News Feature | August 14, 2017

Restaurant And Hospitality News – August 14, 2017

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Chuck E Cheese

In news this week, it’s all about pizza, pizza, pizza! Chuck E. Cheese has announced the rollout of a new restaurant design in order to entice adults; and Little Caesars is introducing a new Pizza Portal to speed the process for pickup of mobile orders.

Chuck E. Cheese Rolls Out New Fresh And Clean Designs In Seven Locations

CEC Entertainment, parent company of pizza chain Chuck E. Cheese, has announced that it is partnering with Tesser to roll out a store redesign in seven locations in San Antonio and Kansas City. Michael Hartman, CMO of Chuck E. Cheese’s explained, “We’re excited to partner with Tesser to remodel several of our iconic stores. We’re continually evolving our offerings to remain relevant and fun for the next generation of parents and families – most recently with a full menu refresh and rollout of an eco-friendly cleaning system – so this remodel was a natural step.”

As competition gets stiffer for the consumer dollar, many chains are adapting to try to attract new patrons and retain their loyal base.

CEO Tom Leverton told CNBC, “In the last few years, we’ve invested a lot in our food, in our cleanliness, we’ve updated games, you name it we’ve touched it and changed it.” Now, the renovation will add brighter lighting, sleeker furniture, and muted colors in an effort to be more conducive to adult patrons. The makeover will also extend to the building exteriors, eliminating the iconic logo of mascot Chuck E. in favor of softer colors, more refined signage, and a new logo. The new entrance will be green, in place of the purple-and-red awnings and checkerboard paneling, and the side of the building will feature wooden paneling with round cutouts that are designed to mimic pepperoni or cheese holes, according to the company.

Leverton explained, “We wanted to use warm woods, neutral tones and really for moms and dads create an environment that competes with other restaurant choices that they have during the week.” Since approximately 15 percent of the chain’s revenue comes from birthday celebrations, Leverton said the redesign includes creating a space to entice parents when they decide to dine out.

The makeover also includes a new open kitchen design that allows customers to see their food being prepared and highlight the fact that their food is made in-house. “An open kitchen conveys good food credibility,” Leverton asserted.

The new design is intended to evoke happy, fun energy that both adults and children will enjoy,” says Scott Gagner, design director at Tesser. “Many parents have great memories coming to Chuck E. Cheese’s as kids. We want to remind them of those great times, and created a space that encourages them to bring their children in to make memories of their own.”

Construction was completed at three locations in San Antonio, Texas on July 31, and construction on the remaining San Antonio and Kansas City, Missouri locations will be completed by early September.

Little Caesars Introduces New Reserve-N-Ready Service

Pizza chain Little Caesars has announced that their Hot-N-Ready service is about to get a whole lot faster. The company recently unveiled their new “Pizza Portal” in Arizona, a service that allows customers to order and pay for a pizza via an app and retrieve their orders with a 3-digit code from a self-serve hot box. They can skip the line and skip the cashier.  According to a company statement, the Pizza Portal is “the FIRST, heated, self-service mobile order pick-up station in the quick service restaurant industry.”

Currently, the RESERVE-N0-READY system is being tested in select stores, with plans to add 100 portals in other markets later this year, according to ABC12 News. The system allows patrons to customize pizza orders or choose from expanded menu options using the mobile app. The portal co-developed with Apex Supply Chain Technologies.

"The genuine purpose behind integrating advanced technology into our stores is all about improving the customer experience, and building on our convenience and quality," said David Scrivano, President and CEO of Little Caesars. "We've spent a lot of time thinking about how to mesh mobile with our HOT-N-READY model to improve on The World's Easiest Way to Pizza®.  We changed the pizza game when we introduced HOT-N-READY. We think RESERVE-N-READY featuring our breakthrough Pizza Portal has the potential to do it again."

In the most recent Nation’s Restaurant News Top 100 census, Little Caesars ranked No. 19 among chains, with an estimated $3.6 billion in U.S. system wide sales at about 4,294 domestic units.