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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7 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 Form + Function BY VALERIE KILLIFER, Contributing Editor Prepare for Takeout O perators have several options when making room for takeout within a restaurant's four walls. They can decide to renovate their existing dining room, or they can open new restaurant locations with ample space built in to accommodate takeout customers. Either way, operators have a host of things to consider when making room for takeout operations. Design In terms of a new restaurant design or even a retrofit, creating the space comes with its own set of challenges. If building a restaurant from scratch, the obstacles aren't as great because space can be dedicated to takeout during the design process. Retrofits aren't quite as simple. "It's more cost-effective to use the space that already exists within the building. The downside is it's a space lost to feeding in-store customers," says Jeff Cangro, project manager at starrdesign. "But if you're seeing 35 percent of sales from takeout orders and the dining room is not at capacity all the time, it might be a worthwhile trade. We're seeing restaurants in bigger markets such as New York City completely eliminate the dining room altogether, while others are running multiple delivery-based restaurants out of the same kitchen." The driver behind these changes is the consumer, who now has an increased demand for convenience in terms of how they order and when and how the food gets into their hands. However, they also still want the guest experience. "In terms of the movement toward takeout, we're seeing this as part of the overall guest experience, and restaurants need to ensure they are meeting the guests' needs in terms of access to the brand, mobile payments, calling ahead and skipping the line," says Rob Depp, a senior vice president and principal with design firm FRCH. "The way we think about carryout is that it does need to be an integrated part of the guest experience and part of their 360-degree engagement with the brand. But it also has to be part of the fundamental workflow of the restaurant itself." To accommodate takeout at Washington, D.C.-based chain Sweetgreen, mobile orders are prepared, packaged and checked for accuracy. They are then slid onto a shelf in full customer view so the guest can walk in, find their order and then walk away. Meanwhile, at Velvet Taco in Austin, Texas, there's a separate entrance for takeout orders in the back of the build- ing, a playful nod to the restaurant's underground offering of its back-door chicken. "It's almost like they are cel- ebrating the personality of the brand and also calling attention to it," Depp says. "It really continues the conversation with the consumer in a consistent way." Depp reiterates that if retrofitting an existing location to make room for takeout, operators need to consider the opportunity for growth. "If they are see- ing the category as a whole is growing through takeout, it might be something to invest in," he says. "It also may come down to location. With a high growth potential there, it might be a high level of investment. But for under- performing locations, we would either do a solution where it is signage and a shared cash register as opposed to investing in a contractor and a permit." Overall, design features for takeout should provide customers with a consis-

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