Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 2015

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

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J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 5 • 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 • 6 3 Form + Function R estaurant queuing evokes different responses in people depending on their relation- ship to the line. If you're an operator standing at the front of a long, snaking line, you're happy. Business is good. If you're a customer joining the end of a long, snaking line, however, you're probably not happy. You're probably hungry and possibly in a hurry. Keeping guests happy by making that wait as short and painless as possible requires good queue design and management strategies. We turned to three prolifc design consultants — Bob Welty, Andy Simpson and Tom Kowalski — for some tips on how to get it right. The End of the Line Consumers make a decision when they walk in the door and see a line. Is it worth it? Preventing a line from stack- ing up in the front of the store repre- sents one of the biggest challenges, ac- cording to Bob Welty, executive creative director of WD Partners. "One of the things we've seen is, if people come by and see a big line, they will pass," he says. "This is a cardinal sin. You have to keep them away from the front door. It's an art to lay out the area so that you pull them deeper into the space." Speaking of the front door, open- ing it should not be one of the barriers to entry. Tugging at a heavy door does not start the queuing experience in a positive manner, particularly for elderly guests, moms with kids in tow or guests with special needs. Once customers enter the opera- tion, they should understand imme- diately what to do and where to go to enter the end of the queue. They should not feel confused or foolish. Welty says he likes to create an 8-foot diam- eter space in the entryway for guests. "We call it our orientation zone," he explains, where guests can experience visual cues guiding them to line up to place their order. Andy Simpson, chief creative of- fcer at Restaurant Design and Devel- opment and a consultant with Results Thru Strategy, cautions that an operator should not need signage to let guests know where to queue up. "If you need a sign, it means there is something you've missed as far as visual cues, like light- ing or fooring," he says. For instance, narrow beam spots can provide a "fol- low the dots" scenario on the foor. He likes the lighted arrow trained on the foor that he saw at one concept. Wait time has to do with speed of service and the expectations surround- ing that speed. Tom Kowalski, senior director of restaurant experience at Interbrand Design Forum, points out the difference between QSR and fast-casual lines. "In QSR, the line is typically bunched up in front of the order coun- ter. You're in a crowd. With fast casual, it's a part of the experience, and it's not necessarily a negative thing." Even if it's crowded in a QSR, a BY CAROLINE PERKINS, Contributing Editor On Queue Keeping guests happy by making that wait as short and painless as possible requires good queue design and management strategies.

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