Take-and-bake pizza chain Papa Murphy’s is on the search for a way to create a stronger brand image, and it’s doing just that with its new CREATE store design.
The new restaurant model puts a spotlight on both personalization and transparency—literally—with an open kitchen layout that lets guests watch as Papa Murphy’s staff make pizza dough from scratch and add guests’ toppings of choice.
“We started the process wanting to make sure that our store design matched the quality and freshness of our product,” says Kevin King, Papa Murphy’s chief development officer. “We quickly discovered we had some opportunity through talking to guests and customers about what they thought of our existing store design.”
The brand’s old design was nearly nine years old, “so it was about time to go out and take a look and update that overall design,” King says, adding that its store model wasn’t as contemporary as the brand itself.
“Over the last several years, we’ve continued to score extremely well in every consumer survey and study, regardless of the different methodologies used,” King says. “Those surveys continually tell us that customers love our food and love our brand. We wanted to make sure that our store design matched up to those expectations that they had for our pizza.”
Because Papa Murphy’s has so much in-store action—hand-making its dough, chopping ingredients and shredding cheese on site, and creating pizzas in front of the guest—King says the brand wanted credit for that work, while also giving guests the assurance that their food is fresh.
“The consumer today is a little suspicious about supply chain and where stuff comes from,” King says. “If they can see the quality of the ingredients that go on their pizza, we think that that goes a long way. On top of that, ours is one of the only brands out there where the customer interacts with our product cooked and uncooked, so it just reinforces the fact that we’re different and that we make their pizza with the highest-quality ingredients and we’re so proud of them, we’re going to do it right in front of you and show you everything.”
King says the CREATE design will create an interior that aligns with customers’ expectation of the brand.
“That in itself will help drive traffic,” he says. “Secondly, more so than ever, if your brand isn’t current, the younger generation of consumers are going to tend to shop somewhere else, because they don’t have the same connection to your brand that customers who have bought from you for years [do]. We want to make sure that our brand stays current and relevant to a broad age range of people.”
King says the CREATE design will also help create add-on sales opportunities with desserts and side items, which are now more prominent in the unit.
The new store prototype will be tested at three units to make sure the design has positive customer acceptance and that no major changes need to be made, King says. By early next year, he adds, the brand plans to transition fully into the CREATE design for new units and begin remodeling existing units.
“There may be some tweaks and changes as we go along, as we see what works and what doesn’t,” King says. “But we’re really excited about it, and the early indications are that customers really love it.”
By Mary Avant