Houlihan’s Restaurants Inc. is seeing success with its test of a slimmed-down, dressed-up prototype — a changed spurred by a post-recession landscape “where we didn’t have any slack left in the equation,” according to Rob Ellis, chief financial officer and chief development officer of the Leawood, Kan.-based company. The chain of nearly 100 upscale-casual restaurants tested the new building design in four markets over the past year, including a location near ...

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