Whatever your taste, Leon Williams Contractors will design and build your eatery

    Franchises and chains go from flairy to airy

    One of our design-build niches in the Knoxville area is restaurants. We handle design services and construction from soup to nuts.

    Our list of restaurant projects ranges from the new Panda Express at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to the new Dairy Queen that opened earlier this year in Maryville. While we have completed fine-dining facilities for Green Meadow Country Club and the J. Milton and Five Oaks steakhouses, we are especially adept and experienced in the construction of franchise restaurants, including Starbucks, Moe’s, Which Wich and Chick-fil-A.

    Dairy Queen - Maryville Tennessee - Leon Williams Contractors

    Most franchise agreements include design stipulations, and we adhere to the requirements of the franchisor throughout our design-build process. We also stay abreast of design trends, so we can steer franchisees in the right direction as soon as the project commences. Some franchisors also require periodic upgrades and changes in décor to keep their restaurants unique, fresh and trendy.
    Many, though not current clients, are going for the sleek, minimalist, modern and airy look:

    • Applebee’s: The restaurants known for their somewhat kitschy wall décor are transitioning to a sleeker appearance. Two prototypes feature an open kitchen and place more emphasis on the bar and open areas for socializing. You may have noticed another change in recent years: table-top computers for gaming, ordering and settling the bill.

    • TGI Fridays: The casual chain is also doing away with its flair. A prototype in Corpus Christi, Texas features high ceilings, a more open dining room, blond wood and simple yet aesthetic table tops and chairs. That’s a far cry from the cluttered living-room feel of the original Friday’s, which opened in New York City in the 1960s as a singles bar.

    • McDonald’s: Even the mighty Golden Arches have gotten a makeover in recent years. Many of the changes you may have noticed are actually imports from foreign McDonald’s. Franchisees can now choose from a variety of styles such as “Allegro,” “Form,” and “Living Room.” It’s part of the burger giant’s own drive toward a minimalist aesthetic to escape its cookie-cutter past.

    So be warned and beware: Some of your favorite restaurants may lose their flair. But we’ll always help our restaurant clients achieve the design and look they want, be it kitschy, modernist or country. Contact us today to see how.

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    E-commerce Expansion Forces Commercial Construction to Innovate

    The recent outlook report from FMI predicts the commercial construction industry will slow to 6 percent in 2014 – scaled back from the 7 percent growth predicted earlier this year.

    What’s driving this? One factor is the sluggish retail production from the ever-expanding e-commerce market.

    Just look at the holiday gift-delivery debacle of 2013 where a combination of bad weather, last-minute shoppers and – most importantly – an overwhelming surge in online gift-buyers meant many customers didn’t receive their presents in time for the holidays.

    While ecommerce remains a small percentage of overall retail sales, there’s no denying where the new business trends are headed and the role technology is playing in those market shifts. As Americans spend more of their lives online, technology is redefining our perceptions of “traditional” retail.

    Choosing Innovation to Power Forward

    With predictions of a slower-than-hoped recovery – which is still projected ahead of the overall GDP growth – commercial construction companies can (and should!) choose to look toward the opportunities.

    Industries do not stay the same over generations. They are dynamic. Any market – retail included – is bound to get crowded. Those who innovate will propel their companies forward toward market improvements.

    What other factors impact the commercial construction outlook? Beyond retail, some additional drivers include:

    1. Unemployment rates
    2. Income
    3. Housing starts
    4. New building permits

    These drivers are influencing emerging trends nationally that we’re also seeing for commercial construction in East Tennessee:

    1. Working leaner by becoming more efficient and competitive in the sector
    2. Using innovative pre-fabrication and modular construction methods
    3. An increase in multiuse projects

    Perhaps this quote from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch says it best: “Control your own destiny or someone else will.”

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