Baskin-Robbins is testing a new sleek and modern store format that will feature novelty snacks and prominent ice cream displays.
The iconic ice cream brand unveiled its store design Wednesday in Fresno, California. The company is planning for a nationwide rollout in 2019, during a time when restaurant players from McDonald's to Starbucks are creating experiences for customers that are both modern and indelible with new and upgraded stores.
"We've done a lot of consumer research and wanted to create a design that reflects what Baskin-Robbins is — a place where guests can come and unwind and create memories with family and friends," says Jason Maceda, senior vice president of Baskin-Robbins U.S. & Canada. He expects the company will open six to 10 locations in 2019, between new stores and remodels, and a second concept Baskin-Robbins store will open in El Paso, Texas in early 2019.
Dunkin', which shares an owner with Baskin-Robbins in Dunkin' Brands, is in the midst of a $100 million investment in its U.S. businesses, including its own next-generation concept stores. Dunkin' opened 60 of its revamped locations by the end of the third quarter, surpassing its initial goal having 50 by the end of the year.
Baskin-Robbins declined to comment on the size of the investment it is making.
Maceda said there are some 1,300 stores within the system that are Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins combined locations, and the brands will be testing new concepts for those in the next year. Both concept stores feature more prominent displays for consumers and modernized touches.
"We wanted to make sure, like Dunkin', we got this right before we rolled it out," Maceda said.
Here's a peek at Baskin-Robbins' new look:
The concept store features a modernized menu, offering a new premium line of frozen treats like chocolate-dipped bananas as well as smoothie bars and hand-dipped waffle cones. There's also an expanded toppings station. "People love hand-held snacks and indulgence," Carol Austin, vice president of marketing, Baskin-Robbins U.S. & Canada, said. "And customization is important to consumers today, it's something we are amplifying in the new store design."
Stores will feature sleek glass cases that show off ice cream flavors, cakes and more. "The look is high-end and intended to showcase the beautiful cakes and ice cream, they look like jewels in a jewelry box," Austin said.
Each location will have artwork that reflects the store's local community, intended to encourage customers to engage with and share on social media. The Fresno store has local landmarks including forest campsites.
There will be both indoor and outdoor seating for those who stop by, as well as a garage door and window that features a counter for guests to enjoy their ice cream.