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Saturday, Mar 2, 2024

Hold the Neon on That Double Double Says City

The neon red-and-yellow arrow signs that have helped make In-N-Out Burger a landmark will get a makeover when the burger chain opens at the new Shoppes at Westlake Village. The community’s City Council approved the outlet for the upscale shopping center, which is under construction, but only after the chain and developer Selleck Development Group agreed to some architectural modifications. Typical In-N-Outs have a white stucco exterior, a red awning and, of course, the neon signs. Instead, the Shoppes outlet will feature a soft tan-and-light-yellow exterior in brick, different roof tiles and bronze-colored exterior signs. Carl Van Fleet, vice president of planning and development for In-N-Out, said the Irvine-based chain was willing to modify its design as needed to get into the shopping center. “We have been looking for opportunities in that general area for years, and we’ve been working on that specific site for several months,” he said, noting this is not the first time the company has tweaked its restaurant design. Scott Wolfe, Westlake Village planning director, said the city has been in talks with Selleck for months over the burger outlet, which city officials feel will be help draw traffic to the shopping center, expected to open this summer. “People will come and seek out In-N-Out, and visit the center while they’re there,” he said. The 240,000-square-foot outdoor mall on Lindero Canyon Road is done in “European village” architecture with trellis-covered pedestrian walkways, a water feature and patio dining. It is anchored by a Target, also completed in a more subtle design. The In-N-Out is expected to open by March 2015. Studio Expansion Get ready for a whole lot more Pizza Studios, and not just in Los Angeles. The Calabasas fast-casual pizza chain is in development to open more than 136 franchise locations nationwide, after opening its very first outlet in Los Angeles exactly one year ago. Samit Varma, 36, who learned how to cook pizza from his mother growing up in New York, said he and partner Ron Biskin want to expand rapidly. “We started talking to national franchisees about three months after the first store opened. It was pretty clear operations was a pretty significant home run. Lots of national franchisees (started) coming to us,” he said. The duo currently operate corporate outlets in downtown Los Angeles and Brea, in addition to the first restaurant on Figueroa Boulevard near the USC campus. Franchisees that have partnered with Pizza Studio include Jeff Burrill, a large Panera Bread franchisee; Lloyd Sugarman, co-founder and the largest franchisee of Johnny Rockets; and Zane Tankel, a large franchisee for Applebee’s. Franchise costs for a store, which averages 1,800 square feet, range from $250,000 to $500,000, including construction costs, a $15,000 development fee and $25,000 franchise fee. Pizza Studio is taking 5.5 percent of gross sales in royalties, as well as up to 2 percent of gross sales for a national marketing fund. Pizza Studio’s concept features an assembly-line format similar to Chipotle Mexican Grill, where customers can pick and choose crusts and toppings assembled by store associates. Pizzas are then baked at a high-temperature oven in minutes. Pizza Studio is one player in the customizable pizza format. Competitors include Studio City-based PizzaRev, Blaze Pizza LLC of Pasadena, and 800 Degrees, a unit of Umami Restaurant Group of Los Angeles. Varma claims his model differentiates itself by the quality of its deli meats, freshly grated mozzarella and five choices of crust. The stores also display artwork for sale by local artists commission free. He said it will be a good model for franchisees to follow, giving the stores a “local flare.” Locations will open during the first quarter of the year in Burbank, Sherman Oaks, San Diego, Minneapolis and Phoenix. Clothes Rack Nordstrom Inc. will open one of its Rack stores at Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks. The 40,000-square-foot, two-story store is slated to open in the fall of 2015 not far from The Oaks mall. It would be the third Nordstrom Rack in the greater San Fernando Valley. Other locations of the store – where consumers can find designer apparel, home goods, shoes and accessories at discounted prices – include the Burbank Empire Center, the Glendale Fashion Center and Woodland Hills. Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack, said the new location makes the store accessible to Conejo Valley customers. “Our new Rack store at Janss Marketplace will be right down the street from our full-line store at The Oaks and can offer an additional way to shop,” he said in a statement. Janss Marketplace has a Marshalls, Old Navy, Burlington Coat Factory, Toys “R” Us, Regency Theatres and Gold’s Gym. It is owned by Seritage Realty Trust LLC, a division of Sears Holding Corp. Staff Reporter Jacquelinne Mejia can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or jmejia@sfvbj.com.

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