You don’t say

“That’s pretty exciting for us.”

Randy Simon on how there are now five Kansas City area Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers restaurants and four more planned for next year

You don’t say

“I’m going to drop off a baked bean can and a string tomorrow … so we can chat later in the day.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers co-owner Scott Redler teasing City Council member Pete Meitzner about his antiquated BlackBerry

Bill Warren’s theater in Moore, Okla., has some tornado damage but is fine, he says

UPDATED — Bill Warren’s theater in Moore, Okla., sustained damage from a tornado that tore through the city this afternoon, but he says everyone there is fine.

“The theater had a little bit of damage, but I don’t care about that,” he says.

He says staff and customers are safe.

“We talked to the staff, and everyone is safe.”

The glass front of the building is damaged, Warren says.

“I just saw the theater on CNN,” he says. “Well, the front looks kind of bad.”

Then Warren talked with a manager at the theater.

“He said that the front of the place is superficially pretty torn up,” Warren says. “That looks pretty tore up, but the building’s fine.

He says a nearby hospital is damaged as well.

“The bowling alley next door is leveled,” Warren says. “The houses behind the theater are flattened.”

He says he believes the tornado veered and mostly avoided his building.

Warren says he’s been told by a Wichita news outlet that his theater is being used as a staging area for responders, but he hasn’t confirmed that with anyone in Oklahoma.

“The building’s whole and safe, and it’s got emergency lighting.”

Warren says he’s relieved about everyone’s safety at the building.

“That’s all that counts. I don’t care about the building. I’ve got insurance for that.”

There’s also a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers a block south of the theater.

Freddy’s COO Scott Redler says there’s no word on the condition of the restaurant yet but that everyone there is OK.

“No one in Freddy’s is injured,” he says. “Our regional manager actually had to park a distance . . . and walk to the restaurant.”

A text from the manager to Redler says that no one is hurt and that there aren’t any phones.

“That’s the important stuff,” Redler says. “No one’s injured, so that’s really all that matters.”

Redler says he spoke with Warren, who told him he thinks he saw the restaurant on TV and that it looks OK.

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You don’t say

“They sure are anxious for me to turn 100 so they can get a buck.”

Freddy Simon, whose namesake Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers will sell custard for 88 cents Feb. 21-24 to celebrate his 88th birthday this weekend

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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You don’t say

“I want them removed.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers partner Scott Redler’s teasing reaction at a Thursday party when a guest wondered where he got the custard for the Tumbleweeds he was making

Domino’s Pizza franchisees expand in Wichita, Derby and Hutchinson

WICHITA — Domino’s Pizza franchisees Mike and Stacia McKnight, who own Gusto LLC, are expanding in several ways.

Last week, they opened a Derby location in the strip center in front of Target at Derby Marketplace at 71st South and Rock Road. That’s the same center as the Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.

Late this month, the McKnights are opening another location in Wichita in the same center as Yamasa, which is on the west side of Hillside just south of Central.

This makes six restaurants for the couple in the Wichita area.

Also late this month, the McKnights are opening a Hutchinson Domino’s at 2500 N. Main.

They also own three Domino’s sites in Topeka and seven in Kansas City with one more on the way yet this year.

Mike McKnight says he and his wife likely will open two more locations in Wichita in the second and third quarters of next year. They’re looking to the far east and far west of the greater Wichita area.

“It just depends when we find the locations we like.”

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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Two new tenants to move into the Warren Travel building on East Central

WICHITA — As Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers prepares to move its corporate office into the building at 260 N. Rock Road, some current tenants there have to prepare to move out.

Several — but not all — of the professionals in the building are moving nearby to either 250 or 240 N. Rock Road.

Robin Siefkin and James Miller’s ACM Removal is moving a bit farther.

The company, which removes asbestos and mold, is moving to the Warren Travel building at 5900 E. Central.

Siefkin says there’s good and bad with the move.

“Well, it’s very stressful (to) try to keep everything rolling,” he says of working and moving.

However, it may help his waistline.

“Like my wife says, I ate too many Freddy’s steakburgers.”

Siefkin says the new site makes sense in part because of the number of trucks his company has, which is an issue on Rock Road.

“It’s kind of hectic.”

Siefkin also likes his landlords at Warren Travel, which is still in the building.

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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.”