DALLAS -- The next unit of grocery-restaurant hybrid Eatzi's will be bigger, in order to handle the prolific business that has made the store an industry phenomenon.
To accommodate consistently high volume, the format requires a larger "back of the house" food processing area than was incorporated into the first Eatzi's Market and Bakery here, according to Anthony Tedesco, a specialist in new concept development for Brinker International, also based here. Brinker created Eatzi's in partnership with Phil Romano, a food-service entrepreneur. The first Eatzi's is 8,000 square feet -- divided down the middle -- with one side a restaurant and the other side a grocery store, Tedesco said. A location for the second unit has not yet been chosen. He offered some insights into Eatzi's operation recently during a workshop at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. Its target markets are defined as 30% ready to eat, 38% ready to heat later, 12% ready to prepare (marinated, raw) and 20% convenience buys, such as produce, cheese, beverages and alcohol, he said, explaining that these percentages refer to an analysis of what the consumer is likely to want to bring back home for the family.
"We are in the meals business. We look at demographics and consumer predilection," he said.
The store's offerings and layout are segmented in "venues" patterned after capturing these markets.
"We try to attract each market segment throughout the day and week. We compete in each venue against its market counterpart. When we sell cheese, we price it against grocery store cheese. When we sell salad or produce, we price against our market alternative, an operator like Kroger. Hot foods are priced against Boston Market. We compete with the corner bakery. Each venue is defined and developed to compete," he said.
Eatzi's will sell by the piece or pound depending on what consumers are predisposed to expect in the retail marketplace, he said.
Consumption patterns are studied throughout the week seeking answers to questions, such as: What does the consumer eat on Thursday, vs. Saturday? While a grocery store satisfies consumers' needs with 40,000 to 60,000 products, the challenge at Eatzi's is to create the same revenue with 15,000 products, he said.
Eatzi's is designed like a grocery store in that it has departments located on the perimeter and a single entrance and exit, he added.
However, the format anticipates that the consumer will be in and out of the store in 12 to 14 minutes. In 7 1/2 minutes, he or she could buy four to five items.
"We allow 30 to 40 seconds at each venue. Some take a minute or longer. Another minute to a minute and 45 seconds is allowed at the register. Today we need to look at fast-food speed and convenience," Tedesco said.
Eatzi's is relying on its grocery marketing for volume, he said. "The consumer will see us as a credible restaurant alternative by the quality of our food. We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have positioned ourselves to look, talk, walk and feel like a grocery operation."