1. Wendy’s ‘smart design’
Wendy’s will start testing a new scaled-down prototype in Florida next month known internally as the smart design. It’s a second iteration of the design that went into test in Canada at the beginning of the year, according to executives. “We continue to see nice lifts, nice returns,” CFO Gunther “G.P.” Plosch told investors last month, declining to reveal details.
“We feel good that all the elements of that design really are elements that still will wow the customer and make sure that they feel good and we have an urban contemporary design,” Plosch said. “They want to come into our restaurants, especially as you got a mix of two-thirds to the drive-thru and one-third in the dine-in.”
2. El Pollo Loco’s new ‘vision’
The grilled chicken chain leaked word to investors at the end of the first quarter that it’s working on a new prototype dubbed the vision. “We believe [it] better reflects the quality of our food and our QSR positioning,” said CEO Steve Sather. “We have remodeled an existing location to have all the elements of this new design and are currently compiling consumer feedback.”
The first store was a retrofit, and “it's been very well received so far from the people that we surveyed,” Sather said at the time.
The results were encouraging enough to prompt the chain to use it on new stores opening in Houston. Sather said the look is important to introduce the chain’s “QSR plus” positioning.
3. Chipotle’s minis
The burrito chain made a lot of noise about its intention to develop a scaled-down mini restaurant when the plan was first revealed, but it’s been quiet about that experiment recently. Turns out the concept has discreetly opened three of the minis in the Kansas City area, with one more on the way, according to the architect for the smaller stores, El Dorado.