• Architectural firm anticipates national design contract with Domino's

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Liquid Design, an architectural firm in Charlotte hopes it soon will be the designer of all Domino's Pizza stores in the U.S.

According to the Charlotte Business Journal, Michael Williams, Mike Standley and Jeffrey Gustin, the ownership trio of the two-year-old firm, worked with local Domino's franchisee Mack Patterson and discovered store problems that appeared to have little to do with design.

For example, part of Patterson's employee retention problem, the team found out, was connected to the store being too hot.

"People would work there for two months, then quit," Williams said.

Liquid Design developed a prototype that more than doubled the air-conditioning capacity at each of Patterson's stores. It also suggested the installation of drive-through windows to increase volume.

Those innovations, coupled with unusual designs that include atriums and splashy color, caught the attention of Domino's Ann Arbor, Mich., corporate officials, and Patterson's stores have since become a model for the pizza-delivery giant. Liquid Design now hopes to be awarded a contract soon to design Domino's stores on a national scale.

In keeping with Domino's design philosophy, however, Liquid Design won't apply a cookie-cutter approach. Rather, the firm plans to develop a half dozen or so prototypes that can be reconfigured specifically for each market.

"We're looking for architecture that creates living environments, because people spend a majority of their lives in these spaces," Williams says.

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