Reinvention is the necessity of any restaurant concept that intends to last for generations. Here's a look at recent updates and rejuvenations of concepts that want to provide a fresh face to the market. Some common elements: beer and French dip-style sandwiches.
Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery
The venerable sandwich chain is aiming to reclaim its edginess and call attention to the concept’s birth in proudly eccentric Austin, Texas, by hatching this variation, which made its debut last month in the Atlanta area. The updated version is intended to appeal to millennials as well as members of Generations Y and Z.
The new riff promises the sort of food a customer might otherwise find in Austin’s booming food truck scene, including tacos and flatbread sandwiches stuffed with pulled pork, chorizo and shrimp. An array of beers will also be offered, and the prototype is spotlighting salads packed with Tex-Mex ingredients.
Customers can order at the counter, at a kiosk or via a drive-thru. Table service will be available for customers who want a second drink or something else to eat. Salads and sides are served in the dining room in permanent ware rather than in disposables.
The design is intended to make patrons feel they’re in Austin (a huge sign reads “Austin Burn and Bread”).
Quiznos’ Zeps Epiq Sandwiches
The latest experiment from the troubled franchise chain is a more upscale venture than the Quiznos Grill it replaced, with a focus on more than two dozen sandwiches, plus salads and a selection of beers. A signature is the use of house-smoked turkey for three of the sandwiches.
A line of breakfast-like egg dishes is offered all day.
All but a few of the sandwiches are available in half- and full-sized versions or as a wrap, with prices ranging from $5.50 (for a half of a Falafel & Feta) to $12 (for a Bourbon Steak Dip).
Bojangles’ new version
The biscuits-and-chicken chain is trying to call attention to its heritage while sporting a more contemporary look and modern amenities in this update. A “biscuit theater” design lets patrons see the chain’s signature biscuits being kneaded, trayed and baked, and the dining area features such contemporary tweaks as Wi-Fi and charging stations.
Management has said the new configuration is more efficient and will boost throughput as the chain adopts more technology.
The seating ranges from stools at high tops to Adirondack chairs, to accommodate parties of different sizes and ages.
Goose Island Brewhouses
Anheuser-Busch purchased the Goose Island Beer’s beverage lines some time ago, but it didn’t buy another piece of the business, the lone Goose Island Brewpub, until about a year ago. Now comes word that A-B’s Goose Island operation will develop more of the brewpubs, though expansion could be limited by archaic rules prohibiting alcohol suppliers from also running retail establishments where alcohol is sold (the original Brewpub could be purchased because it was technically reclassified as a “taproom”). The laws could limit expansion to international markets.
In instances where so-called closed-shop rules would prevent a brewpub (rechristened as a Goose Island Brewhouse) from opening, Goose Island might instead open a Vintage Ale House, with no brewing but beer available on tap, the Chicago Tribune reported. Food would be prepared on-site.