January 16, 2017
Applebee's celebrated the grand opening of its new Restaurant Support Center in Lenexa. The two-story, 178,000 square-foot center features open, collaborative workspaces, a world-class culinary center and an environmentally sustainable design.
The building was designed by BNIM Architects and built by J.E. Dunn Construction. The owner's representative was a joint venture partnership between The Allen Group and Copaken, White & Blitt.
"We believe the open, collaborative work space will increase productivity and allow us to be more nimble and responsive to our guests and to the demands of a competitive marketplace," said Julia Stewart, CEO of Applebee's. "Our new state-of-the-art Culinary Center is the perfect environment to create and test fabulous new products that will keep our guests returning again and again."
Based on the sustainable strategies included in the project, the Support Center is expected to achieve a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The building's sustainable features work together to raise energy efficiency, improve the air quality, increase the natural daylight, minimize operating expenses such as electricity and water, and cost effectively support the business (minimal maintenance requirements). Associates also have the ability to control their own environment, including air temperature, access to daylight, flexible task lighting, personalized workspace and adjustable seating.
"Applebee's challenged our firm to design an extraordinary environment that embraces the goals and aspirations of their culture," said Steve McDowell, FAIA, principal of BNIM Architects and design team leader. "Our design team focused on sustainable design strategies, developing the land and designing the building in ways that minimize the negative environmental impact. The result is a facility designed to maximize productivity and provide good stewardship in the community."
Recognizing that associates spend a significant amount of their day indoors, the building was designed to maximize the amount of natural daylight. Enclosed spaces are located away from the perimeter, allowing natural daylight and views to penetrate deep into the workplace. The design team also developed strategies to meet the specialized needs of individual and team work styles rather than standard solutions based upon job hierarchy. Emphasis was placed on job function and work style needs. Lower panels and layouts that allow visual access to others were provided for groups with a more collaborative work style. For more concentrative work styles, slightly taller panels and more secluded locations were provided. The new design encourages associates to view the entire building as their office, rather than simply the space assigned to them.
The 9,793 square-foot culinary center is one of the largest in the casual dining industry and the focal point of the entire building. It includes a full replication of an Applebee's restaurant kitchen and will be used for menu development, food auditing, research, evaluation, testing and training.