Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUN 2019

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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70 FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES JUNE 2019 CHAIN PROFILE Serving the Underserved Offering a comfortable and inviting place for businessmen and beach bums alike is only one part of 110 Grill's suc- cess. Of the two major strategic factors, one was planned from the beginning, while the other was discovered early in the concept's development. According to Dion, the year break between new openings was a planned hiatus. The company, he said, took that time to focus on honing its opera- tions, menu, marketing, etc. When 110 Grill started opening new restaurants again, it soon found a new type of market where it could thrive. "We debuted our fourth 110 Grill in the small town of Hopkinton, Mass., which was not home to many restau- rants at the time, and we saw that as an opportunity to invigorate the local dining scene," Dion says. "110 Grill Hopkinton has been successful since its opening in 2016 and inspired us to seek out similar areas where we could bring something new and accommodating for all diners to the table." While the chain has restaurants in second-tier markets like Syracuse, N.Y., and Worcester, Mass., 110 Grill contin- ues to target smaller, underserved towns. These include places with a population of less than 30,000, such as Saugus, Mass. (population 28,251), Athol, Mass. (11,711) and Lebanon, N.H. (13,522). This focus on the underserved includes not just markets but also people. While simple trial and error led to 110 Grill's small-market strategy, from its founding the chain set out to serve those with food allergies and glu- ten sensitivities. In this realm, 110 Grill goes beyond a gluten-free pizza crust or even a dedicated section of its menu. According to Dion, the chain can pre- pare 100 percent of its food offerings gluten free, and it can accommodate various other food allergies, thanks to 110 Grill's operational practices. These offerings remain a key driver of the company's growth: Gluten-free and allergen-free offer- ings today make up 22 percent of 110 Grill's sales, and the chain has been recognized for its work in these areas. Kitchen on Display Of course, to offer a menu that is both "exible for allergy sufferers and high quality enough for a polished-casual operation, 110 Grill has put extensive work into its kitchen design and practices. As noted, 110 Grill features a fully open kitchen. This not only provides energy and theater to the restaurant, but it also reassures guests (including those with food allergies) that their orders are being prepared the right way, according to Elliott Williams, the chain's director of culinary. "In today's world, everyone wants to see what is going on behind the scenes and how their food is being prepared," he says. "We want to give our guests the opportunity to see that we don't have anything to hide. At any point in time, I'd be more than happy to walk our guests through the kitchen, even on the busiest Saturday night, to see how clean and organized we keep it." Other than condiments and breads, 110 Grill operates a scratch kitchen. Much of this scratch work takes place in the back of the house; staff execute the basic slicing and dicing of ingre- dients. This area includes worktables, sinks and various smallwares, includ- ing slicers and mixers. The hot side of prep work occurs in the open produc- tion kitchen in the mornings before the lunch shift begins. Depending on location, this kitchen runs between 25 and 37 feet long, with customers able to see almost all of that space. The hot equipment sits against the production area's back wall, while the cold side faces the dining area. All food "ows to the assembly station in the middle of the cold line. This kitchen begins on the far left with the pantry station, where staff- ers produce salads, desserts and a few appetizers such as the spinach dip bread bowl and the chef's plate, described as Left: To achieve its upscale-casual feel, 110 Grill invests heavily in custom millworked pieces, such as the horseshoe bar and bar shelving. Above: The restaurant's fully open kitchen not only adds energy to the space, but it also helps build confidence in the cleanliness of the operation and its allergy-safe menu oerings.

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