Leon Williams Contractors dishes on some current restaurant design trends

    Restaurant design changes as East Tennessee appetites persist

    Restaurant-design-trends-Leon-Williams-Contractors

    Americans love to eat. They especially love eating at restaurants. Americans now spend more money each year dining out than they do preparing their own meals at home.

    This provides a wealth of opportunities in the Knoxville area – for food suppliers, beverage companies and restaurateurs big and small. It creates opportunities for Leon Williams Contractors, too. Our restaurant design-build services have been used by franchises and for higher-end independent restaurants, too. But whether you are a franchise operator or building the private restaurant of your dreams, you need to stay on top of ever-changing American dining habits and demands. Now that 2018 is halfway done, here’s a quick look at four restaurant trends that will likely drive design-build approaches. Some may be fleeting, but some are likely here to stay.

    Pickup and delivery: It can be an annoyance when circling a packed parking lot to see spots reserved for “pick-up” customers. But those customers are becoming the lifeblood of an industry eager to keep pace with burgeoning meal-delivery services. Restaurant designs will increasingly add parking and integrate more pickup stations, to serve both third-party delivery companies as well as those who want to pop in and out with a full meal to take home.

    Noise reduction: Decibel readings at some restaurants actually enter the harmful range, and it’s a common complaint YOU HAVE TO YELL AT YOUR DINING COMPANIONS to engage in even sporadic conversation. Add a mediocre jazz trio, and you might as well resort to sign language or semaphore. The reasons vary, as do the solutions. In a move toward sleeker restaurants, designers have axed drapes, luxurious upholsteries and carpeting that used to absorb sound. Tile, steel and blonde wood, not so much. As the problem persists, expect restaurant design to include softer wall coverings, acoustical tile and carpets.

    Local, local, local: Be it in appearance or on the menu, diners want a reflection of their local culture and cuisine in their favorite eateries. We’re not talking about country kitsch-laden walls a la Cracker Barrel. We mean more along the lines of repurposed native wood, or displays by local artists or photographers. Budding restaurateurs may consider display cases of local products offered on the menu: Think Benton’s bacon, Blackberry Farm baguettes, or local honey. People want to feel a local connection to their food.

    Tabletop payment: More restaurants are going to try to more subtly incorporate those tabletop terminals into their décor. They are rather cumbersome to some diners, but many appreciate there is no need to give up their credit card to a stranger for five minutes. They can also be used to distract kids with games and leave reviews, and as a glance at any Yelp account will show, people love to leave reviews. Almost as much as they enjoy dining out.

    Ultimately, you decide how you want your restaurant to sound, feel and operate. We can guide, and be guided, every step of the way. Contact Leon Williams Contractors today for the best restaurant design-build options in East Tennessee.

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    UT and UTC contracts a tasty testament to Leon Williams’ understanding of the college dining scene

    The college lunch lady is long gone, but students are eating better than ever

    Long-gone are the days of the college-level lunch lady, passing out portions on a cafeteria plate.
    Forget the meat-and-threes and fish Fridays on college campuses. College students today want choices, choices and more choices. And they love their tried-and-true brands like Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels. We have built those and more – Subway, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin’ Donuts among them – on the University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus.

    Thompson-Boling--Arena-Dining-Leon-Williams-Contractors

    Our design-build firm has also built numerous restaurants on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus and are commencing a project that will bring a Dippers, Einstein Bros. Bagels and a Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) convenience store to a new dormitory complex.

    We know what Vols and Mocs want, and we know how to build their favorite franchises. We also keep on top of campus dining trends to make sure we are ready to roll with any new concepts or opportunities that might come our way.

    Here are five things to consider about college campus dining these days:

    1. Options. Prospective students will take available food and dining options into account when deciding on a college. Thus the drive to transform and improve campus food options across the country.

    2. Customization. Food allergies are on the rise and college kids want to customize their orders because of health or dietary concerns, explaining the lure of pizza places and sandwich shops with customizable options.

    3. Demand. Food services directors take feedback seriously, and their restaurant selections will reflect demand. That may explain the meteoric rise of franchises like Starbucks and fast-food restaurants.

    4. Grab and go. College life can be demanding and hectic, and students avoiding fast food still want to pop in and out of a place with a banana and juice or a coffee and muffin. Premade food options are in demand, and explain the prevalence of convenience-type stores like Provisions on Demand.

    5. Cost. Traditional meal plans at colleges cost thousands of dollars a year, offering limited hours and heavy and hearty choices. College students these days want to set their own budgets and want access to lighter fare. Why wade through a cafeteria line when all you want is a bagel or simple sandwich?

    Of course, trends come and go, but it’s likely the dining options we provide on campuses will be in demand for quite some time. We’ll be listening and keeping up with the food trends, and likely won’t rue the loss of the lunch line, and lunch lady, anytime soon.

    See a sampling of our college dining work here, and contact us for more information on our campus design-build solutions.

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    Leon Williams Contractors Tapped to Build Out New Dining Spaces for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
    LeonWilliamsContMaryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm hired to create three new dining spaces for the new West Campus Housing building at UTC

    MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Jan. 26, 2018 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, has been contracted out to help build three new dining options for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s new West Campus Housing, including an Einstein Bros.® Bagels, Dippers and a Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) quick-serve store.

    “The new West Campus building allows for a more traditional-style housing to foster a feeling of community,” said Dr. Dee Dee Anderson, interim vice chancellor for student development. “These new brand offerings will be a terrific addition for the students who live in the building, and for our campus as a whole.”

    The dining spaces Leon Williams will build out take up roughly 6,500 square feet of the 231,000 square foot building and offers some unique challenges.

    “This project is somewhat unique in that we are completing a project inside a project,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “We are working alongside the contractor building the main building to complete the interior dining area which means there is additional coordination to connect our systems to theirs and keep the systems from conflicting with each other. Another challenge is that all of the plumbing underneath the dining space will run through a parking garage, which requires additional work to ensure that all piping is insulated and heated in order for them to flow properly.”

    This marks the 13th project Leon Williams has done with UTC, and construction is set to begin in early February. The dining spaces and the new West Campus Housing building will be open to students for the 2018 fall semester.

    About Leon Williams Contractors
    An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area.

    For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

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    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Heather Ripley
    Ripley PR
    865-977-1973
    hripley@ripleypr.com

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    Leon Williams Contractors Helps Renovate Thompson-Boling Arena Dining

    Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm helped remodel Arena Dining area

    MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Nov. 7, 2017 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, recently completed remodeling of the Thompson-Boling Arena Dining.

    The remodel includes a new Which Wich, Bento Sushi, Grab n Go salads and sandwiches and the Southern Kitchen hotline, and marks the 22nd project that Leon Williams has done for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

    “We value any chance we get to work with campus dining at UT Knoxville,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “In addition to helping bring new food options to students, faculty and those who attend events at Thompson-Boling, we were also able to create a larger, more accessible dining and service area to better serve anyone who stops by.”

    For more information about these new dining options, visit https://dining.utk.edu/stores/arena/.

    About Leon Williams Contractors
    An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area.

    For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

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    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Heather Ripley
    Ripley PR
    865-977-1973
    hripley@ripleypr.com

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    Leon Williams Contractors and Studio Four Design Help Bring Which Wich® to Alcoa

    Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm and Knoxville-based architecture firm work together to help bring Which Wich Superior Sandwiches to Alcoa

    Which Wich Alcoa Tennessee - Leon Williams Contractors - Studio Four DesignMARYVILLE, Tenn. – April 19, 2017 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, and Studio Four Design, a Knoxville-based architecture firm, teamed up with Which Wich® franchise owner Jeff Hensley, to bring their Superior Sandwiches to Alcoa.

    The new location, which opened its doors Monday, was designed by Studio Four Design with Leon Williams Contractors bringing the design to life.

    “Studio Four Design and Leon Williams Contractors were instrumental in helping us bring Which Wich Superior Sandwiches to the Alcoa area,” said Hensley. “We had several Blount County residents visiting our Cedar Bluff store and asking when we would open up one closer to where they live. We’re happy to finally be able to offer our large variety of sandwiches and awesome milkshakes closer to residents in Maryville, Alcoa and the surrounding areas.”

    Hensley and his wife Amy opened their first Knoxville area Which Wich franchise in 2014, and the Alcoa location marks the third store for the couple in the area.

    “We’re proud to work on a project so close to home,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “Jeff and his team have been great to work with, and I’m glad we got to help them bring Which Wich to the Alcoa area.”

    Construction of Hensley’s fourth Which Wich location in Fountain City is underway and is expected to open by the end of June.

    “We’ve been fortunate enough to work on all of Jeff’s new locations here in the greater Knoxville area,” said Stacy Cox, president of Studio Four Design. “I’m proud of our design team and the work we’ve done, and look forward to seeing Jeff and his family continue to grow their business.”

    About Which Wich

    Which Wich® Superior Sandwiches was founded in Dallas in late 2003 by restaurant entrepreneur, Jeff Sinelli. The national sandwich franchise chain is best known for its customizable sandwiches, creative ordering system, and personalized sandwich bag. In 2014, QSR named Which Wich one of their “2014 Best Franchise Deals” and Forbes listed Which Wich as one of their 2014 “30 Best Franchises To Buy.” Which Wich is also the recipient of the 2015 Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters “Healthful Innovations” award. Which Wich currently has 500 locations open or in development in 39 states and 12 countries. For more information, visit www.whichwich.com.

    About Leon Williams Contractors

    An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area. For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

    About Studio Four Design Inc.

    Since 2002, Studio Four Design has served as a premiere architectural and interior design firm to the Greater Knoxville Area. Their guiding principal is Design Matters, and their goal is to go beyond expectations to provide design solutions that positively impact their client’s lives and organizations. Their team has worked on a variety of projects over the last decade that includes: churches, educational facilities, restaurants, retail buildings, athletic venues and much more. Studio Four Design takes pride in and is dedicated to all of the projects they serve. To find out more, call 865-523-5001 or visit http://studiofourdesign.com.

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    Leon Williams Contractors teams up with Fourteen Foods to bring Dairy Queen® back to Maryville

    Dairy Queen - Maryville Tennessee - Leon Williams Contractors

    Local commercial design-build firm, hired by the largest Dairy Queen franchisee, finishes construction on new Maryville DQ Grill & Chill®

    MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Jan. 5, 2017 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, has finished construction on the new DQ Grill & Chill, owned and operated by Dairy Queen’s largest franchisee, Fourteen Foods, which is set to open next week on Wednesday, January 11.

    Bringing Dairy Queen back to the area, Fourteen Foods has put a heavy-emphasis on a fast-casual restaurant model, the DQ Grill & Chill, to create the perfect destination for any special occasion or family outing.

    “Maryville is a strong community and we’re proud to be able to bring DQ back,” said Will Connell, community marketing manager for Fourteen Foods. “Everyone who remembers going to Dairy Queen has their own DQ story, and now families in the area will be able to make new memories while enjoying DQ classics like Dip Cones, Dilly Bars and Blizzards®, along with several unique menu items you can’t get anywhere else.”

    Construction began on the new store, located at 1724 W. Broadway in Maryville, back in September, with Leon Williams Contractors working from the ground up on the new 3,200 square foot building.

    “When we’re trying to build multiple stores, it’s great to have a general contractor who takes responsibility and just gets the job done,” said Steve Giorgi, construction manager for Fourteen Foods. “Working with Leon Williams Contractors on this project has been seamless, and we’re glad to have such a reliable, local contractor working on the project.”

    “This was a great project for us,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “I grew up going to Dairy Queen, so this was a nice trip down memory lane. The store itself is larger than the older-style locations, and features a new design. I’m happy we got the opportunity to work with Fourteen Foods on this store, and can’t wait to see it open.”

    The new DQ Grill & Chill is located at 1724 West Broadway in Maryville, Tennessee, and will open bright and early at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, January 11. The first 100 customers who arrive will get free Blizzards for a year.

    About Fourteen Foods

    Fourteen Foods is a multi-unit owner and operator of 188 DQ Grill & Chill® restaurants and Dairy Queen Braziers in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Since 2002, Fourteen Foods’ recipe for success has been simple, a combination of restaurant excellent teams, raving fans, and a commitment to their communities. They believe deeply in the importance of their mission to “build people and profits, one smile and a story at a time.” For more information about Fourteen Foods, visit http://fourteenfoods.com/ or call 952-944-1304.

    About IDQ

    International Dairy Queen Inc., (IDQ), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the parent company of American Dairy Queen Corporation. Through its subsidiaries, IDQ develops, licenses and services a system of more than 6,700 locations in the United States, Canada and more than 25 other countries. IDQ is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire) which is led by Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire. For more information about the Dairy Queen system, visit http://dairyqueen.com.

    About Leon Williams Contractors

    An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. With more than 40 years as a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area. For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

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    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Heather Ripley
    Ripley PR
    865-977-1973
    hripley@ripleypr.com

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