By JACK WEATHERLY
Piccadilly Cafeterias has gone through some hard times, and now as a more streamlined chain, it is re-invigorating its operations.
It is investing $1 million in its two Jackson stores, for example, primarily the flagship property in Lefleur’s Gallery on the Interstate 55 North Frontage Road, along with the one in the Robinson Road Shopping Center in south Jackson. Its smaller version in the Jackson Medical Mall underwent an upgrade last year.
The first major renovation at the Lefleur’s Gallery store since it opened in the 1980s is also a nod to the arrival in early 2015 of its biggest rival, Luby’s, which opened up on I-55 a few blocks away, according to David Jones, regional manager for Baton Rouge-based Piccadilly.
The upgrade, which will be completed in about a month, includes new décor, customer-flow enhancements and the addition of televisions, including one as part of an audio-visual system for the newly created meeting room.
The to-go operation is being greatly expanded.
The take-out area adjacent to the cafeteria accounts for one-third of the cafeteria’s revenue, Jones said.
Dishes, made on-site, are being expanded, according to Max Jordan, vice president for marketing.
Among additions to the menu are grilled talapia with spinach salsa and grilled pork loin with caramelized onions and grilled potatoes, and shrimp and crab cake, Jordan said.
“We have a strategy that we have to expand the culinary offerings but still stay within what we do well,” Jordan said in an interview.
The company added weekend all-you-can-eat breakfasts to 24 locations, including the I-55 store, about 16 months ago, he said. At $7.99 including a beverage, “it’s turned out to be quite a success.”
The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003 and was bought in 2004 by Los Angeles’ Yucaipa Companies and Diversified Investment Management Group and taken private.
It likewise filed for Chapter 11 in 2012, when it had 81 locations. It now has 46 locations, closing two this month, one in Augusta, Ga., the other in Richmond, Va. Most need refreshing, Jordan said.
Jordan said those are the last the company anticipates closing.
Its upgrades will continue with its locations in Memphis and Atlanta, Jordan said.
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