In Metrax, we are strong advocates of telling a “marketing” story exactly as it occurred without embellishments. In this particular case, the client wanted to form a new category in the retail F&B market around an innovative restaurant concept (Creative Grill) aiming to develop a chain consisting of both fully owned and franchising based outlets. Metrax was assigned the development of a “pilot shop” that would serve both as a “showroom” and a guideline for consequent establishments as the business expanded. Additionally, the client required consulting on the creation of a central production unit for distributing supplies and premade goods on the chain units. Another key objective was to define and document the process of deploying new outlets in the future through predetermined procedures that allow for accurate budgeting and flexibility of space expansion depending on area expectations and product mix.
The first part of the project was to determine minimum space requirements based on the operation, type of service and product mix of the restaurants. Additionally, we handled the Business Identity creation process and proposed materials, colors and styles that would better promote the brand and communicate the correct message to the visitors. A key part of our approach was to define, explain and document the desired customer experience the place would offer and how this could be adopted to future outlets through the use of constant and variable design elements, depending on budget and location dynamics. Our proposals and final concept design was only partially implemented because of budget limitations on behalf of the client that they preferred to proceed with a lower cost version for the pilot shop due to location related reasons.
The construction part required a complete retrofit of the space that the client made available to us for the creation of the pilot shop since we had to strip down the place “to the bone”. The location chosen was far from ideal but fully owned by the client who indicated its use for this reason. Our crews had to work through several night shifts since access for materials delivery during daytime was limited. Especially challenging was the installation of the HVAC, ventilation and a 35 meter dual chimney (0.5m diameter) along with the installation of a large ventilation motor (1.2 meter radius propeller) at the roof of a seven story building with no crane access. Some of the more interesting materials used were epoxy seamless flooring, iron, stainless steel, aluminum, granite and Corian. Aside construction, our team handled equipment fit-out, licensing and the initiation of a HASP certification program that Metrax organized and coordinated.
Concept design although cut-down by the client, was completed on time and the project moved to the second stage of its implementation which was the construction of the pilot shop. Admittedly, the “test-run” was only partially successful but overall a good lesson learned for all. The location chosen by the client was seriously problematic and against our recommendations but the incentive of zero rent costs given full ownership mistakenly led to its choice. Located at the center of Athens and combined with serious public agitations during the period of opening (2011-2012), resulted in extreme difficulties along with the fact that the client target group of the restaurant was clearly put-off by the location. It is a clear example why Metrax insists that clients should take advantage of our Location Consulting services in order to avoid such scenarios in the future and select locations based on measurements and accurate data.
On the other hand, the concept and menu offerings of the restaurant were highly successful managing to attract the interest of the targeted audience initially while receiving rave reviews both online and in the press. In the end though, the highly problematic location prevented clients from returning, based on their own testimonies, and in light of the Greek crisis the project was put on hold until further notice. In our view, the client should have followed our concept design to the letter and in a totally different location even though the cost would have been about 40% higher. However, the highly increased amount of traffic, better market exposure and direct access to the appropriate target audience would have resulted in a successful course mitigating extra costs and ensuring long term viability. Currently, there are plans to re-launch the project in the future following the initial concept design recommendations and choosing the correct location based on our advice. Our proposed design concept will be published in our “Concepts” section in the future and we will analyze key aspects of it bound to enhancing aesthetics and in return customer experience.