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Make that to go

Believe it or not, too many customers can pose a problem for a business.

Takeout orders at Kaleidoscope Pizza on Crater Lake Highway now account for close to a third of the company's sales. The problem is those customers were competing for oven space with the hundreds of diners seated at the popular pizzeria.

A while back, Kaleidoscope owner Kristi Haavig's manicurist remarked she waited an hour and a half for pizza on a Friday night.

"That's when I realized we had a problem," Haavig said. "We knew it was getting there, but when someone actually tells you, it's time to do something."

After nearly 15 years of operation, morphing and expanding, Kaleidoscope is taking a unique approach to its landslide takeout business. A building across the parking lot has been renovated, outfitted with a kitchen matching the main restaurant, and will serve as the takeout location beginning the first week in October.

"The customers in the restaurant have always had the first priority," Haavig said. "But there has been more competition for orders to go; this will be a game changer." 

Takeout, which accounted for between 20 and 25 percent of the pizzeria's business two years ago, has grown by about 50 percent since then. A crowded lobby and jammed parking lot suggested something had to give.

"When we came back from the Pizza Expo in Las Vegas in March 2015, we had the conversation," she said. "It was something we had to do."

Haavig and her husband, Jake Allmaras, already owned adjacent property fronting Delta Waters Road, clearing the most difficult hurdle. Few building projects, however, get done overnight.

The new takeout location at 1923 Delta Waters Road, just east of a Purple Parrot, once belonged to Valley Custom Pools. With an eye on the future, Kaleidoscope's owners acquired the property in 2007. Haavig run Prism Espresso Bar & Resale Boutique in the building for a time. But in recent months, the 1,944-square-foot building underwent an $800,000 renovation and expansion led by Akery Construction and Consulting.

"It has a lobby, and beer and wine will be available to go," she said. "Everything the restaurant has will be there."

Everything but tables and chairs.

"It won't have a place to eat or drink beer," Haavig said.

Hours will vary, depending on demand, but it will open at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

On any given day, Kaleidoscope employs 110 people, and it will take 10 to 15 people to operate the new outlet with a bank of five phones. The original target date was early September, but kitchen equipment is still being installed. With the kitchen duplicating the dine-in set up, the takeout location will provide a training ground for salad and front-of-house managers.

Customers shouldn't find the transition too difficult, Haavig said. Although the takeout location is accessible from either direction on Delta Waters, she anticipates many customers will enter from the parking lot.

"It's well marked and well lit, and we have neon signs," she said.

Kaleidoscope acquired a new point-of-sale system last year and will offer online ordering in the near future.

"We'll have the capacity to take orders on tablets at the table, too," Haavig said. "There are a lot of things on the horizon, we just had to get this going first so the other can follow."

 — Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

Kristi Haavig walks through the new kitchen at Kaleidoscope Pizza's take-out building on Delta Waters Road in Medford. [Mail Tribune / Andy Atkinson]
Workers get the sign in place at the new Kaleidoscope Pizza take-out building, expected to open in early October. [Mail Tribune / Andy Atkinson]