Carl's Jr. restaurant opens to warm reception

of the GatewayFebruary 28, 2014 

Carl's Jr. general manager Jay Richards stands in front of the restaurant, in Olympic Village. The restaurant opened Jan. 31.

JON MANLEY — Gateway photo

Carl's Jr. is open for business. The restaurant franchise, in the Olympic Village shopping center, officially opened on Jan. 31. It's owned by Jim and Susan Richards, and their oldest son, Jay, who is the general manager. Jay Richards said business is booming.

“Business is great, we're very busy,” he said.

The restaurant has a unique layout, with seating on two separate stories. On a clear day, customers get a nice view of Mt. Rainier.

“We had a really narrow building, so in order to get the seating that we wanted, we decided to go up to a second floor,” Richards said. “That got us a bit higher so that we could have the view of the mountain and we just wanted to create a unique space up here, something that was different than what people had seen before. I think we've done that.”

Richards said while the restaurant was under construction, he used the upstairs seating area as his office.

“I just didn't want to leave it,” he said.

The only complaint customers have had about the upstairs seating area is that it's too small, Richards said.

“A lot of people, when we're really busy, it fills up fast,” Richards said. “When you can get a seat, and for most of the day, you can, it's just a really nice place to sit. We've had a great response to it.”

The restaurant has 42 employees, with about half being full-time, and the other half being part-time. Managing the schedules of 42 different people was a challenge, initially.

“I have a great group of people, but their schedules are varying,” Richards said. “I have a lot of students, so piecing together a schedule that worked initially was a bit of a challenge. Other than that, everyone has been really flexible.”

Richards said there are a lot of people in the area that have lived in California, and seeing Carl's Jr. is exciting for them. People who are new to Carl's have also been enthusiastic about the restaurant, Richards said.

“We offer a unique experience here, and something that is far different from what our competitors offer,” Richards said. “That's seen immediately when you drive up and look at the restaurant, seen when you step in, and seen with our service and when people try our food.”

Reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at jon.manley@gateline.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.

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