Carvel has introduced a new design for its full-sized and express locations, the first prototype of which opened in Royal Palm, Fla., in March.

The Focus Brands subsidiary said it plans to open 20 restaurants using the new design in its core markets of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and South Florida over the course of the next year.

“We’re real excited about the brand-new shoppe design,” president Scott Colwell told Nation’s Restaurant News. “It fits in about 800 to 1,200 square feet. It’s more contemporary, it’s inviting and when you come in it really showcases the broad variety of exciting ice cream products we have. It includes all of our scooped ice cream, soft-serve ice cream, our Sundae Dashers, and of course we’re really well known for our ice cream cakes, and so we have what we call the Wall of Cakes, which is a whole wall devoted to our ice cream cakes.

“It’s our Carvel red and white and very high-quality-finishing Corian counters and nice wood-grain tiles on the floor. We believe it’s very current and what consumers are looking for today,” he added.

The ice cream chain, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, also has added digital menu boards and has revamped its logo with what it calls “a whimsical illustrated ice cream cone.”

The chain also introduced a new Salted Caramel Soft Serve flavor, as well as a scooped salted caramel ice cream that has a caramel swirl and is finished with Heath candy bar pieces. To go along with the new soft serve, Carvel has developed a salted caramel sundae that starts with the soft serve and is topped with caramel sauce, Heath bar pieces, another layer each of soft serve, caramel and Heath bar pieces. The dish is finished with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle.

Carvel currently has about 275 full units and 125 express locations. The latter are in nontraditional venues such as airports, universities, military bases, stadiums and amusement parks. Many of those units are co-branded with sister brands Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s.

Carvel said the total initial investment for a full-sized shoppe ranges from $250,000 to $380,000, depending on the location, square footage and equipment package. Express shoppes, which range from 100 to 300 square feet in size, require an estimated initial investment of $30,000 to $120,000.

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