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.”

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

Panera Bread franchisee Randy Simon working on drive-throughs

WICHITA — More than one diner has bemoaned the lack of drive-throughs at Wichita’s Panera Bread restaurants, but Randy Simon would like to change that.

The franchisee is working with neighbors and the city to add a drive-through at his Panera at 1605 N. Rock Road, which he thinks he might be able to do by February.

Panera has retrofitted about 90 of its stores with drive-throughs. The first was in Missouri several years ago, and the chain tested it for a couple of years before expanding to other Paneras.

Simon says his first drive-through retrofit was eight months ago in Independence, Mo.

“It has increased the sales and not distracted from the execution of the concept.”

He built his Derby Panera with a drive-through, but Simon now has to figure out a way to make the additions work at his other Paneras.

He’s talking with his landlord at his Panera near Central and Hillside.

“There seems to be just a little glimmer of a possibility that we could do something with that store,” Simon says. “Basically, it’s almost like creating a second restaurant.”

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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.”

 

You don’t say

“I finally passed by Chic Fil A and there were only a half a dozen cars in the drive. Of course it was Sunday and they were closed.”

– An e-mail from Randy Simon, who owns a Freddy’s and Panera on Rock Road, on the always-crowded new Chick-fil-A at Central and Rock

 

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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