For many retailers, when transforming an old concept into something new and fresh, putting together all the pieces of the design puzzle can be a challenge. And the fastest growing piece of that puzzle is meeting customer expectations.
“Consumers, more than ever, expect retailers to create a store that fits their individual needs,” says Tré Musco, ceo and chief creative officer of San Francisco-based brand strategy and design firm Tesser. “And retailers are working hard to respond to these needs.”
Musco has seen this firsthand, most recently through Tesser’s collaboration with Denver-based Quiznos for the design of its new “Grill” concept. Moving into the fast-casual restaurant space, Quiznos’ goal was to create a food-forward experience in upscale digs that encourages people to grab a quick bite any time of the day. (Quiznos also launched a “Toasteria” concept intended to represent its core branding, while the “Grill” was specifically created as the new fast-casual eatery; both will serve as test labs for the brand.)
Time was the biggest challenge in developing this new concept: Fast-casual is a highly competitive industry, and with so many gourmet sandwich eateries entering the market, it was imperative for Quiznos to be up and running quickly.
Formulating this new approach meant doing away with common fast-casual formats. Instead of a traditional order counter, “Grill” customers are only a few feet from a working kitchen on display – the better to cater to consumers’ demands for transparency from restaurants.
And Denver, a foodie town bustling with people seeking a sophisticated dining experience, was the ideal spot for this first experimental location.
The store’s interior captures the city’s unique vibe, from foosball bistro tables where patrons can enjoy a sandwich and play a round, to the banquette seating that, when the tables are pushed together, creates one seamless walnut table. Even the bathrooms are Colorado-cool, with a clubby, modern look and housed technology that combines a faucet and air blade dryer in one.
“As you start to form your strategy,” Musco says, “you start to move the brand forward toward this new creation.”
Tesser, San Francisco: Tré Musco, president and chief creative officer; Brent White, design director environments; Scott Gagner, design director brand communications; B. Todi, account manager; Christopher Null, sr. environmental designer; Tomo Kawato, sr. graphic designer.
Fixtures, Graphics, Furniture
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The Patton Group, Sausalito, Calif.
Scott Friedman Gitane Workshop, Denver
Philips Color Kinetics, Burlington, Mass.
Missouri Company, St. Louis
Alex Proctor & Jeff Sterneberg Designtra, Sausalito, Calif.
RS Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Elsy Studios, Denver
Far North Construction, Centennial, Colo.
Photography: Armando Martinez, Denver