Restaurant Development & Design

SEP-OCT 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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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 • 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 • 4 9 the off-premise space. The company has a program called Launch a Kitchen that can provide the infrastructure and soft- ware for operators to open a delivery-only location. Their benefit is to reduce capital expenses and non-food operational costs. How to Get to the Future How should restaurant operators plan for the future? How should they strive to ap- ply technology in their operations? Over- all, experts caution operators not to use technology for novelty's sake but, rather, to use it in a way that supports the brand promise and makes the most sense for solving labor and operational issues. Start with the brand, not the tech- nology, advises Robb Depp, senior vice president and principal of FRCH Design Worldwide. "We ask: What is the over- arching brand experience? What can we deliver to consumers that can resonate with that audience? We don't want to be so focused on the novelty of a particular technology offering that it disconnects or fragments the brand. "I don't think the end game of every restaurant is to become a humanless, technology-driven experience," Depp adds. "It would feel too sterile. Compa- nies have to think about where they want to exist in the mindset of consumers. We do know that consumers use restaurant brands and experiences in a different way — there certainly are those moments when you want to immerse yourself in the food and the place, and there are other times when it is more transactional, func- tional food just to power through the day." It all comes down to the brand's promise. "Look at what you do to deliver the brand. Understand it in a lot of detail. Know what's driving your labor. It's really a profit-reengineering effort," Martinez says. "Look at the process to deliver the brand — delivery, prep, assembly, taking orders — and identify a set of solutions. It's like the old-fashioned time and motion studies. You can quantify potential savings with automation or technology. You just need a continuous-improvement mentality." And develop a business case for adopting technology, Kennedy adds. "The future is an evolution more than anything. Technology is going to get better. People will have to learn how to handle it." Indeed, while technology continues to drive change at an unprecedented rate, Riehle offers a poignant perspec- tive: "In the end, technology must make the restaurant experience more conve- nient for the consumer." One thing that won't change? Consumers' taste for delicious food. What will change "is how it is prepared, how it is ordered, how it is delivered," LeFranc predicts. + Zume Pizza's robotic system can produce 375 pizzas per hour. Image courtesy of Zume Pizza

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