Wednesday, July 16, 2008

KnowFat Closes for Renovations - Reopens as UFood Grill

The KnowFat LifeStyle Grille at 347 Great Road briefly closed last week for renovations and a name change. It reopened on July 15th as UFood Grill. The business is part of a local chain with 5 other locations in Massachusetts (which are also in the process of changing their name). In addition to the Massachusetts stores, UFood Grill is adding locations in Chicago, California, Florida, Texas and Utah.

I recently spoke with Eric Spitz, Executive Vice President of Business Development for UFood Grill. I asked Eric about the name change. He mentioned that while they were happy with the food sales of the Know Fat restaurants, they felt the Know Fat name was self limiting as customers liked the food but many associated the name with foods they typically didn't enjoy. Eric explained how they did lots of customer research to come up with the new name and hope to attract a much broader audience.

While the general layout has stayed the same. The interior has been renovated and includes new seats and a cleaner more modern look. The restaurant no longer has a separate area selling protein bars and supplements.

The renovation took just over a week and included changes to the menu as well. The protein bars that were previously sold have been replaced with "Smuuthies" which can be enhanced with Whey Protein, Ginseng, Antioxidants, Bee Pollen and other supplements. Also new on the menu is UBerry which is tart soft serve yogurt. Frozen Yogurt has become increasingly popular in the last year or so with the introduction of new restaurant chains like Pinkberry and Red Mango popping up across the Country.

The "Smuuthies" are made with fat-free yogurt, fruit and berries and are available in a dozen different varieties.

Along with these changes, UFood has also added additional Vegetarian items as well as a few other entree items including a Bison Burger and a Falafel Roll-Up. The new menu no longer offers beer or wine.

Eric mentioned the restaurant currently has 36 seats but is working with the town to get that increased to 44. While the restaurant would be interested in offering outdoor seating it does not currently offer any. It does have a pickup window to which you can walk or drive to in order to pick up an order you previously called in.

The Sign for the Pick-Up window could be better designed. I suspect many customers are not aware of this option.

This is where you can pick up your order after you phone it in. A better sign is needed. There is no mention of UFood Grill at all.

The Restaurant still features a few breakfast items and is open 11am-8pm most days. The store currently has 20-25 employees. Know Fat had an existing loyalty program called "In the Know" that will continue with UFood. The loyalty program offers you 3% cash back on all your purchases. You get points with each purchase and once you reach 100 points, you get a $3 certificate off your next order.

Along with the new name, the restaurant has also retained George Foreman (former boxer and seller of the Foreman Grill) as it's spokesman. George will be visiting the Massachusetts stores (including the Bedford location) in September.

In addition to in store dining and take out, UFood Grill also offers catering for business and other events. Catering is handled by the local store.

The UFood Grill "catering van". In addition to the regular menu, UFood Grill can also offer custom menu items.

When Know Fat first opened a few years ago, they ran a lot of marketing promotions including Bedford Day to get a lot of people to try their food. This seemed to work well as the restaurant got pretty busy during lunch in just a few weeks.

After taking a look at the renovations, I took a look at some of the other restaurants in Bedford. Both Papa Gino's and Dunkin' Donuts seem like they would benefit from an updated look.

No comments: