Uno debuts new fast-casual concept

Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp. is experimenting with a new fast-casual concept, Uno Fresco, which opened in Stoneham, Mass., last month.

The parent company of Uno Pizzeria & Grill, the 131-unit casual-dining chain, also franchises five fast-casual Uno Dué Go locations in Texas, Wisconsin and Ohio, and operates one location in Boston, where the company is headquartered.

Uno Dué Go serves breakfast and lunch, and has a separate grab-and-go bakery section. Uno Fresco serves lunch and dinner.

Chris Westcott, vice president at Uno Fresco, said Uno Dué Go is suitable for urban settings, while Uno Fresco is designed more for the suburbs.

“It’s less, ‘You go to this station, I’ll go to that station, let’s meet at a table,’ and more of a dining experience,” he said of the new concept.

Guests at Uno Fresco order and pay at the counter and are handed a numbered wooden pizza peel to take to their table, where their orders are delivered.

Seating options include booths, a communal “pizza bar” and an outdoor patio. The restaurant also has a takeout menu and online ordering for guests to pick up.

With no tipping required, guests perceive better value in the experience, which, five weeks into operations, has already garnered the restaurant a following of regular customers, Westcott said.

“We have staff that already know guests on a first-name basis,” he said.

The menu features 19 pizzas ranging from Margherita deep dish to a thin-crust pie with prosciutto, fig and arugula, as well as classic deep-dish sausage and mozzarella and thin-crust barbecue pork. They are priced between $5.99 for a seven-inch deep dish or 11-inch thin crust, and $15.99 for 10-inch deep dish or 16-inch thin crust.

Salads, starting at $6.99, can be customized with eight proteins, including fresh mozzarella, herb-roasted salmon and tofu. Chef-designed salads are available as well, along with soups, priced at $3; panini and premium Fork ’n Knife sandwiches, starting at $6.99; chicken entrées, priced at $9.99; pastas for $7.99 and $8.99; and snacks such as $4 pizza rolls, $4 sweet-and-spicy mixed nuts, $5 meatballs or wings, and $5 guacamole with chips. Desserts include cookies and brownies for $2, and Strawberry Shortcake and Pizza Dough S’mores for $3.

Both craft beer and wine are on tap, and Westcott said he planned to feature craft beer from local breweries as the concept expanded.

A kids’ menu includes small portions of Uno’s signature deep-dish cheese pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Uno Fresco also offers gluten-free dough and bread.

Westcott said he’s pleased with the progress the restaurant has made in its first five weeks.

“We are getting incredible feedback from our guests — a lot of very positive feedback about the look and feel, the menu, variety, and value,” he said. “We really feel like we’re getting rewarded for what we’re putting into it.”

Construction has begun and management is being trained for Uno Fresco’s second location, at the Tanger Outlets mall in Deer Park, N.Y.

“Our strategy there is not to be a mall restaurant,” Westcott said. “We just happen to be a restaurant in a mall.”

Marketing will target local businesses and residents with the message that the restaurant is convenient, close to the parking lot and a good local dining option.

Additional expansion plans are in the works. A lease has been signed for a location in Newton, Mass., which Westcott hopes to open in late October.

“It’s a very densely populated, urban edge community that we’re excited about,” he said. “We’re in negotiation on several other sites, with a plan to do as many as five locations in 2015.”

For now, all of those locations are company owned, but Westcott said the goal over the long term is to have a blend of franchised and company-owned units.

“We’ll always have a stake in the game, but this is being positioned and developed with a franchise community in mind,” he said.

Casual-dining Uno Pizzeria & Grill’s 137 locations are about 60-percent company-owned.

Back

What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Karen was amazing and very helpful through the interview process with my CEO management opportunity. Karen helped and coached me to prepare myself for the interviews. With Karen's help and my experience I feel that it was a perfect fit for Me.  It's pretty awesome to come back to work in my home town and connect to the community again 2o years later.  It awesome to be close to my family and old friends. I'm happy and proud to say that I'm working for a company that values and cares for there employees. I feel like this is a great opportunity that will open doors for my future. Thank you for your time And big thank you to Karen, she is amazing! Ron G Karen was amazing and very helpful through the interview processChief Experience Officer, BC
  • I am grateful for my experience working with Cara, she was awesome! Always easy to reach via texts, emails and phone. It felt like Cara was on my side and wanted what was best for me. Wrote an amazing resume. She helped set me up with all my interviews, provided interview coaching to help me land the job. She also checked on me completely throughout my whole experience. The best part is how she kept in constant contact with me throughout the process, so I was never left wondering and was very supportive throughout the interview process. I'll definitely highly recommend her in the future! Sincerely, Andrea I am grateful for my experience working with Cara, she was awesome!
  • "I was very lucky to get recruited by Cara and the Patrice and Associates team. From start to finish Cara made me feel like I was the right person for this new step in my career. She was very easy to talk to and brought the best out of me when it came to preparing for my interview. I couldn't have asked for a better person to help with this transition and this great opportunity would never have happened without Cara. Thanks!!" - Chuck A I couldn't have asked for a better person to help with this transition
  • I must say at first I was a little skeptical on what Stephanie was doing with my resume but now after seeing the results I am so glad listened instead of reacting. I will definitely continue with this company and I've already started to recommend Stephanie and what she can and is more than willing to do for each individual.

    Eddie Zepeda I've already started to recommend Stephanie
  • During my 20+ years career in hospitality I had the opportunity to work either directly or indirectly with several recruiting firms and individuals. My most recent job search lead me to Bruce Leininger with Patrice and Associates. Bruce is one of those rare individuals who combines needs of the employer with knowledge and skills of the job seeker. He sees both perspectives, analyses where there is common ground between employer’s culture and applicant’s strengths, then delivers a candid assessment to both parties. Bruce was relentless in pursuit of job opportunities and in finding the “right fit” for my career profile. EVERYTHING that Bruce said and promised in his introduction to me was delivered, and even MORE! Most importantly I truly felt that Bruce was genuine, understanding and caring in regards to my specific needs and goals. As far as I am concerned when it comes to recruiters, there is Bruce and then there’s everyone else. Ned Mirkovic, Hospitality General Manager When it comes to recruiters, there is Bruce and then there’s everyone else.