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After 30 years of serving food to the Harvard Square community, Au Bon Pain has remodeled to offer more meal options and a new marketplace design.
“We’ve packaged it in a way that’s relevant to the target customer in Harvard Square: the busy student, faculty, administrators, and business people,” said Susan A. Morelli, the CEO of Au Bon Pain and a 1984 graduate of Harvard Business School.
Instead of having to wait in line at the counter for every order, customers can now serve themselves at a new soup bar and coffee station, and can also choose from other grab-and-go options.
“I like the design. It’s more modern and seems more efficient,” said Teresa M. Ferguson, a Harvard employee and student at the School of Dental Medicine who frequents Au Bon Pain twice a week.
Au Bon Pain has also expanded its made-to-order menu with hot toasted sandwiches. The restaurant has introduced a ‘Create Your Own’ salad bar, where guests can choose from 30 different ingredients.
The interior has also been brightened with new signs and decorating.
“The new color palette, design, and graphics create a bright, happy, and high-energy environment,” Morelli said. “Food is energy, and we think energy is particularly appropriate for the college environment.”
During lunchtime, workers will now take orders on iPads to expedite service.
Morelli said she believes the new advance matches college students’ busy schedules.
“We like being a part of the vibrant, thoughtful kind of community. Universities definitely have the trend-setting clientele,” Morelli said.
Beginning in 2012, customers will also be able to place ABP orders online.
The Harvard Square location opened in 1984 as one of Au Bon Pain’s first cafes. Louis I. Kane ’53, the company’s late founder, started the business on the premise of providing high quality food with great service in urban areas.
“This isn’t just any cafe to us. This is our flagship. We have a lot of history here,” said Mohammad O. Kaddoura, the area director of the Harvard Square location.
Harvard Square is the third location to be remodeled, and Au Bon Pain invested about $1 million in the project.
“The [previous design] was fine too, but you have to change,” patron Ernie Miller said.
The employees are in the process of informing guests how the new system works by offering tours through the cafe. Remodeling will continue in the spring with new outside seating.
“We want students to stop in and let us know how they like it. The more we can engage in Harvard, the better,” Morelli said.
—Staff writer Kerry M. Flynn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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