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Design Is Secret Weapon for Growth-Minded Franchises


Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop's founders have Southern roots, which Studio Four Design explored in conversations before designing their prototype.

For a story about how architecture can help franchise brands expand, we peeked at the drawing board of Greg Terry, design director at Studio Four Design in Knoxville, Tennessee. He offers these design tips, with more to come in next month’s issue.

A project always starts with “a deep dive with each of them to understand each of their brands beyond just a visual style,” explains Terry. “If you devolve into just what materials look good or are cost-effective you’re not capturing the authenticity of the company.”

Pay attention to “anything that relates to the customer experience and how they interact and communicate with the brand,” Terry said. For example, a very efficient back of house in some brands is more important than anything else, because it’s all about the drive-thru. In others, the goal is “to invite people to come in and stay as long as they want to.” Find the metrics of the business that are meaningful, and make design choices accordingly.

Creativity trumps money, because someone else can always out-spend you. A distinctive element that wows customers will also be remembered. Terry described an “enormous metal sculpture” attached to the face of the building for client Altar’d States, a women’s retailer with a faith-based mission. “It is stunning,” he said, and customers remember it.

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About This Blog

The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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