Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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68 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2018 chain profile the quality up," Lee adds. "Hand cutting keeps the quality there and it's not so labor-intensive that it's a major cost to us." Stay Back While all vegetable prep takes place in front, one step remains in the back of the house. Staff prepare raw proteins, such as chicken and tuna, in back, using a sink and work table. This station, along with warewashing and chemical storage, makes up the entire back of the house. According to Lee, the chain kept protein prep separate out of food safety concerns. Though Coolgreens holds raw chicken in the same walk-in cooler as produce, it resides in a completely separate section in accordance with HACCP guidelines. When the time comes, the chicken moves to the back for prep, then transfers to the front of the house where it cooks in the convey- or oven, then staff cut it up and place it on the production line. As a rule, the chain preps these ingredients in small batches, enough for only one shift or one full day and never more, Lee says. "We know what holds best and what sells at different times of the year. Mangos aren't going to sell the same year- round as apples or pears will. You can apply that to 50 or 60 items across the SKU," Lee says. This prep work for both produce and proteins takes place in two shifts. The first is in the morning before the restau- rant opens, the second in the afternoon, between lunch and dinner service. In-shift prep occurs as necessary. Energetic Ambiance While the display walk-in and prep make up a big part of the new Coolgreens' customer experience, the dining area also features a modified design. These changes, however, aren't major and the core appearance remains the same, Lee says. "It needs to have a great ambiance and energetic feel, and not be so in your face that it's crazy busy," Lee says. "We don't want too many contrasting colors and we don't want it to look too fast-foody, where there are advertisements everywhere." Light blue and green serve as the restaurant's core colors and they appear on the full- and half-height walls. Wall decor includes a few framed sketches showing salads and brand messages, along with the Coolgreens logo painted on an exposed brick wall. The restaurant's furnishings include white polymer chairs with a veined pattern resembling lettuce under a microscope. Additional bar-height seating goes with a stainless-steel bar- height shelf and stainless stools. The flooring in this prototype store features a textured ceramic tile, though future locations will convey a similar aesthetic using vinyl products, which are only recently available and are more durable, Lee says. In fact, all these specified items, Lee notes, were chosen for their durability and franchisee appeal. "Operationally speak- ing, the items need to be durable, they need to be easy to clean and they need to be cost effective for franchisees. It's easy for franchisors to spec out grossly elevated equipment and fur- nishing packages knowing the cost isn't falling on them." Franchising Future Next on the chain's to do list? Franchising. In addition to developing this new prototype, the company spent much of the last several months getting ready to work with and sup- port franchisees. To make opening easier for its partners, for example, the company reviewed and enhanced its operational manuals. The modular new design allows Coolgreens stores to open in spaces with different sizes and shapes. In addition, design specifications include A/B options whenever possible, giving franchisees more control of their costs and allowing them to choose the finish or furnishing that best fits the location and neighborhood. The company, says Lee, plans to grow in concentric circles from its home base of Oklahoma City. The chain is negotiating franchise deals in cities including Dallas and Houston. It's also in conversations with potential partners about openings further out, depending on the franchisee's qualifications and the chain's ability to support them. While the company would obviously welcome operators with previous restaurant experience, that's not a requirement, Lee says. Such franchisees would simply need to join with an experienced operating partner. In fact, Coolgreens would help the franchisee identify such a partner. What's non-negotiable, though, is a commitment to Coolgreens' mission of inspiring healthy communities, says Lee. Potential partners that want only to make money and not positively impact the communities they serve are not the right fit for the chain. "They need to have passion for the industry and passion for being part of the community and healthy lifestyles," Lee says. "If you don't have that passion, if you don't have that dedication, it's going to be a non-starter for us." FE&S ● Chain Headquarters: Oklahoma City ● Year Founded: 2009 ● Signature Menu Items: Southwest Spicy Flatbread, Turkey Pesto Sandwich, Ahi Tuna Steak Sandwich, Harvest Wrap, Plaza Skinny Salad ● Number of Units: 7 ● Unit Size: 1,800-2,400 square feet (80 percent front of the house, 20 percent back of the house) ● Seats per unit: 40-65 ● Location Type: Inline and end-cap layouts available, with A/B spec based on floorplan and A/B furnishings, fixtures and equipment ● Average Sales: $803,732 ● Check Average: $15.90 ● Equipment Package Cost: $65,000 - $95,000 FACTS OF NOTE

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