â€‹For Bronxville residents, and for those of nearby towns, the neighborhood Häagen-Dazs has been a trusty ice cream go-to for three decades. Well, after a top-to-bottom renovation, it’s reopened. So why are you reading about this on our business blog, as opposed to our dining blog? The Bronxville store’s renovation is the test bunny for a complete reconceptualization of the Häagen-Dazs in-store experience. We threw a few questions to Justin Chafe, marketing manager for The Häagen-Dazs Shop Company, to see why they chose Bronxville and what their goals were.
Why launch the redesign in Bronxville?
We chose Bronxville for several reasons: Häagen-Dazs was started in New York, and New York is a very important market for us. We wanted to open the first shop with the new design in New York as a tribute to our history. And why Bronxville? It came down to three things: Geographic area, a well-established shop in a good location, and a partnership with the franchise owner. The Bronxville location has been in business for about 30 years and was scheduled for a remodel. We wanted to remodel in a location with a long sales history and an established customer base so that we could understand the impact of the new design on the business. When we asked the franchise owner if he was interested in helping us test the new design, he jumped at the opportunity.
What does the redesign mean for the brand?
The redesign is very important for the brand. Our product has always been made to exceptionally high standards, so our challenge is to provide a retail experience that is on par with the quality of our ice cream. The new design helps us create a premium Häagen-Dazs experience that feels like you have arrived somewhere special. We chose materials that speak to the careful craftsmanship of our ice cream—materials that are classic but modern, like our brand.
What’s the goal for Häagen-Dazs moving forward?
Häagen-Dazs will continue testing the new design in Bronxville for several more months to make sure the changes work for our guests. We will then roll out the design around the country, with approximately 10 remodels this year and 10 new shop openings.
Press materials say the goal is to simplify ordering and to ‘minimize ordering pressure’—how does the new design accomplish this?
We started with a blank slate; no idea was off limits. We interviewed guests and shopped competitors and other retail concepts. We reviewed every step a guest takes to order and tried to create a better ordering experience. One of the most notable changes was that we eliminated the large glass ice cream display cases you find in most ice cream shops [at the ordering counter]. We found that they caused ordering challenges, such as: no clear ordering station, “who’s next” line confusion, and a physical barrier that made sampling and communication difficult. We replaced the standard display cases with a large flavor board with pictures of the ice cream, and created dedicated sample, ordering, and pickup stations.
What do you expect in terms of increased customer traffic and sales?
We don’t disclose specific financial information, but our goal is to have a significant positive impact on customer count and sales.
A rendering of the new store concept, showing off separate “taste” and “create” stations.
Häagen-Dazs Shop at Bronxville
28 Park Place
(800) 767-0120, (914) 793-7171