Family-friendly casual-dining concept Black Bear Diner continues to evolve its design to embrace the way consumer dining habits evolved in recent years.
Take, for example, the chain’s Brownsville, Texas. As Black Bear Diner’s 144th location systemwide, this restaurant is the first from the chain that features a modified kitchen and front-of-the-house design elements dedicated to pickup and delivery services. The goal of these design features is to streamline operational efficiencies and open additional space for team members and guests in the main dining area. The Brownsville restaurant is also one of several that Black Bear Diner is building or updating to include an outdoor patio dining area.
“With this new format debuting in Brownsville, areas of service are optimized, creating the best possible experience for our dining room guests, our patio guests, and our guests enjoying Black Bear Diner in their own homes,” said Anita Adams, CEO of Black Bear Diner.
As the first location to incorporate new features that cater specifically to off-premises sales, Black Bear Diner Brownsville features a separate cooking line, along with a separate pickup window for third-party orders. Off-premises dining has played an increasingly important role for the diner concept since early 2020, as indoor dining rooms were subject to occupancy restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic and guests turned to pickup and delivery options for meals. The modified layout in Brownsville is intended to accommodate these additional orders while also protecting the on-site guest dining experience.
“Our number one priority is delivering on guest experience within our four walls, however, the strong off-premises business that we’ve built over this past year presents a great opportunity to drive our AUVs above 2019 levels. Guests clearly value the convenience of picking up a meal from Black Bear Diner or having it delivered,” says Adams. “We believe off-premises demand is here to stay. With this new diner layout, we hope to maximize in-house efficiencies that make order fulfillment easier for our teams and enable a positive experience for all of our guests, regardless of where they choose to dine.”
Patio seating will be another unique design element at the Brownsville restaurant. The area will include shade covers for comfortable outdoor dining and will seat an additional 32 guests – the main dining room will seat 160. Since April 2021, Black Bear Diner has opened patios at diners in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.
The Brownsville location is the first of several that Black Bear Diner plans to open in cities across Texas over the next several months, including Pasadena – in the greater Houston area, McAllen – along the southern border, and Dallas, as the diner concept looks to expand its presence in the state.
Black Bear diner operates 144 locations in 14 states.