Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom Plans To Refresh 37 Restaurants

by Katie Lee

Broomfield, Colo. — Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom’s franchise partners are reinvesting an average of $150,000 into refreshing 37 existing franchised restaurants. This effort will include renovations to the interior and exterior of existing franchised restaurants, as well as upgrades to the dining room and beer equipment.

“Old Chicago had a tremendous year last year as we experienced unprecedented growth, opened new restaurants across the country and introduced the concept to a half dozen new markets,” says Mike Mrlik, president of Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom. “We look forward to treating guests of Old Chicago to a new and improved experience as we continue to complete renovations system-wide.” 

With the refresh, Old Chicago restaurants will feature upgrades to its beer equipment and systems, including the tap tower, glass mug coolers, stainless glass storage cabinet and stein racks, as well as spritzers and chillers that ensure every craft beer is served perfectly. The restaurants will also now display its beer menu on a mounted 60-inch LCD screen showcasing Old Chicago’s expansive selection of 36 to 50 craft beers on tap depending on location, with a rotating selection dedicated to local breweries within each market. Each location has a unique lineup, contributing to Old Chicago’s position as a leader in craft beer sales. As part of the refresh, the service team will also undergo extensive beer training.

Additional interior renovations include front-of-the-house upgrades to its wall signage and décor, a fresh paint pallet, new tabletops and bases, backless barstools and a community table that seats up to 20. Old Chicago’s exteriors will display an updated logo sign as well as a new exterior monument to enhance the overall appearance of the restaurants. To complement the new design elements, the company is now working with Open Table and using its software for all reservation systems.

John Johnson has been an Old Chicago franchisee for more than a decade, and has already completed the refresh at two of his restaurants in Montana. His location in Billings, one of the first to complete in March 2015, continues to run over double-digit positive comp sales more than a year later. Johnson’s restaurant in Bozeman is experiencing the same surge, and is expected to continue on that path even after it hits the 1-year refresh mark this July. He will begin the refresh process at his Casper, Wyoming location later this year.

“This effort has had a direct impact on sales in my Montana restaurants,” says Johnson. “The new furniture fixtures, softer paint pallet, bar updates and addition of a covered patio have given Old Chicago a modern look and clean design, and completely elevated the overall experience for my customers.”

Old Chicago also launched its new restaurant prototype — a 5,000-square-foot build with an additional 1,000 to 1,200 square feet of outdoor patio space, a new kitchen and upgraded bar technology.

Founded in 1976, Old Chicago operates in 24 states with more than 100 restaurants nationwide. For more information, visit www.oldchicago.com.

Based in Broomfield, Colo., CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc. is the largest craft brewery restaurant operator in the country with nearly 200 franchised and company-owned restaurants primarily operating under the Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, Rock Bottom Restaurants & Breweries and ChopHouse & Brewery brands. For more information, visit www.craftworksrestaurants.com.

SOURCE: Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries, Inc.

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