- Jeff Van Dyke, Managing Partner
It is great to work with a firm that combines creative, beautiful designs with functionality – and keeps it in your budget!
Brixx Wood Fired Pizza
In 1998, this casually sophisticated restaurant secured prime real estate for their first location in the historic Dilworth neighborhood, essentially Charlotte’s “restaurant row” of its time. The owners built a wood-burning oven addition onto the space so customers could relax at the bar while watching their pizzas being made by hand. It was just one small restaurant, but it established itself as the "cool place" to be. A dozen years and a handful of stores later, Brixx knew they had a great idea, but also needed a change.
While the restaurant still made delicious pizza, served a variety of craft beers on tap and entertained a steady crowd, their brand had begun to grow outdated. The owners collaborated with us to undergo a relevant brand discovery process to update their concept, create a design standard, reposition the concept in its current markets, and most importantly, prepare it for future growth in new markets. We focused on the original roots of the brand to help establish key elements that could be used across all stores.
Implementing new concepts in existing spaces infused the restaurants with a palpable energy – leading to increases in same store sales, franchisee growth, and geographic expansion. The meticulous research behind the new brand allowed it to be refreshingly relevant to its target customers, thus increasing overall sales. Quite impressively, the same store comp sales were raised by double digits in month-to-month comparisons. Even better – these increases were sustained over the years following the renovations.
Franchisee growth increased due to an obvious change: the owners now had a brand to sell. Aside from their mouth-watering pizza recipe, Brixx had fully documented brand standards, including explicitly detailed design elements, systems for operation and overall brand proof. Finally, the well-defined design led them to expand into new and competitive markets. They were no longer simply a Charlotte-based concept. The restaurant now had the relevancy to become a hyper-regional, and subsequently national, concept. Now, with 21 locations across numerous states, the friendly neighborhood joint has become an icon for fresh, high-quality pizza in a casual environment.
"I really enjoy working with the starrdesign process. They have a unique combination of right-brain creativity and left-brain strategy. One thing that helped our expanding chain was their knowledge of possible challenges we might run into in different locations across the country. They always begin with a well-planned budget, and they know what needs to be delivered, how to handle negotiations with the landlord, etc. But most importantly, I always see a lot of support within starrdesign. It really is a team effort in their office. When I pick up the phone to call someone – I get an answer every time. That’s not always the case with other businesses, but I place a lot of value on always being able to talk to someone on the team when I need them."
- Eric Horsley, Managing Partner