The latest installment in a commercial renaissance that is changing the landscape of Fort Dodge arrives this week. Perkins Restaurant & Bakery will open for business Thursday at 511 S. 32nd St. - just south of the intersection of Fifth Avenue South and 32nd Street.
The Fort Dodge Perkins will reflect the menu and approach that have made the well-known national brand a success story that spans more than a half century. It will, however, have local ownership and management. The franchise is held by CyHawk Hospitality Inc., which is co-owned by Jim Rahfaldt, of Sioux City, and Leon Klemisch. Rahfaldt said Klemisch, who has recently purchased a home in Fort Dodge, will be at the management helm here.
Rahfaldt said he and Klemisch are excited about their latest venture.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Perkins restaurant manager Leon Klemisch, left, looks over some details on the construction blueprints with Operations Manager Matt Rahfaldt in a nearly completed section of the new establishment at 511 S. 32nd St.
"We have looked at this opportunity for several years," he said, reflecting on the decision to establish a Fort Dodge Perkins. "We finally found the perfect site for our restaurant."
Rahfaldt added that opening this business in Fort Dodge has been made easier by the highly supportive efforts of an array of local officials.
Fort Dodgers will have the opportunity to sample the very latest evolution of Perkins decor.
"We ... are the first franchise or company store that will carry the new Perkins look going forward," Rahfaldt said. "This look is on the exterior and interior."
More than appearance will set this newest addition to the Fort Dodge dining scene apart from the competition, however.
"Perkins is a well-known brand - a restaurant concept with a 50-plus year heritage and a proven ability to adapt to consumer trends and taste preferences," Rahfaldt said. "Perkins Restaurant & Bakery offers guests a full menu of over 90 assorted breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert items at competitive prices, coupled with a commitment to 100 percent guest satisfaction, each and every visit."
In addition to diverse dining options, the restaurant will offer a feature for which Perkins is famous - a bakery.
"All Perkins, this new one included have in-house Bake Shoppes, hence the name Perkins Restaurant & Bakery," Rahfaldt said. "We see this as a competitive advantage and an added value bonus for all of our guests. ... Perkins Bake Shoppes offers a broad selection ranging from Mammoth Muffins and rich cinnamon rolls to luscious cream pies, flaky fruit pies, cookies and more."
The Fort Dodge Perkins will seat approximately 200 guests in three distinct dining rooms. Two private rooms are available for meetings. One of those will seat 45 people, the other 25, Rahfaldt said. There will be WiFi Internet access. The restaurant will be open from 5 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and open 24 hours on Thursday through Saturday.
Rahfaldt said his Fort Dodge restaurant will join the 20 Perkins establishments already in operation in the Hawkeye State and 428 throughout 34 American states and five Canadian provinces. He said 132 of those restaurants are company-owned and 296 franchise operations. According to information on the Perkins corporate website, approximately 25,000 people are employed in the Perkins system.
Operating a restaurant in a slow economy can be a challenge. Rahfaldt said he enjoys working with both the customers and employees to produce a happy result.
"There is nothing better than to hear the guest tell you how great the food and service was and how much they enjoy coming to our restaurant," he said.
He is quick to stress that being attuned to customer needs and preferences is critical to success.
"In a difficult economy, customers are on tight budgets and mindful of their spending," Rahfaldt said. "We have to earn their trust, their business and their loyalty. And, we're committed to doing just that. Bottom line is we're committed to serving high-quality food at a great value, in an environment that is warm and welcoming. All the way around we're determined to provide for a positive dining experience such that our customers want to come back and visit us again."
Asked what message he has for potential patrons, Rahfaldt was quick to respond.
"We look forward to the pleasure of serving you and are thrilled to be bringing Perkins to this community," he said. "For years, Perkins has become synonymous with family dining excellence - great food at a great value, and personalized, friendly service. We look forward to bringing that memorable dining experience to the Fort Dodge community."
Contact Terrence Dwyer at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org