Future Taffer’s Tavern locations will resemble the Alpharetta unit in most ways. The interior will remain generally the same, save a few alterations to lighting fixtures. The most noticeable changes will come in the form of technology—like a new POS system—and a few extra pieces of kitchen equipment to expedite service, mostly for off-premises orders.
“We’re eager to roll that [POS system] out amongst the stores,” he says.
Along with the 9,000-square-foot restaurant planned for Washington, D.C., Taffer says he is interested in nontraditional builds as well, given the success of the concessionaire at FedEx Field.
Taffer is quite familiar with stadium-based dining concepts. Years ago, he had a contract with the Target Center in Minneapolis where he controlled 68 suites and ran the entire concessions operation. The prosperity he experienced in Minneapolis made him comfortable opening his namesakes concept in FedEx Field.
The concessionaire is a pared down version of standalone Taffer’s Tavern units, with menu items that work better in a stadium setting, like the Roast Beef Sandwich, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, and Pot Roast Fries.
“It’s very limited and very efficient,” he says. “The beauty is, there are video displays [in the FedEx Field location] and they can cross-promote to the restaurant. We see an opportunity to bounce back between the two and create a real synergy.”
Nontraditional expansion won’t be limited to stadiums. Although Taffer wasn’t able to provide specific details due to an NDA, he says airport locations are definitely on the table.
The restaurant fits seamlessly into this environment because of its four-to-six-minute ticket times and swift table turns, Taffer notes, giving customers plenty of time to dine as they wait for their flight. The planned locations will feature décor similar to traditional stores, and will also feature a breakfast menu, something other locations will not have.
“Our adaptability in these types of limited locations is really great,” he says.
Another aspect of Taffer’s Tavern that makes it adaptable is its training time, which takes seven hours instead of the previous seven-day process.
“Turnover is not as painful because we can get them trained literally in a day,” he says. “That lifts the burden off management so they can be back out in the front of house."
In terms of choosing the best franchisee, every deal comprises at least five units. For Taffer, this shows a level of “financial wherewithal” needed for a successful partnership.
Next, potential operators must have a favorable track record—regardless of whether it’s in the quick-service or full-service segment—and understand franchising rules, standards, and operating procedures.
“I have a brand that has taken me a lot of years to build its value, and it’s a pretty valuable brand … so those are the kind of operators we like to have around us,” he says. … We want to make sure everything runs well and to navigate the company through some of these difficult times over the next year or two.”