Wienerschnitzel redesign

by Erica Shaffer
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Wienerschnitzel's more compact Heritage design will enable the chain to expand faster in new and existing markets while reducing construction and operational costs.
Wienerschnitzel's more compact Heritage design will enable the chain to expand faster in new and existing markets while reducing construction and operational costs.

IRVINE, Calif. – Wienerschnitzel , the world’s largest chain of hot dog restaurants, has decided to downsize its stores in an effort to lower investment and operational costs.

The company’s smaller-footprint, “Heritage” restaurant design ranges from 730 sq. ft. up to 1,400 sq. ft. The layout features a walk-up service window and drive-thru, which can be built in as little as 15,000 sq. ft. Wienerschnitzel recently implemented the design in El Paso, Texas.

“As times change, we understand that the demand for good real estate does not,” said Ted Milburn, director of US franchise development. “We’ve designed the Heritage to allow for increased flexibility without hindering key business functions or customer service, while removing some of the investment barriers that exist in today’s competitive real estate landscape.”

The smaller footprint allows Wienerschnitzel to capitalize on irregular-shaped and small parcels of land where its competitors may not build stores, while a more-efficient design enables franchisees to expand Wienerschnitzel’s presences at a faster rate in both new and existing markets.

Wienerschnitzel restaurants of the past used to span 2,500 sq. ft.
Wienerschnitzel restaurants of the past used to span 2,500 sq. ft.

The Heritage design is a nod to Wienerschnitzel’s 1960s A-frame structures, which feature a signature red roof and the drive-thru lane in the center of the building. The new restaurants sport “retro” design accents with a modern twist, the company said. The El Paso restaurant is 744 sq. ft. on a 20,000-sq.-ft. lot and includes outdoor seating. Wienerschnitzel restaurants were typically, 1,500 sq. ft., but the company expanded restaurant footprints to 2,500 sq. ft. in the 1980s. The cost to build a Heritage restaurant runs from $482,000 to $1.3 million, although the company said it is working to whittle down construction costs to between $600,000 and $800,000 from ground-up construction through grand opening on a 20-year lease.

Wienerschnitzel also is exploring in-line, end-cap and urban street properties with footprints ranging from 400 sq. ft. to 1,200 sq. ft., with build-out costs up to 50 percent less than current costs.

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