Friede News & Updates

HuHot Mongolian Grill: Creating a New Franchise Standard

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 22, 2018 9:38:00 AM / by Scott G. Truehl

Scott G. Truehl

HuHot Mongolian Grill Exterior | Friede & Associates
Friede & Associates’ work for HuHot Mongolian Grill earned a Silver Award as a Project of Distinction from the
Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin.

What happens when installers aren’t available to get architectural panels prepared and installed on time to meet schedule? For Friede & Associates the answer was simple: Get the firm’s own staff to cut and form the Trespa Architectural panels needed for HuHot Mongolian Grill’s new building – and install the panels so everything was ready for opening day.

That was only one of several challenges Friede & Associates, working with Architectural Design Consultants, Inc. (ADCI), faced during the project.

  • The construction site was very tight, bordered by streets on three sides. The construction method was selected to fit a condensed construction schedule and the small site size.
  • The Village of Lake Delton had recently adopted some new design standards that made for a lengthy approval process.
  • To provide parking for an estimated 175+ customers, a small site across an alley from the main build site had to be purchased and the additional feature had to be added to the site plan.
  • Old and outdated utilities had to be removed and new ones installed. The location was formerly home to a gas station, and cleanup was required for soil contaminated by a rusted fuel line.

And it all had to be done within a six-month construction schedule, so the restaurant could be open in time for Automotion, the largest and most popular car show of the year in the Wisconsin Dells. Held in May, it’s the first major local tourist event of the summer. Over the course of the weekend, more than 1,200 classic cars and an estimated 100,000 people are drawn to the area. Friede & Associates worked closely with ADCI on the $1.4 million project. Construction began in November 2016 and the restaurant opened for business in May 2017.

While there were challenges, there were some unexpected boons as well, most importantly the unseasonably warm weather.
HuHot Mongolian Grill Interior | Friede & AssociatesThe warmer-than-usual temperatures helped to keep construction on schedule. “A little bit has been Mother Nature giving us a break, and Friede Construction has done the things they need to do to mitigate impact from your typical frozen tundra,” HuHot Director of Design and Construction Erik Plunkett told Wisconsin Dells Events. “We’ve had a little bit of luck and good planning as well.”

HuHot Mongolian Grill opened its first location nearly 20 years ago and now boasts 60 locations in 17 states. It’s a build-your-own-stir-fry restaurant where customers choose from fresh ingredients including meat, seafood, noodles, fresh vegetables, and signature sauces. Customers can watch the food being prepared in front of them on a massive Mongolian-style grill.

Before the start of the project, the design-build team went to the Oshkosh HuHot location to look at the interiors, the centerpiece grill – and of course, check out the food. The information that was gathered helped with the design of the new build in Lake Delton, just the second stand-alone restaurant for the company, and more importantly, the new corporate standard for the franchise.

As a prototype for the entire chain of HuHot restaurants, extensive communication and collaboration with key stakeholders, including corporate architects and senior franchise management, was essential.
Product selection and building aesthetics discussions were held regularly from the start of the design process to completion of construction. The exterior skin of the 5,200-square-foot building has a distinctive mix of stone, EIFS (Exterior Insulating Finishing System) in grays and tans, glass, and metal. It’s an eye-catching design clearly visible to traffic and pedestrians at a busy nearby intersection.

Inside, the soft, flowing architectural look was achieved with extensive drywall soffits with corporate wallpaper. The restaurant has a casual, lighthearted atmosphere with plenty of open space. The walls are decorated with hand-painted murals reflecting Mongolian folk tales.

The centerpiece of the new restaurant is a 1,900-pound circular grill that measures 6 feet in diameter.
HuHot Mongolian Grill Chefs | Friede & AssociatesThe size and the weight of the grill and its packaging required that installation take place before the walls were completed and glass entryway installed. The Friede crew hoisted the grill in its protective crate and placed it on a set of heavy duty wheel assemblies inside the building. Local HuHot owner Bill Trevorrow told Wisconsin Dells Events, “[The grill] is our biggest piece of equipment. It’s where 95 percent of the cooking happens.”

ABC Projects of Distinction Award | Wisconsin | Friede & AssociatesThe Projects of Distinction Awards, presented by ABC of Wisconsin, recognize merit construction projects that meet stringent standards for safety, unusual circumstances, challenges, distinctiveness, and overall quality of construction. 

If you’re looking for a team that can overcome challenges and give you a result worthy of a Project of Distinction Award, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Friede & Associates does more than just build structures. We take our clients' ideas and make them a reality. Our pre-construction services include site analysis, financing, approvals, permitting, cost control, scheduling, and much more. If you need a well-oiled team to help you get your project off the ground, contact us today.

Download How to Get More Building for less eBook | Friede & Associates

About Friede:

When you select Friede & Associates, you are buying more than our quality-assured construction services. You also get the performance and reliability of some of the top suppliers and subcontractors in the area. While other contractors may be cutting quality to remain competitive on price, Friede is forging relationships with members of the project team to bring you the best value and highest quality for your investment.

About HuHot Mongolian Grill:

HuHot Mongolian Grills, LLC opened its first restaurant in Missoula, MT in 1999. The first franchise was opened in 2002. The company emphasizes fast, fresh, healthy, customer-oriented food in full-service restaurants. Last year was one of the biggest growth years for HuHot Mongolian Grill as it opened several new restaurants and was anticipating the addition of several more in coming months. HuHot is ranked in Franchise 500 by Entrepreneur and on Technomic's Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. It was also ranked as one of Franchise Times Next 300 Franchise Chains.

Topics: awards, ABC-Wisconsin

Scott G. Truehl

Written by Scott G. Truehl

Executive Vice President & Partner—With more than 30 years of experience in site selection and commercial development, Scott is responsible for assisting clients with not only their project development, but also their site analysis/acquisition, municipal approval and development needs. Scott is an active member and presenter at the international Construction Leadership Network and is a speaker at both national and state contracting conferences on topics including: creating a positive corporate culture; marketing construction services; design-build construction; and working with Realtors and developers. He also routinely participates in “Meet the Generals” programs around the state of Wisconsin and speaks to hundreds of trade contractors each year on how to effectively work with general contractors. For more than three decades, Scott has served the Wisconsin community in various roles: as a city councilman in Madison and Stoughton, as well as on numerous municipal boards, committees and economic development commissions.

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