Café Yumm! in The Meridian Building at 18th and Willamette in Eugene, Oregon, closed for a complete kitchen overhaul on New Year’s Eve. The restaurant will reopen this week after almost everything behind the service counter was removed and rebuilt in order to accommodate a modern, reimagined kitchen.
Essex General Construction managed the project, which involved demolition and rebuilding from the sub flooring to the studs. The restaurant’s new kitchen will reopen with the latest in durable design and efficiency for plumbing, electrical, and venting systems. Curtis Restaurant Equipment installed modern, efficient commercial appliances while Café Yumm! used the down-time to install an additional register for placing orders. The front counter area has some visible updates while the dining area is mostly unchanged. Guests will see further updates to the dining and service area over the coming year.
The renovation was necessary so the restaurant could add catering and offer more efficient food preparation and guest service.
Rico Lea, the area’s restaurant operations manager, says, “This is the original Café Yumm!, which relocated to The Meridian Building in 1999. It has been a long-time gathering place for South Eugene, and we would have loved to stay open if we could. The long closure was necessary since we wanted to go all the way with a complete kitchen renovation. By doing it right, we can better serve our guests. It has been a joy to get closer to the reopening and we are eager to serve our guests and neighborhood once again. Our Team Members love working inside The Meridian Building and they are happy to be back at that shopping center.”
While the restaurant was closed, Café Yumm! took the unusual step of keeping everyone fully employed. Team Members worked in other Café Yumm! restaurants to learn about catering services and the new equipment that would be installed during the remodel. Employees were also paid to pursue training, such as ServSafe (the highest standard of food safety certification in the industry) as well as First Aid and CPR programs. All employees were kept on for the reopening. That is, except for a Team Member who was promoted to a full-time job in the company’s Supply Department.
President and co-founder Mark Beauchamp says, “There can be a lot of turn-over if a restaurant closes down for a couple weeks. This remodel took a month and we wanted to do the right thing by our Team Members. By keeping everyone employed we held on to our most important asset: our people. From our Restaurant Manager who has smoothly run that Café Yumm! for over a decade to even our newest Team Member, the quality and experience of our people means everything to us and our business.”
Café Yumm! in The Meridian Building at 18th and Willamette reopens for dinner on January 25 and for normal business hours on January 26.