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Empire state of mind

The resulting industrial fit-out feels like it has been there for years. Handcrafted custom signage went through several processes, including sand blasting, to give an older, rusting look that stands out immediately.

Signage is most important to Parkinson given the current competition in food retail.

“There’s multiple choices for food these days so people have to see you quickly. Signage is critical.”

Parkinson says that overall ambience is the key to ensuring customers enjoy their surroundings across both retail and food outlets.

 The stores are “designed for people to feel comfortable and relaxed and take whatever time they need.”

The delis offer affordable and high-quality meals that are made in front of customers within five minutes. They appeal to workers with disposable incomes as well as students seeking value.

The rich colour theme of red and black is even more striking under the industrial-style, imported lights kept dim.

“Lighting has a lot of effect, in fact it’s one of those things people tend to overlook these days,” he says. “Lighting is critical to ambience because you can spoil the whole design structure if you don’t put the right lighting in.”

This reflects the philosophy of the delis, which treat customers like old friends and ensures a space for customers to relax.

The new owners of New York Deli are finalising some changes to their menu and putting systems in place.

“It’s a quick way to lose money if you don’t have systems in food,” says Parkinson. “It’s too easy not to portion control.”

They have installed computer systems to measure all ingredient usage as they add new products to the menu and prepare for regular specials. Over the next six months they hope to fully implement this and ensure current franchisees are as comfortable as their customers are with the new owners.

Parkinson says the main pitfalls people make in owning a store is not doing their homework and letting emotions rule their decisions.

“Emotions are killer to any decisions in business because you buy what you like and you tend to overlook the bad points,” he says.

Although the design of the store has an emotive effect on customers, a strategic spatial design that takes its cues from hospitality fit-outs has created a successful franchise and comfortable space to enjoy a sandwich.

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 748 December 2016 / January 2017

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