Yard House Restaurants has relocated its Irvine Spectrum home office to a nearby nine-story building most recently occupied by DaimlerChrysler. The company, which renovated its entire third floor suite to create a more eco-friendly environment, is located at 7700 Irvine Center Drive in the heart of Orange County, California’s financial center.
The new offices, whose exterior is dominated by the company’s name, resembles the sleek and industrial design of a Yard House restaurant. A mix of cool black hues, steel elements, warm wood accents and original abstract art by OrangeCounty artist Jerome Gastaldi have a familiar and inviting feel. Even the break room, which has a pool table for lunchtime recreation, shares the same collection of high-top tables reminiscent of a Yard House restaurant. And, of course, classic rock music, another of the company’s sensory experiences, is piped throughout the suite.
Complementing Gastaldi’s works are larger-than-life photographs depicting Yard House team members at work and architectural shots of the various Yard House locations. One image, which shows a bulldozer and the debris it’s left behind, is particularly humbling. The picture was taken along the Long Beach waterfront during the construction of the very first Yard House. These images, along with communal murals created during the company’s annual participation in the Orange County Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, punctuate the public walls creating a gallery-like effect throughout.
When redesigning the 25,000-square-foot space, Yard House was deliberate in its efforts to create less waste throughout the process. Existing metal studs were reused while most areas remained intact to avoid the need for any unnecessary drywall material. Furniture was also reused or reconfigured and used alongside furnishings brought over from the company’s former offices. Any unneeded items, such as desks, sofas or tables, were donated to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization providing emergency assistance to military troops and the families they leave behind as well as wounded soldiers returning home.
Wood flooring made from the highest standards of sustainable forest management and free from toxic materials was selected along with carpeting spun from recycled fibers. Motion sensors, hygienic energy-efficient hand dryers and drought-resistant plants have all been installed to further minimize Yard House Restaurant’s carbon footprint. The company also plans to implement a building-wide recycling program at its new home.
“It’s been really inspiring to create an environmentally friendly setting for our team members,” said Harald Herrmann, president and CEO of Yard House Restaurants. “As we continue to green our restaurants, both existing and newly constructed, it’s been extremely rewarding to implement our eco-friendly philosophy at ground zero.”
The greening of the company’s home offices is evidenced throughout. To discourage the use of disposable cups, team members were given a welcome gift upon arriving to their new office space: BPA-free Yard house logo drink containers with reusable straws. Throughout the day team members can refill their cups with beverages from soft drink machines or iced-tea dispensers, which also eliminate added waste from individual bottles and cans. Self-operating espresso machines, which dispense a variety of coffee concoctions, are also available along with an assortment of ceramic mugs. The company is helping to implement a building-wide recycling program as well.
The company, which expanded this year into Texas and Massachusetts, also gained added square footage as a result of the move.
“We had simply outgrown our former offices,” added Herrmann. “When we moved there in 1999 we had three restaurants and a modest space, which suited are needs just fine. When we vacated the premises last month we were housed on two floors with a portfolio of 30 Yard House restaurants. The move enabled us to centralize everything on one floor creating a more cohesive work environment.”
As a result the company has a centralized mailing room, a lunch and entertainment area with a pool table and flat screen television for team members’ enjoyment, and a pair of spacious conference rooms in which to conduct business.
While the auto industry is struggling nationwide, the restaurant business, at least in OrangeCounty, seems to be thriving. Yard House is the second Irvine-based restaurant company to take over office space once occupied by an automaker. Taco Bell, located just down the road from Yard House Restaurants, moved its operations earlier this year to a building that most recently housed Ford’s Premier Auto group before it was disbanded.
“As soon as word got out that Yard House Restaurants was looking to relocate its home offices, my phone didn’t stop ringing,” said Shane Wilder of Grubb & Ellis, who brokered the deal on behalf of Yard House Restaurants. “Yard House is the idyllic tenant. While other companies are downsizing, Yard House continues to expand into new markets with success and is a well-known brand in OrangeCounty.”
Yard House recently opened its second Las Vegas location at Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa last month. The company is readying to open in Hallandale Beach, Florida, in the next few months with Downtown Denver at the 16th Street Mall to follow later in the year. Leases have just been signed for Santana Row in San Jose, California; Boston, Massachusetts; Roseville, California; and Westchester County, New York, about 10 miles from Manhattan.
The Yard House home office is located at 7700 Irvine Center Drive in the city of Irvine off Highway 133 at the Barranca Parkway exit. For more information, call 949.727.0959 or go online at www.yardhouse.com.