Restaurant Development & Design

WINTER 2014

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

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2 4 • 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 • W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 Consultant's Take information provides a critical baseline that will facilitate designing the right facility resource in the right place at the right time to optimize both the customer journey and the employee journey. Part of this process also involves having the right labor in the right place at the right time. Sometimes restaurant companies try to resolve brand execution problems by throwing labor at the issue, without truly understanding how much is necessary to resolve the challenge or providing guidelines on how to most effectively use the labor provided. This is similar to buying a Lamborghini without knowing how to take it out of frst gear. It is just not going to go very fast or provide the experience that you bought it for. Customers may not be able to specifcally tell you if they had an effcient or pro- ductive experience, but most will feel it if they did not, thus impacting the likelihood of repeat business. Similarly, focusing only on the team member journey and the functional aspects of design without the right retail design in the front of the house might provide custom- ers with a good functional experience but not necessar- ily with a good environmental experience. This scenario could also impact the fre- quency of customer visits. The ability to deliver a good customer experience must take into account a number of retail design elements, such as light- ing, space allocation, table design and arrangement, and sight lines. Additionally, the optimum design must consider all service options the concept offers, includ- ing in-store dining, takeout, delivery, curbside, catering and drive-thru. Depending on the concept, integrate any or all of these elements into the design in a synergis- tic way to drive the right customer and employee experiences at all touch points. This will allow the concept to end up with the best design. Industrial engineering techniques such as time and motion studies, capac- ity and bottleneck analysis, work station and equipment design and real life or computer simulation of the new design paired with the right application of physi- cal and cognitive ergonomics principals, help support functional design optimiza- tion. Similarly, retail-oriented techniques will help support design optimization. These techniques range from initial discovery of the current design, to emula- tor studies of other concepts and story- boarding, to three-dimensional sketches and videos of the new design. The critical third aspect of the design process, brand guidance, is best done by the brand's employees, who lead the design team. As key stakehold- ers, this group's role is to ensure the new design refects the essence of the brand promise and highlights what dif- ferentiates the concept from the com- petition. Sometimes this role incudes deciding if certain aspects of design will be more focused on the customer journey or the team member journey and helping to create the right balance between these two areas to optimize the essence of the brand in the new design. While assisting Domino's Pizza to create its "Pizza Theater" concept, we used an integrated process to help de- sign a new customer experience while maintaining or enhancing the effciency of the employee experience. An integrated approach was also used to help create a new urban design for Au Bon Pain in New York City. Key challenges here included facilitating production and service of as many of the numerous Au Bon Pain menu offerings in as small of a real estate location as possible. A key objec- tive was to develop a design that would be able to process more than 400 customers during their peak hour. Some concepts may be hesitant to follow an integrated approach due to the perceived cost concerns. But this is the best way to ensure an optimum de- sign; the higher the integration between the functional aspect of design and the form aspect of design, guided by the brand requirements and promise, the greater the impact and return on invest- ment of the new design for the concept. Following this integrated approach is the best way to deliver the highest level of proftable hospitality that will fuel brand growth, the ultimate goal of a thriving brand. + One goal of Au Bon Pain's new urban prototype was to be able to execute the chain's diverse menu in as small of a space as possible, while being able to process more than 400 transactions per hour.

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