Car dealerships become non-traditional restaurant sites

Car dealerships become non-traditional restaurant sites

While not yet a driving force in non-traditional restaurant sites, auto dealership showrooms are starting to add enhanced dining options.

At Frank Kent Motor Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, a Honda dealership recently upgraded its 40-seat dining area, called Twin Creeks Café, which had opened with the showroom and service area last fall. The dealership revamped the menu and repositioned the offerings, while taking the foodservice management in-house.

Frank Kent Motor co-owner Corrie Watson said the recent rebranding has provided a helpful service to customers.

A Frank Kent spokeswoman said the menu now offers an array of options, including salads with house-made dressings, grilled fish of the day and tenderloin filet. Prices are generally under $12, and the café is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday.

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” Watson said. “Our customers appreciate a convenient, healthy option.”

Additionally, Watson said Twin Creeks has even been receiving catering requests.

The dealership tapped David Rotman, the former owner of Fort Worth’s popular Café Aspen, which closed in February 2010 after more than 20 years in business, to revamp the menu.

Besides lunch and dinner items, Rotman added breakfast dishes, like Mexican- and Greek-style omelets, waffles, pancakes, egg and cheese tacos and paninis, and chorizo quesadillas.

“Café Aspen had a faithful following in Fort Worth, and the team at Frank Kent was sad to see it go,” Rotman said. “It’s an honor to give some of these dishes a new life at Twin Creeks Café.”

In early 2012, the Cohn Restaurant Group of San Diego expects to unveil a 10,000-square-foot restaurant in the three-level Lexus Centre in Escondido, Calif.

The California Lexus restaurant project, called Vintana, remains in the planning stages, according to a Cohn representative, but the company is developing a menu. The project also calls for 20,000 square feet of outdoor event space that could be used for private functions, as well as for other meeting and banquet facilities.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless