Provost says the most pronounced difference will be for banquet guests, who want servers to make them feel special, but also wish for an environment in which they can look back on Instagram and be proud of the event. The president praises Harrison’s ability to take what’s now a “masculine, dark old Italian” atmosphere and make it more appropriate for today’s wedding planner.
In the dining room, the executive believes customers will be most impressed by the subtle modernization in the artwork and music. Armstrong describes it as little “moments of realization.”
“At first it might sound like it's just your standard big band. Just your big band music that you're used to hearing, but then there's that moment of realization of, ‘Oh my gosh, that's actually the Killer's song being done in a big band way,’” she says.
Maggiano’s will also use remodels as an opportunity to streamline its carryout program. To the point that guests spend about as much time picking up their food as they would a McDonald’s drive-thru. The brand is annualizing roughly $2 million in off-premises sales, which is essentially the equivalent of a Popeyes or Panda Express. Brinker International, Maggiano’s parent company, recently rolled out virtual concept Maggiano’s Classics, which is now in more than 250 restaurants. The company expects the off-premises only brand to be in 900 restaurants by the end of next June.
“To be able to do that with scratch-made food, but the convenience of McDonald's, that's our vision for the parking lot,” Provost says. “Like in Oakbrook, we’re enlarging and moving the carryout area to accommodate that. So there's three different benefits for three different guests who use us differently.”
The exterior of Maggiano’s restaurants will receive just as much attention. None of the chain’s 52 locations, which are largely based in malls, have the same prototypical design, so Harrison’s approach differed depending on location. In Oakbrook, the restaurant has a Georgian influence, while Tampa has more of a Spanish/Mediterranean feel.
Oakbrook will have a darker color palette because the architecture style historically can handle it. In Tampa, it’s a much lighter, Floridian look; no dark elements other than a few accents on the iron railing and light fixtures.
“Each of them have the same components but they have just done it in a different way and we dial up or dial down depending on what the architecture or the environment actually looks like,” says Sarah Jenkinson, Harrison’s director of design.