700 co-branded stores have them.
- A new novelties menu will include chocolate-dipped bananas and waffle cones, smoothie and ice cream bars and Polar Pizza slices, a large cookie topped with ice cream and toppings.
Baskin-Robbins' plan to open new stores and consider remodels may be coming at an ideal time as consumer preferences shift in its favor. Ice cream shops recently have been beating back the growth of frozen yogurt stores, which started to garner market share several years ago, but are now on the decline. In the last five years, ice cream shops have grown 2.8% annually reaching $5 billion in revenue, according to IBISWorld. The data also shows that they can benefit from the fact that customers prefer fresh-scooped treats instead of store-bought cartons.
While the expansion may be a smart one, Baskin-Robbins — which opened its 8,000th site in July — is not the only ice cream chain looking to grow. Cold Stone grew its footprint this year adding 30 new locations and plans further expansion next year. Dairy Queen's growth strategy in 2019 is to push more of its Grill & Chill instead of opening standalone frozen treat stores.
Among the biggest changes to Baskin-Robbins stores is that no two shops will have the same artwork and each will look a little differently, a departure from the brand's previous design, where stores were largely indistinguishable. The redesign taps into recent trends to offer more personlized foods and experiences for customers, especially those in younger generations who value that type of interaction from brands they support.
Each store will capture local landmarks and scenery, similar to Trader Joe's interiors. The Fresno shop depicts local parks and campsites, for example. The murals are meant to create stronger connections to the local community and provide guests with a photo op to post on social media, according to a press release.
The Moments design is intended to provide guests with a place to unplug and better reconnect with family and friends. Indoor seating includes upholstered banquettes and swivel chairs and high tables with bar stools, according to a press release. A garage door and window opens to the outside offering indoor/outdoor seating arrangements.
Remodels have been successful for Baskin-Robbins in the past. The chain remodeled its stores in 2013, when it launched its Flavor 1.0 design, which introduced digital LCD menus with large graphics, booths and banquettes and serviced topping stations. Many franchisees received positive customer feedback following the remodels, according to QSR Web.
Sister company Dunkin', also is in the midst of a rebrand after removing "Donuts" from its name in September, and rolling out a concepts store earlier this year in Quincy, Massachusetts, as it focuses in on becoming more competitive in the coffee segment. It also put $100 million toward marketing and new espresso equipment to up the ante on its beverage program.