SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Orion Food Systems has changed the look of its supermarket food-service sections to more clearly define them as food courts with distinct food concepts.
Orion specializes in food-service concepts within retail settings. The changes to its supermarket operations include menu boards with distinctive features that set each element apart from the others in the food court, and a layout that puts the concepts in a straight line.
The design also incorporates a new "Food Court" logo, a new color scheme, high-intensity lighting and back walls of white ceramic tile. Logos above the concepts' counters are separated from one another with a wide strip of glass-brick tiles.
"Our research has told us that consumers want a food court to look like the ones they've become familiar with in shopping malls," said Mark Elliott, vice president of marketing operations and corporate development for Orion, based here.
"We also want customers to perceive our courts as a business separate from the supermarket itself. The reason for that is that, historically, consumers' perception of food service in grocery stores has been low," Elliott told SN.
The new look was first introduced in a new Minyard's unit in Highland Village, Texas. Orion has subsequently installed new food courts in seven additional supermarkets, and will begin retrofitting its existing facilities in supermarkets this month.
The earlier generation of Orion food-service operations in supermarkets bears a red and white logo identifying it as "The Lineup." They will all be revamped to reflect the new look.
The first retrofit of an existing Orion food court will be in a Vons store in Long Beach, Calif. Kroger stores in the Columbus, Ohio, market are next on the retrofit list; and 10 to 20 additional retrofits will be completed in supermarkets by the end of the year, Elliott said. Orion's food concepts are Moose Bros. Pizza, Joey Pagoda's Oriental Express, Eddie Pepper's Mexican Food, Chix rotisseries and fried chicken, MacGregor's Market sub sandwich shop and Cinnamon Street gourmet cinnamon rolls.
With the new look, each concept's menu board has its own design elements, such as type style or frame around the menu.
"The Cinnamon Street menu board will have an oak trim, for example, to tie it in with the oak cabinetry that's part of that concept," Elliott said. "We want the customer to perceive the courts as a collection of different franchises run by different franchisees."
The new logo, meanwhile, can incorporate a supermarket chain's name, Elliott said. The logo is used on the outside of stores and on a pedestal sign or overhead sign placed at the entrance to the food courts.
Backwalls of white tile help more clearly identify the courts as food-service players, Elliott said. The first Orion food courts featured a mural on the back wall that portrayed people eating.