Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza debuted a new “food forward” restaurant design last week that emphasizes freshness and includes digital menu boards.
The 1,374-unit take-and-bake pizza chain highlights fresh ingredients and preparation with the new design, dubbed “Create.” The restaurant is also aiming for a more contemporary atmosphere, said Kevin King, chief development officer for Vancouver, Wash.-based Papa Murphy’s International LLC.
The first Create unit opened in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 4. Two more locations are scheduled to open in October in the Austin area and in Peoria, Ariz., King said.
Though the company is confident guests will respond well to the look of the new units, it is still testing certain elements of functionality and flow.
Papa Murphy’s units have long had open kitchens where pizzas are prepared in front of guests. But under the new design, the layout of ingredients has been enhanced and some aspects that were previously behind the scenes have been brought to the forefront.
Guests at the Create units can see dough made from scratch, as well as vegetable toppings that are hand-chopped and cheese that is freshly grated, King said.
Digital menu boards will also display the pizza — and the thousands of potential combinations — in a more visual way, King said. “We can highlight different pizzas at different times of the day or week,” he said.
A new grab-and-go section will feature salads and desserts more prominently, which could open up opportunities for menu additions later, King said. “We’re testing new items like desserts. But there could be other center-of-the-plate items down the road.”
Once the company finalizes the Create design, which it expects to happen in the second quarter of 2014, all new units will feature the updated look, and franchisees will incorporate the design into their ongoing remodeling plans for existing units, King said.
The cost of the new design is comparable to that of existing locations, he noted, though franchisees will be able to select different remodeling tiers. “We have one of the lowest investment costs in QSR, and we don’t want to lose that advantage,” King said.
The new design also does not change the concept’s existing footprint, which is typically about 1,200 square feet to 1,600 square feet.
The nearly fully franchised Papa Murphy’s chain has units mostly in the U.S., though two restaurants are in the Middle East and 20 in Canada.
In July, Papa Murphy’s International LLC was reportedly preparing for an initial public offering later this year. Company officials said they could not comment on those reports.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: Sept. 10, 2013 An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the location of a new-design unit to open in Peoria, Ill. The restaurant will open in Peoria, Ariz.