McAlister’s Deli opening on US 75 in Plano
by Teresa Gubbins
The opening of a McAlister’s Deli on its own might not seem cause for pause; there are already about a dozen in Dallas-Fort Worth. But this particular new McAlister’s Deli — opening on US 75 at Plano Parkway in East Plano, in a highly visible spot on the west frontage road, in what was once a Container Store — has a context that’s more intriguing than the usual opening.
“We wanted to be in that area for a number of years,” owner Adam Saxton says. “It’s a great workplace area where McAlister’s can provide people working in that area with a lunch. We have one over in West Plano on Park Lane down from Willow Bend, but we’ve wanted to be in the east part of Plano for a number of years. It was just a matter of finding a spot that made sense.”
If you live near or have spent any time in East Plano, it can seem like there’s not much interest in opening new places in the area, but Saxton says that’s not true.
“I call that a very mature and stable trade area,” he says. “There’s not a lot of turnover in the spaces. Businesses that are there have had success you don’t see. Sometimes in different communities, in newer, less-mature trade areas, you see these new strip centers that have been built but half of the spaces are empty. In those areas where people have lived, worked, and shopped, I would call them mature and stable and conducive to business.”
And while he doesn’t claim that McAlister’s is “high-end,” it’s also not another fast-food joint, either.
“We have service and hospitality, in a fast-casual setting, and a lot of choice with a varied menu,” he says. “Our signature product is our famous sweet tea.”
McAlister’s draws two types of customers.
“During the day it’s people who are working, looking for a reliable dependable spot for lunch to get in and out quickly,” he says. “Also during the day, you see moms and kids. At night, it’s people picking up dinner or eating in after picking up the kids from karate lessons.”
The most previous McAlister’s opened in Rowlett.
“The DFW market is strong,” Saxton says. “All of our locations are performing well and have throughout the economic downturn. I know that higher-end restaurants have suffered. But I believe people still go out and eat lunch every day.”