Evan Musikantow is betting that people will be more likely to go for a haircut when they can also grab a hot panini and a beer at the salon.
Musikantow, a longtime franchise developer of Applebee’s restaurants, launched last month minibar.ber.shop, a new hybrid concept in Scottsdale, Ariz., where customers can do just that.
The bar and restaurant/barbershop is designed to eventually become a franchise model, said Musikantow, chief operating officer of the Scottsdale-based mini group of companies, which will operate the brand.
“There’s a real niche,” he said. “No one has successfully franchised a good barbershop or done it with something exciting.”
Using the tagline “Get Buzzed, $20 haircuts, $2 beers,” minibar.ber.shop was designed to appeal to men, but it appears to have struck a chord with women as well, Musikantow said.
He described the concept as “the Mondrian or Delano hotel meets the barbershop.”
The 3,300-square-foot location is sleek and modern with a clean black-and-white décor.
The bar/restaurant is separated from the barbershop by a glass wall that looks into a retail area, where the shop sells men’s grooming products.
The 40-seat restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, has no kitchen. All food is prepared off site by a local French restaurant and delivered fresh daily.
Guests can order a selection of sandwiches that are grilled to order or served cold. Other options include bar snacks — hummus, spinach dip, bruschetta — various salads, a fruit and cheese plate, and desserts and pastries.
The bar offers a wide selection of wine, beer, sake and champagne. Coffee and sodas are also available.
The average check with beverages is about $10.
Tucked in the back is a VIP room where guests can bring a group “Entourage style” for a pre-wedding stag party or a Sunday watching football, drinking beer and getting haircuts.
The venue was created with a top-notch sound system for deejayed events or parties.
On the barbershop side, the menu of services plays off the bar aspect. “A shot,” for example, includes a haircut, hot-towel neck shave and eyebrow trim. “A double” is a cut with shampoo, hot-towel neck shave and eyebrow trim.
Musikantow said the margin potential is about 50 percent on both sides of the business, “so long as you don’t overstaff.” The restaurant side can be run with as few as four to six employees, he said.
The mini group has signed deals to open four more minibar.ber.shop units before the end of the fourth quarter this year, with two more scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2012.
The simplified model makes it ideal for franchising, he added.
Musikantow developed the concept because he was looking for something new to get excited about as Applebee’s development slowed.
“People walk in and they’re blown away,” he said. “Why does it have to be a chore to get your hair cut?”