The Ohio-based Bob Evans Restaurant chain is embarking on a market-wide project to update and modernize restaurants in the Dayton, Ohio, area. The initiative began in early 2010 with individual restaurant remodels in Blacklick, Delaware, and Pickerington and Westerville, Ohio.

Results from these initial tests revealed improvements in employee morale, guest experiences, and sales at these restaurants. “Get ready for a whole new Bob Evans experience,” says Randy Hicks, president and chief concept officer of Bob Evans Restaurants. “As part of our Farm-Fresh Refresh project, our 30 restaurants in the Dayton market have been selected to receive a completely new look and feel to enhance the guest experience.

“Upon completion, visitors at these updated restaurants will enjoy all of the Farm Fresh goodness of Bob Evans in a more contemporary environment,” Hicks says.

Bob Evans has undergone changes at a marketing level to appeal to a new, more contemporary—or “Family First”—audience looking for a welcoming, family-friendly environment to enjoy delicious food. The goal of this market remodel is to improve the environment of Bob Evans by updating the aesthetics in order to develop a new tradition with the younger audience. Dayton was chosen as the start of this potential company-wide refresh project based upon analysis of the local demographic—which boasts high representation of the Family First audience—as well as the current state of the existing Bob Evans restaurants.

“As Bob Evans locations emerged over the years, a variety of structures and designs were built,” Hicks says. “The Dayton market is made-up of several of these designs and layouts, giving us both an opportunity and a challenge to refresh them and give them a cohesive look and feel.”

Within the first 10 feet of entering a remodeled Bob Evans Restaurant, guests will notice a fresher, brighter color scheme; a new Taste of the Farm Bakery; a dedicated carry-out area; gift card displays; a totally redesigned retail area featuring gifts; and a mural depicting a background of the Bob Evans’ heritage. The dining room will have more modern furnishings and light fixtures, as well as more inviting tones and themes across the fabric, carpet, and walls.

Over the next several months, restaurants in the Dayton market will close for a short amount of time, then re-open with the new look. “We’re excited about this makeover and are looking forward to sharing our new look with guests—both new and steadfast,” Hicks says. “The Farm-Fresh Refresh initiative is an extension of the work we’ve done to update our menu and provide our guests with more fresh, seasonal, and nutritionally balanced meal options. Now our restaurants will also reflect the forward-thinking mentality of the chefs who bring our menu to life.” Completion of the large-scale Farm-Fresh Refresh project is set for April 2011.

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