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Monday, Jan 30, 2023
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Pizza Chain Adds Item to Menu – Fresh Decor

California Pizza Kitchen is rolling out new décor and a fresh menu to rebrand 60 restaurants in the chain, and already customer counts are rising. The 4,900-square-foot location at the Burbank Town Center on San Fernando Road was the first location in the greater Valley to be redesigned – with the remaining locations projected to be completed this year. “We’re going to be 30 years old and we want to really show people what we’ve got again,” said Bill Snodgrass, regional partner at the Playa Vista-based chain. “We want to get out there and say, ‘Hey, we’re still here.’” The menu and décor makeover includes additional entrees and cocktails in hopes of appealing to nighttime foodies, while still keeping pace with other fast-casual restaurants with its lunchtime offerings. Gone are the black-leather booths, black-cushioned chairs and light brown carpet. In their stead are dark wood high chairs and tables, wood-paneled floors and light-green patterned booths. The renovation of California Pizza Kitchen at the Burbank Town Center cost about $100,000, according to Snodgrass, and took three weeks to complete. He estimates some of the larger stores could cost $250,000 to upgrade. Traffic at the Burbank location is up 6 to 10 percent, depending on time of day, since the renovation. The next block of California Pizza Kitchens in the Valley to be renovated are in Thousand Oaks, Northridge, Studio City and Tarzana, and will be completed by May. Steve Stallman, founder of Branding for Profits – a food and computer consultancy in Santa Clarita – said redeveloping to stay relevant can be challenging, especially for a chain that’s been around for some time. “(California Pizza Kitchen) did well in the past because they were doing things different and were leaders in the fast casual segment. But it’s sometimes hard to maintain and keep up,” Stallman said. “The reality is you do have to take your chances and refresh and update your offering. Otherwise, people will pass you by.” The new menu includes lunch options with smaller portions and cheaper prices in an attempt to better accommodate the customer stopping in for a quick bite before rushing back to work. Prices start at $10.95. Also, the new menu includes a seasonal section with more upscale prices, such as the Roasted Garlic Chicken for $19 and Sunny Side Up Bacon and Potato Pizza for $16. “We’ve been known for pasta, pizza and salad for so long (but) these new additions give a little bit more appeal,” Snodgrass said. California Pizza Kitchen is a 271-unit company, with 77 of those domestic and international franchises and the remainder corporately owned. Mixed Chicks for Men The Canoga Park company that caters to the demanding upkeep of multi-ethnic women’s curly hair has expanded its offerings to men. Mixed Chicks launched His Mix last month in Rite Aid Corp. stores, as well as a handful of independently owned beauty supply shops and salons. Brad Kaaya, co-founder and husband of Wendi Levy, another of the three co-founders, said that his constant use of Mixed Chicks inspired the new line. “Men with hard-to-manage hair often turn to women for advice,” said Kaaya. “(So) the notion of expanding to men seemed natural.” The hair care company, founded in 2003, got its big break in 2012 when it sealed a deal with Target, getting its entire line into 700 stores nationwide and on Target.com. Before then the company primarily sold its products to independent retailers and beauty shops. His Mix includes four products: a clarifying shampoo, daily conditioner, leave-in conditioner and firm hold gel. Prices range from $11 to $15. “We plan to roll out more men’s products, so keep an eye out,” Kaaya said. Barbecue, Please The nation’s largest barbecue chain has finally hit the west Valley. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, headquartered in Dallas, opened in Woodland Hills on Feb. 5. The fast-casual restaurant franchise is owned by Joey Menichini of Los Angeles and run by his family at 21857 Ventura Blvd. Coincidentally, the 1,700-square-foot location that Menichini now leases was once owned by Jerry’s Famous Deli in Woodland Hills. Jerry’s partitioned off its bar and sold its liquor license in the summer of 2014, downsizing the deli from 8,700 square feet to 7,000 square feet. Dickey’s 480 locations in 42 states are predominantly throughout California and Texas, and the restaurant is looking to open its first location in Palm Springs this February. Staff Reporter Champaign Williams can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or cwilliams@sfvbj.com.

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