Panera Bread on North Rock Road to temporarily close to install drive-through

WICHITA — It may not have happened by spring as he hoped, but Randy Simon is now about to add a drive-through at his Panera Bread at 1605 N. Rock Road.

The restaurant is going to close from Monday until July 22 to make the addition along with interior remodeling.

Derby is the only other Wichita-area Panera with a drive-through so far.

Simon says he’s in the process of submitting plans to do a drive-through at the Panera at Taft and Ridge.

He’s just finished remodeling the Panera near Central and Hillside, which wasn’t able to have a drive-through.

“We just were not able to work the necessary arrangemetns out with Walgreens,” Simon says.

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Strip center to join restaurants along Ridge Road corridor

WICHITA — Restaurants aren’t the only new businesses that will be opening in the Ridge Road corridor between Kellogg and Maple.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers partners Scott Redler and Bill and Randy Simon also will be building a strip center on the approximately four acres they have along the corridor.

Have You Heard? this week reported that Abuelo’s will be opening at the northeast corner of Taft and Ridge Road, which is south of where Randy Simon has a Panera Bread next to a Freddy’s. There’s also a Twin Peaks under construction across Ridge Road.

Redler says he’s not sure how soon construction will start on the center. He says it depends on when the first tenant signs.

The 8,400-square-foot strip center will be to the north of Abuelo’s.

“We probably have room for one restaurant, and the rest would be retail-oriented,” Redler says. “We’re restaurateurs, and we want to make sure we have ample parking for all the restaurants. … Parking’s so critical.”

He says Freddy’s and Panera do well and will require some extra parking.

Redler says he thinks Abuelo’s will do well, too.

“They really do a great job,” he says. “I’m personally a big fan of (Abuelo’s) chile rellenos.”

Scott Redler is a partner in the Traqueros restaurant opening in Overland Park

WICHITA — What’s a man who oversees a chain of almost 90 restaurants do to kick-start his culinary creativity?

Start a new restaurant, of course.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers COO Scott Redler is a partner in the new Traqueros, a Mexican restaurant that’s opening next month at 11831 Metcalf Ave. in Overland Park.

“I’m involved from a conceptual point of view … but not from an operational standpoint,” Redler says.

“It’s a quick-casual concept,” he says. “Everything will be cooked to order. … It’s a Mexican restaurant with the same service style as a Pei Wei.”

His partners include Dave Dreiling and Bud and Bobby Cox.

They’re known for such Manhattan-based restaurants as CoCo Bolos, Cox Bros. BBQ, Ingredient and Local.

Dreiling’s company, HCI Hospitality, will manage Traqueros.

Redler says his Freddy’s partners, Randy and Bill Simon, are fine with him being involved in another concept.

“They want me to keep getting creative. That’s part of my role,” Redler says. “This helps me just kind of reenergize and just understand everything else going on in the market.”

He adds, “Even some things I’ve done in Traqueros … have helped us with some of our decisions for Freddy’s.”

Redler isn’t involved with creating recipes, but he says, “I am involved in the tastings, so that’s fun.”

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Panera Bread isn’t coming to Andover yet

WICHITA — Andover residents often wish for more restaurants in their backyard, and Panera Bread is tops on that list for some.

Is there a chance it’ll happen?

“I suspect it’ll be as soon as they have a daytime population,” says Panera franchisee Randy Simon.

Simon says a Panera needs to see 800 people a day “in order to be economical at all.”

“If you go into areas that don’t have much daytime population, it is very difficult to try to survive.”

The problem with Andover, Simon says, is so many residents drive to Wichita for work.

“We do 85 percent of our business between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.,” Simon says.

Andover residents shouldn’t give up hope, though.

“I continue to talk to people out there,” Simon says.

Simon is working with his Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers partners — his brother, Bill, and Scott Redler — on two new Kansas City area restaurants.

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You don’t say

“I figured we’d all be dead or in jail.”

Robin Siefkin of ACM Removal on high school buddies Randy and Bill Simon of Freddy’s and how they’ve all managed to “become fruitful citizens” and “pay a lot of taxes”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is getting a new corporate office

WICHITA — Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is getting a new corporate office at 260 N. Rock Road, which is conveniently located across the parking lot from the Freddy’s restaurant at 310 N. Rock Road.
“I obviously was cheering for this one,” says Freddy’s partner Randy Simon, whose Panera Bread office shares the same lot as well.

The Freddy’s partners, who include Scott Redler and Simon’s brother Bill, have been leasing about 3,500 square feet at 1445 N. Rock Road.

Now, they own the 18,000-square-foot building at 260 N. Rock Road, of which they’ll use 6,000 square feet on the upper level.

“With our expansions – we just opened our 74th restaurant – and in our current location we’re busting at the seams,” Redler says.

The chain’s 75th restaurant opens this week. There are eight corporate stores out of the 75. The rest are franchises.

Redler says they want to make sure to keep ahead on resources for franchisees. The company has six franchise business coaches and is looking to add a couple of more.

“We just want to have the right space to do it right,” he says.

Remodeling will start in a month. The new space should be ready to move into by the end of the year.
“This should cover us for a lot of years,” Redler says.

Another 15 to 18 Freddy’s restaurants will open this year. That includes a third one in Kansas City at the end of September near West 119th Street and Blackbob. Three more Kansas City area restaurants are in various stages of development, including one near West 107th Street and Roe Avenue in Overland Park that also should open by the end of the year.

Redler says there likely will be a celebration to mark the 100th restaurant, but there’s not one for the 75th this week.

“It’s just kind of another day.”

 

Original Timberline Steakhouse & Grill closes after 14 years in business

UPDATED — It was just a matter of time.

Eight months after the east-side Timberline Steakhouse & Grill closed, so has its sister restaurant on the west side.

“It was a very difficult decision that we needed to make,” says Scott Redler, who owned the chain with Bill Simon.

“We’re looking at this as a celebration of 14 great years of business for Timberline . . . and appreciate everyone involved.”

The Timberline near 21st and Tyler was Redler and Simon’s first in the chain, which had seven restaurants in six cities over the years.

There’s one Timberline left.

Salina licensee JRI Investments owns that restaurant and has purchased the concept with plans to open more Timberlines.

“You know, we had an opportunity to sell, and it just seemed to make sense,” Redler says.

He and Simon plan to continue to focus on Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, which they run with Simon’s brother, Randy, who also is a Panera Bread franchisee.

Redler says Freddy’s average ticket of about $6.50 makes a lot more sense than Timberline’s $17 average.

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Green Zebra Concierge owner Kyle Gerstner to become Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchisee

WICHITA — Green Zebra Concierge owner Kyle Gerstner has contemplated becoming a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchisee for years, and now he’s doing it.

“I watched and saw how they grew,” Gerstner says of the business that Scott Redler and brothers Randy and Bill Simon started.

He’s known them for years.

“Just being around those guys and kind of understanding it” led to his decision, Gerstner says.

He’s working on a lease in Colorado Springs. He has a four-store deal there.

“It’s just a great opportunity,” Gerstner says. “We’re kind of already eyeing other markets around the country.”

He’s not likely to open — or leave Wichita — for six months to a year.

Gerstner is in the process of selling his businesses here, which include Green Zebra, which he’s selling off customer by customer, Green Zebra Valet Parking and Nutrition Kitchen.

Once Gerstner establishes himself with Freddy’s, he doesn’t anticipate standing behind the counter taking burger and custard orders much.

He wants to be more entrepreneurial, like Redler and the Simons.

“That’s, obviously, the goal.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers to open its 49th store on Thursday

WICHITA — These days when people open new restaurants, they often immediately talk of franchise plans, which rarely seem to materialize.

“We did the opposite,” says Randy Simon, co-owner of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. “We just wanted to build one store.”

Instead, Thursday he and his partners, his brother Bill and Scott Redler, are opening their 49th store near Maple and Ridge, which is where Randy Simon’s newest Panera Bread will open April 25.

“You know, our intention really was pretty simple,” Randy Simon says. “Just to get us a good hamburger place in Wichita.

“There wasn’t any grand scheme.”

The results are pretty grand, though.

Three more Freddy’s stores will open by the end of the month — the first in California, the third in Denver and one in a Phoenix suburb.

There are likely to be 60-some Freddy’s stores by the end of the year, and about 80 within a year and a half.

On top of it all, the original Freddy’s on 21st Street near Tyler Road had its best day in business on Saturday.

“I am just not sure what all came together in the stars to make that happen,” Simon says. “That store has surprised us at almost every step.”

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Panera most likely coming to Derby Marketplace

UPDATED — The dining options continue to grow in Derby.

Panera Bread franchisee Randy Simon is in negotiations to open a Panera in front of the Dillons Marketplace at Derby Marketplace at 71st and Rock.

“It’s not a lock yet,” Simon says.

It’s close, though.

Simon and his brother, Bill, and business partner Scott Redler have a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers at Derby Marketplace.

“The Freddy’s has done very well there,” Randy Simon says.

Until now, Simon says the lack of potential daytime business concerned him. Simon always figured nights and weekends would do well, but he says Panera thrives on weekday breakfasts and lunches. He thinks there’s now enough business to support it.

If the deal happens, this would make the 32nd Panera for his Original Bread company, and it will be the first with a drive-through.

Simon wishes he could do the same at his other restaurants.

“I keep trying to figure out how I could do it at the Rock Road location.”

Look for more details as soon as the Derby deal closes.

The possibility of the new Panera pleases one fanatic in particular.

Rev. Wayne Schmid, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church, is known to drive to Wichita for Panera four or five times a week, often when he’s making hospital rounds.

Sometimes, though, it’s only for the food.

“Father Schmid’s prayers have finally been answered,” Simon says.

He says Schmid, in an effort to convince him to bring a Panera, said he’d help get the word out.

“He tells me he’ll market (it) from the podium down there,” Simon says.

Schmid admits to his addiction, but he says he’ll have to be discreet about doing anything from the pulpit.

Still, he says, “Oh, I’ll let people know.”