Carl’s Jr. opens to warm reception at Olympic Village

Business: Unique design allows for second floor with views of Mount Rainier on clear days

of the GatewayMarch 5, 2014 

Carl’s Jr. store manager Jay Richards stands in front of the restaurant, which opened Jan. 31 in the Olympic Village shopping center in Gig Harbor.

JON MANLEY/GATEWAY PHOTO

Carl’s Jr., a restaurant franchise in the Olympic Village shopping center, opened for business on Jan. 31. It’s owned by Jim and Susan Richards, whose oldest son, Jay, is the general manager.

Jay Richards said business is booming.

“Business is great,” he said. “We’re very busy.”

The restaurant has a unique layout with seating on two stories. On a clear day, customers get a nice view of Mount 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,” Jay 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 he used the upstairs seating area as his office while the restaurant was under construction.

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

Richards added the only complaint customers have had about the upstairs seating area is that it’s too small.

“A lot of people, when we’re really busy, it fills up fast,” he 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 — half full-time.

“I have a great group of people, but their schedules are varying,” he 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 who have lived in California, where Carl’s Jr. restaurants are more common. People who haven’t previously been to Carl’s Jr. also have been enthusiastic about the restaurant, he 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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