Restaurant Development & Design

JUL-AUG 2018

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 2 • 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 • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 the experience is, with design being a critical aspect of experience." On an ongoing basis, Chissler's team now conducts consumer research that so- licits feedback on all aspects of the Holler & Dash experience — food and service, of course, but also things like flow, finishes and seating styles. And the company culls data continually from social media, add- ing verbatim feedback and attitudes to the data pool. Chissler personally taps in daily for quick, how-we-did-today insights and relies on an outside marketing firm to provide monthly in-depth social-media performance analytics, which he cross- references against POS data to help identify trends and patterns. Among several data-driven design changes made to the Holler & Dash design since its launch in 2016 are menu boards. "We added a digital board with better pictures, and it changes throughout the day," Chissler says. "We'll be asking questions and gathering data about how the new design is being received on our next set of surveys and continue to fine- tune as the brand moves forward." Another change being made: The company is leapfrogging the kiosk trend, which its data previously suggested was important to incorporate, to focus on mobile-device ordering. "Early on, we looked at how people were ordering and felt based on the research that they wanted the convenience of self-service, so we put kiosks in every unit," Chissler says. "But further research showed us that when we get busy, people will actu- ally just order online via their phone even when eating inside instead of lining up for the kiosk. Moving forward, we won't be including kiosks in the front of house for that reason." Holler & Dash is also analyzing sales data to drive design changes specifically to accommodate takeout and delivery. "Third-party delivery and mobile orders have blown up in the past two years," Chissler notes. "That's something that wasn't in our original design, but the numbers make it clear that we need to go back and make some changes in the kitchen and at the front counter to optimize that trend. And our new restaurants will be designed in a new way, enabling seamless prep and pickup of food to go. We'll likely incorporate smaller seating areas, too." Another standout emerging chain example: Mediterranean fast-casual CAVA, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Ranked No. 37 on the 2018 edition of Fast Company's World's 50 Most Innovative Companies list, CAVA doubled its number of restaurants last year to 45 and increased profitability by 15 percent over 2016, according to the report. A data-driven approach, including hiring an internal team of data scientists a couple of years ago, is credited for helping to put CAVA on the fast track and shining a light on opportunities to enhance productivity, food quality and guest experience. Among the most notable first steps taken by CAVA's team was to install a network of sensors inside select units that monitor everything from customer wait times to kitchen operations. Analy- sis of data provided by the sensors led CAVA to make changes to its queuing areas and menu boards, resulting in greater capacity and faster service. Sen- sors in seating areas also showed usage and behavior trends that led CAVA to re- jigger its prototype for different markets. Specifically, seating space in suburban locations was bumped up by 30 percent to accommodate larger groups and lingerers — both needs highlighted by the data. Josh Patchus, CAVA's chief data scientist, told Fast Company that suburban stores redesigned accordingly saw revenues increase by 20 percent per square foot. Sensors have also been used at CAVA to track decibel levels, in some cases leading to remodels of the order- ing area to put more distance between the register and the serving line where MEETS IN DATA-DRIVEN ART ALGORITHM DESIGNS During development of the Holler & Dash fast-casual concept, extensive front-end research on Millennial demographics, dining habits and brand preferences drove decisions on everything from the style of buildings selected to menu, technology and interior design. Photos by Mark Steele

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