More Americans are eating out, but they aren’t dining in as often. Delivery and pick-up options have restaurants scrambling to accommodate Americans on the go. Sixty percent of Americans order delivery or takeout once a week, according to Upserve Restaurant Insider, a restaurant management software platform.
Minnetonka-based Famous Dave’s is no exception. The barbecue chain is revamping its Calhoun Square location in Uptown to make it a counter-service and delivery model.
“We’re going from a full-service model to a small model,” said Al Hank, senior director of company operations at Famous Dave’s. “We’ll go from seating about 250 to about 90 guests.”
It will be Famous Dave’s first conversion to the smaller model in the Twin Cities. Earlier this year the company closed a 6,000 square feet location in Tucson and opened a 2,000 square feet restaurant in a new location in the city. With a smaller kitchen, several items were dropped from the Tucson menu, but Hank said the Calhoun Square menu won’t be downsized.
The Uptown restaurant remains open during the conversion but only takeout, delivery and patio sit-down service is available. Patrons are being directed to the outside entrance next to the parking ramp since the mall entrance is closed. The dining room is expected to be reopen in two weeks with a project completion in eight to 12 weeks.
All of the Famous Dave’s restaurants in the Twin Cities are company-owned, allowing the chain to test more concepts than franchisees may be willing to try. In 2018, the company tested a new look and menu items from founder Dave Anderson in its Coon Rapids store. The test bumped sales up by more than 15%.
Famous Dave’s and other restaurants are expected to embrace the smaller, takeout/deliver footprint store when building new stores and continue to downsize underperforming dining rooms. Since 2014 digital ordering and delivery has tripled, according to Upside.
The company operates 28 corporate-owned stores and 105 franchise units. It recently acquired five franchises in Colorado and six more in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.