- Rachel Phillips-Luther, VP of Marketing
"starrdesign has played an integral role in developing and evolving the Zoës Kitchen brand. Their desire to understand both brand and audience is a critical differentiator… and the designs they produce are relevant, fresh and functional. Steve’s vision and passion are evident in each project and we at Zoës view the entire team as an extension of our team and family. It’s difficult to find a partner that can deliver designs that are both imaginative and practical- and starrdesign does just that."
Zoës Kitchen has been rapidly expanding across the country over the past few years. Working together, we developed a successful set of steps that aided in the transition and helped establish long-lasting systems. While creating a new prototype for the restaurant, we streamlined the development process by standardizing
construction documents and implementing a value engineering initiative. As the corporate architect, we have a hand in the design development work for every store, including the franchised locations, ensuring consistency across the country.
Developing the prototype began with a conversation. We sat down with Zoës and asked, “What do you want this to be?” From there, we worked together to create a comprehensive design and refine the details. An initial location for the prototype, the first ground-up for Zoës, was created in Atlanta, Georgia and the results exceeded expectations. Direct intentionality was used in every step of the design, and the outcome clearly displayed this deliberate planning.
We streamlined the development process by creating a systematic documentation system. Specific prelim details were needed for each location. We worked with Zoës to help them help us – by recording and providing all this info. We established a comprehensive set of checklists geared toward gaining the most information in a highly efficient manner after site investigations.
When updating finishes and materials, we saved Zoës significant amounts of money by utilizing a value engineering initiative. Taking into consideration the current features, we developed innovative concepts to make a more economical production process. Simplifying details and standardizing materials helped improve the construction documents, as well as saved Zoës money in every new store.
This progression in design was not a single, dramatic revolution, but rather a collection of intentional adaptations over time. After creating the ground-up store, we approached the contractor to evaluate the materials used in this new prototype. From here, we were able to modify and improve key features.
The fundamental key is to ensure the process remains evolutionary and open to modifications over time. As Zoës grows, new hierarchies are established and all the parties involved need to adapt to subsequent changes. Maintaining a constant flow of communication allows honest discussion about what is working, as well as areas with room for improvement. This ever-changing process creates an evolution of the brand, helping it grow and expand efficiently over time.
"I honestly do not know where to begin about expressing my feeling towards Steve Starr, his team, and starrdesign. I was introduced to Steve 5 years ago when our company was very young and we were trying to create our vision with regard to brand and growth. At that time, I had hit many dead ends with other Architectural/Design firms, but I saw that starrdesign was a potential TEAM member that could assist us in making our vision become a reality. starrdesign quickly went from having “potential” to becoming a key variable in how our company is viewed within the fast casual industry. Not only are his design ideas innovative, but his REVIT production capabilities are industry leading. I often receive comments from Landlords and General Contractors saying our CD sets are some of the best they have ever seen (we all know that quality CD’s result in more efficient builds). Furthermore, Steve is always pushing me with design evolution in order to make sure we are advancing our brand within our competitive market.
I can honestly say that our company would not be where it is today without partners like starrdesign. Being the VP of Design and Construction, I know I could not meet my departmental goals without this firm. They have the bandwidth capabilities to meet our aggressive growth strategy and they always have a “can do” attitude. One thing I love is that they work with a sense of urgency and they never back down from a challenge. Their adaptability to our ever-changing company is assuring and I look forward to what we can do with this brand in the future. Not only are Steve and starrdesign a great partner in the development of our company, he is also a great friend and mentor. For that, I thank him the most!"
- Archie Andrews, VP of Design and Construction