Newk's Eatery, the fast casual American restaurant known for its culinary-driven menu and open kitchens, has unveil a new design prototype with the opening of its first Lafayette, Louisiana, restaurant this October. Dubbed the "Generation Two" design, the changes represent a fresh, on-trend look for the brand, designed to resonate in new markets and elevate the overall guest experience.
"We've experienced an evolution over the past year as we've expanded our corporate and franchise operations," said Newk's co-founder, President and CEO Chris Newcomb. "The new design is the next step, delivering an experience to our growing customer base that reflects our philosophy that fast casual and culinary can be great partners."
The new design was developed by Newk's Building and Design Project Manager Rachael Myrick in partnership with Studio B, a top Houston-based strategic brand design firm. It builds on Newk's signature components – open kitchen, popular condiment table and warm seating areas – while adding elements that reflect the chain's mission to serve the finest ingredients with the utmost hospitality.
Upgraded finishes using classic, neutral materials such as subway tile, pendant lighting, floor detail and plush upholstery emphasize Newk's position as an upscale fast casual brand. A new color scheme incorporates the hues of Newk's always-fresh ingredients, while floor plan changes add comfort to the in-store dining experience and expedite ordering and takeout.
"Newk's believes in memorable meals without the white tablecloth," said Newcomb. "Our design team took that to heart, with rich, classic colors and materials that deliver elegance that is unexpected from a fast casual experience."
The Generation Two design aligns with Newk's aggressive growth plans to double in size in the next three years, by helping the company stay ahead of its competition while keeping build-out costs comparable to the first generation. A similar floor plan and kitchen design also allow the new elements to be incorporated efficiently into existing units.
"Value engineering was another key objective of this design process," said Myrick. "We are committed to a mutually beneficial relationship with our franchise partners and think the new design is a win for the brand, our franchisees and our customers."
Newk's will test the new design concept in Lafayette and a second new restaurant in Cary, North Carolina, set to open late 2015. Guest and operator feedback will help determine the final design and systemwide rollout.