Restaurant Development & Design

September-October 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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5 0 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7 an existing location and incorporating them so they do not look and feel like an afterthought. Gamble advises, "When consider- ing the flow and moving customers through a space, the goal is to prompt them to choose either a path to the ordering line or proceed to the online pickup area." The ordering line could be at a kiosk or at the counter. He adds, "The traffic needs to be fluid to reduce congestion or stopping points and cre- ate continuous flow through the space." Ideally, Gamble notes, dining areas are separated from aisleways. "Some- times they have to be incorporated within the area due to space limitations or retrofitting into existing space," he says. "If this is the case, the goal is to prevent customers from lingering in these areas and reduce the potential of creating a negative dining experience." Impact on the Back of the House Generally speaking, kiosks do not have a significant impact on space in the back of the house. Orders come in to the kitchen in sequence, regardless if they are placed at a counter, at a kiosk or by phone. The method of communicating orders from the front of the house to the back may change, however. Chefs and cooks have traditionally worked from paper order tickets that are stuck on a rail. With kiosks, the process may be a screen-to-screen transfer providing the chef with a digital display. This may re- quire training for staff. "Proper onboard- ing and training on the new technology for all employees is something that needs to be considered," Gabel says. Holding equipment may need to be increased, usually as a result of mobile orders, not in-house, which are picked up immediately. "Holding equipment definitely has an increased presence in most companies adopting mobile-ordering systems," Gamble says. "It's a combination of hold- ing product at the front serving line, backup product and holding customer orders until time of pickup. The main focus is to keep the product moving through these holding methods to ensure quality and freshness." Impact on Staffing and Tipping According to Gabel, exercises can be conducted to see what dining-related tasks staff members still need to per- form. This data can then be used to time and monitor how many of those duties can be performed in one hour with X number of guests. "This will allow you to scale your schedule with fewer employ- ees," he says. Gabel points out that staff in a high-tech order-and-payment environ- ment are a "different kind of employee" from the traditional counter staff. "You're looking at more of a retail em- ployee," he says. "You need someone who understands enough to respond when someone says, 'Does this have nuts on it?' Before, if someone didn't have restaurant experiences, they would not be hired. Now, operators look for Honeygrow, a fast-casual concept based in Philadelphia, wants its customers to see the food being made. The chain features made-to-order salad and stir-fry, both of which can utilize a certain amount of theater in the prep. For this reason, the chain chose to place its touch-screen kiosks on a counter against a nearby wall. The low wall faces the kitchen so that customers can watch when they order. The kiosk area is separated by a glass partition from the prep area. "We want our guests to have a very kitchen-facing expe- rience," says Jen Denis, director of operations and training. "We want them to see how transparent we are about where food comes from and how it is handled." There are four to six kiosks, depending on the size of the location and how much business is forecast. Honeygrow has just opened its 18th loca- tion, in Boston, and is about to open its 19th, in Chicago. The goal of the technology was established by founder Justin Rosenberg, who wanted to increase throughput and put the power of customization in the customers' hands. If someone has allergies or dietary restrictions, they can place their order in private. If anyone has a problem with the tech- nology, there is a Honeygrow ambassador there to help. Guests order exclusively through the kiosks. The only counter person is a cashier. Credit cards and Apple Pay can be used at the kiosks, while cash and gift cards are handled by the cashier. The cashier also helps expedite orders. Honeygrow uses technology that mimics an old-fash- ioned system to alert customers that orders are ready. Called "split flop" signage, it looks like old-fashioned train signs that would flip letters and numbers for departures and arriv- als. "We love the authenticity of mechanical things," Denis says. "And we still love old-fashioned things, so sometimes we take technology and find a way to incorporate it that is a little homey." During off-peak times, the system understands the gap in order frequency and displays marketing mes- sages. If a customer isn't paying attention, the cashier will call out the order. Case Study: Prep Transparency at Honeygrow Make Room for Kiosks

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