STORE SPACES

Pollo Tropical redefines store experience

BY Dan Berthiaume

Cincinnati – A redesign has upped the customer experience and increased sales at casual-dining chain Pollo Tropical.

The 120-plus-unit, Caribbean-themed casual-dining chain, part of Fiesta Restaurant Group, recently underwent a store redesign as part of a national growth strategy and repositioning, with the efforts led by FRCH Design Worldwide.

Cooling and calming Caribbean colors were utilized on the exterior, with a tropical blue and green finish. A stark white veranda sits on top of the restaurant, illuminated from below, to create a welcoming effect in the evening hours.

The interior further communicates the brand story, where the bold and exciting Caribbean colors are activated in a kaleidoscope of tonal treatments through evocative wall and ceiling graphics, textures from shutter doors that are affixed above, and patterns which activate partitions. A mainstay of the Pollo Tropical experience, the ‘Saucing Island’, was pivoted to elevate the experience for guests as they customize their food.

Remodeled stores are producing a 20% growth rate. Pollo Tropical is utilizing the new design in all new construction and plans to remodel all existing units in the chain with the new FRCH design in the next three years.

“This project evolved beyond just solving a design problem,” said Danny Meissenheimer, COO of Pollo Tropical. “FRCH brought key insight to marry the back of the house experience with the front of the house experience. Our carryout sales were outperforming our in-house dining sales, which led us to refine our proposition to our customer. Our customers knew us for our fresh food, but not our brand experience.”

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A.R.E.: Good times ahead, especially for retail construction

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The Association for Retail Environments is bullish on the future.

The organization is predicting good days ahead for the U.S. economy in general and retail construction in particular. According to A.R.E.’s economic advisors, all indicators show that the 2016 economy in the U.S. will grow faster than it did in 2015. And while economic growth will slow in the back half of 2015, it will not be negative.

“As an industry, we have been experiencing a recession hangover, where decisions to start projects come a bit slower than pre-recession practices,” said Todd Dittman, A.R.E.’s executive director. “Yet the construction industry has been growing around 3.5% to 4.5% this year.”

A.R.E. pointed out the following trends:

• The growth in retail construction will slow down from 10% rolling 12 months, but will pick back up again in 2016.

• Opportunity areas in retail construction are with the luxury brands, dollar stores, and warehouses.

• Due to the online shopping trend, warehouse construction is up 52.3% this year.

• Retail construction trends continue to show smaller footprints in urban settings.

Manufacturing also looks promising in 2016, according to A.R.E. North America is leading the way with the U.S. up 3.8% and Mexico up 3.7% this year. Drivers include near sourcing (customer orders coming back to the U.S.), improved technology, leveling of capital vs. labor costs, cheaper energy costs, and improved production efficiencies.

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Adidas takes high-tech experience on the road

BY Marianne Wilson

Portland, Ore. — Adidas is taking its act on the road and letting shoppers get up close and personal with its high-tech footwear.

Adidas has launched “Boost Experience by Adidas,” an interactive mobile space celebrating Adidas products and its “Boost” cushioning system. To see a video of the space, which will tour the country’s top running events, click here.

The space, unveiled to the public at The San Francisco Marathon at Pier 39 on July 25, takes visitors beyond the traditional consumer journey a store experience offers. It features several unique touchpoints, including an exterior “kinetic” wall with Boost capsules that moves in response to foot traffic.

A try-on area serves as the focal point of the experience (footwear can be purchased on site thru the company’s web site). Each try-on compares current footwear and runs through a series of simple warm ups that showcase performance and comfort. Runners can put the shoes to the test at the “Momentum Wall,” which records and analyzes a person’s movements via a motion-capture camera. The system assesses the athlete’s energy output and then displays their image, made entirely of Boost capsules, on a full size LED video wall. An embedded GIF of their experience is immediately emailed for social media sharing.

A "Boost Yourself" photo booth offers an opportunity for visitors to share their selfies transformed into Boost capsules. Footwear is available to purchase onsite from Adidas.com.

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