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Togo’s: New design cuts building costs, improves service

Togo’s: New design cuts building costs, improves service

SAN MATEO Calif. The design of a new Togo’s restaurant here cuts building costs by more than 30 percent, compared with the prior prototype, while incorporating a more efficient and guest-friendly service counter and a warmer decor, said an official of the 258-unit sandwich chain.

San Jose, Calif.-based Togo’s Eateries Inc., owner of the entirely franchised chain, said the system’s first next-generation restaurant opened in late June in Anaheim Hills in Southern California. On Thursday the chain conducted a ribbon cutting for its second, this one in San Mateo, a city south of San Francisco.

John Ramsay, Togo’s vice president of development, said the new prototype costs less to develop because, among other things, it substitutes renewable resource bamboo for stainless steel on counter fronts and replaces granite countertops with laminate or solid-surface Corian-type material. The old design called for a drywall ceiling throughout the restaurant, while the new approach saves a considerable amount of money by using drywall for just 20 percent of the overhead surface and lower-cost acoustic tiles for the rest, he explained.

Ramsay said the new design places all food ingredients in a single station facing guests at the counter. The old setup required employees to walk away from customers to prepare salads and soups at other stations.

The new counter-and-make-station design is “not only more efficient, it also [improves] the customer service and guest relationship pieces,” Ramsay said.

Togo’s prototype restaurant is 1,400 square feet and seats 40 indoors. Based on best estimates and the chain’s limited experience with construction, to date, Ramsay said development costs for new-design restaurants are expected to range from $215,000 to $290,000.

Togo’s Eateries Inc. is owned by Togo’s Holdings LLC, which, in turn, is controlled by private-equity firm Mainsail Partners of San Francisco.

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