How Big Brands Are Tackling Kitchen Design and Third Party Delivery Challenges | 2021 Restaurant Franchise and Innovation Summit
Two panel discussions at the recent Franchise and Restaurant Innovation Summit focused on modern kitchen design and third-party delivery services. Experts from several brands shared their perspective on the challenges ahead at the annual Networld Media Group event.
Operations ranging from kitchen design to robotics and third-party delivery were the focus of two panel discussions at the Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit hosted by Networld Media Group and held in Atlanta, Georgia.
The event is one of many restaurant industry summits hosted by Networld Media Group. The media company Quick casual executive summit will take place October 3-5 in Charlotte, NC, and a virtual event #QSRNext, will take place on November 9. Now in its 16th year, the Fast Casual Executive Summit brings together the world’s best brands for three days of interactive sessions that delve into the topics that concern restaurant chefs today.
Modern kitchen design reduces space
In a post-COVID world, restaurant design is changing.
During the “Take Your Kitchen Out of the Dark Ages” At a panel discussion, experts said the footprint of kitchens was shrinking and the idea of ”ghost” kitchens has become more attractive as a way to increase business without increasing overhead costs. Many companies are looking for ways to reduce space and tighten operations.
At Big Chicken, CEO Josh Halpern said his company makes 500 to 600 place settings over 400 square feet, mainly because of the efficient kitchen design. When franchisees walk into the Big Chicken kitchen, they find that there is very little waste or anything to change. The company considered what equipment it was going to use, how it was going to set it up and how to minimize reliance on staff while still hiring staff, he said.
Kevin Kilgore, vice president of Focus Brands, said his company groups design into two categories: restaurants and non-traditional specialty venues like universities, airports and shopping malls. Because some of these locations are impractical, Focus Brands has started co-branding these concepts by the street.
Smashburger vice president of quality management Erin Marcoux said the company had reduced its footprint, sometimes from 2,400 square feet to 1,800 square feet, in part thanks to rising real estate costs.
“We do a lot of things vertically in this space,” Marcoux said. “Verticality is an important thing for us, then the flow. You have to figure out how to get your staff to minimize the steps inside the kitchen. … We switched to an open kitchen design while the grill was at the back of the house, now it’s closer for the guest to have that experience. “
Make third-party delivery your ally
During the “Taming the Beast: How to Make Third Party Delivery Your Ally” Roundtable, CJ Ramirez, senior vice president of Dog Haus, said his company is seeing a drop in third-party delivery but an increase in pickup, so customers have a vested interest in seeing the business succeed. “It means we’ve done a good job talking to our customers and making them feel connected,” Ramirez said.
The consumer is more in touch with brands than ever before, said Sam Stanovich, senior vice president of franchise management at Big Chicken. During the pandemic, third-party delivery services have become necessary for survival, he said, especially with the current labor shortage.
“If you don’t partner with them, you’ve significantly reduced your discovery opportunity, so you need to be integrated with third-party delivery services,” Ramirez added. Third-party delivery services spend more money to grab the attention of customers, he added. The services show up on search engines higher than many brands because they have the money to back them up, he explained.
Jean Schneider, director of franchise development and innovation for The Human Bean, said third-party delivery is important in introducing a brand to new customers. These third-party delivery services reach consumers that brands might otherwise dislike – office workers and retirees.
Adopting the third-party delivery driver is crucial, Stanovich said. “Turn these drivers, especially the good ones, into ambassadors,” he said.
Ramirez said driver safety should be taken seriously because they are the ones who ultimately represent a brand. “When you were able to turn your control room into a shipping and receiving area, it was easy ‘to give drivers their own areas,’ he said.