Designing a Restaurant Franchise – Ham’s Restaurants
Ham’s restaurants first opened its doors in 1935 and quickly became a staple in many North Carolina and Virginia communites, providing great food and fun times for the entire family. Today, Ham’s has remained true to that vision while also serving up an expanded menu featuring delicious food from bison burgers to fish tacos as well as local craft beers and monthly drink specials.
When Rocky Scarfone first bought Hams franchise in 2010, he had a clear vision in mind—keep the original family fun environment while creating a memorable and recognizable brand. With several locations established and more on the way, Scarfone knew that keeping the interior design consistent was key to acheiving this goal.
Scarfone had a very specific design idea—he wanted something more than just plain paint on the walls, but needed a product that would easily translate into many locations. “We were looking to wrap columns and use it on curved walls, but I didn’t want it to be flat, I wanted something three-dimensional,” said Scarfone.
The material he chose also had to hold up to a busy restaurant environment. With all the guests and wait staff bumping into walls, as well as food and drink spills, the substrate had to be extremely durable and easy to clean. So, in 2010, when Scarfone began remodeling the Ham’s location on High Point Rd. in Greensboro, North Carolina, he approached ATI to help find a suitable material that would meet all his needs.
After speaking with ATI, Scarfone decided to go with MirroFlex—a three-dimensional, thermoplastic laminate, perfect for withstanding the high traffic present in a restaurant. He chose two different MirroFlex patterns to complete his vision—Strike in Moonstone Copper and Weave in EccoFlex Black. EccoFlex is made from 40-50 percent pre-consumer recycled material and contributes credits to LEED 2009 Materials and Resources and Indoor Environmental Quality categories.
Scarfone recalls, “We started using it on High Point Road and we liked it so much that I knew this was what our brand was going to look like. It’s our new look.”
As Ham’s new look, the same two products were utilized when remodeling older locations and when opening new ones. In the new spaces, Scarfone was able to incorporate more and more MirroFlex. In Downtown Greensboro, MirroFlex adorns long, curved walls, window breaks, the bar front, door fronts, and even the hostess stand.
In nearby Winston-Salem, the design started with bare walls and floors. Starting from scratch allowed MirroFlex to become the main wall and surface treatment throughout the design. In addition, a new ATI product was introduced to Ham’s. NuMetal in Radial, a high-pressure laminate with a thin, real metal surface, acts as a backsplash at beer stations.
Another benefit of using MirroFlex was the ease of installation. Whether it’s bending around curves or wrapping around columns, MirroFlex went up easily. Scarfone even jokes that his installer has it “down to a science.”
When asked about why he chose these materials, Scarfone said, “It’s great in a restaurant application because all you do is wipe it clean. We love the durability but also the richness of the product; it just looks and pops action and that’s what we wanted.”
Ham’s Restaurants continue to use MirroFlex in new builds and remodels. The uniformity between locations has helped Ham’s define their brand while adding a unique design feature that sets them apart from the crowd.