Restaurant Design and Development, and Concept Development

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Casual Dining

Restaurant Consultants for Casual Dining: Casual Dining restaurants are full serve restaurants, with in an informal friendly environment. For the restaurant consultant this is the most diverse segment, ranging from chains and multi-unit restaurant groups like TGIF, Cheesecake Factory and Red Lobster to single restaurants from diners to ethnic, as well as bars and grills, pubs, bistros, brasseries.  This segment represents 32% of restaurant sales.

PB Boulangerie and Bistro Wellfleet Cape Cod MA 300x224 Casual Dining Shadows on the Hudson Casual Dining Poughkeepsie NY Casual Dining Ping Pong Restaurant Open Kitchen Casual Dining

Maverick Consultants recognizes the uniqueness of each casual dining restaurant concept. The one common element for the restaurant consultant to consider in the design is that customers are served at a table (or a bar), order from a menu, and pay once the meal is over.  There are some variations like pubs and gastro pubs, where food is ordered at the bar.

Restaurant Group

2012 U.S. Sales ($000)

2012 U.S./Unit

2012 $ Avge/unit

Applebee’s

4,506,021

1,885

2,400.000

Chili’s Grill & Bar

3,700,000*

1,275

2,900,000

Olive Garden

3,632,000

803

4,650,000*

Red Lobster

2,643,000

679

3,900,000*

Buffalo Wild Wings

2,473,983

884

2,800,000

Outback Steakhouse

2,396,000

771

3,200,000

TGI Friday’s

1,722,000*

555

3,000,000*

The Cheesecake Factory

1,597,500

162

10,100,000

Texas Roadhouse

1,544,331

388

4,085,000

Ruby Tuesday

1,320,000*

743

1,750,000*

*Technomic estimate / Source: 2013 Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report

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The expectation of customers has changed over the years, and the casual dining restaurant market has divided into two broad categories with different customer bases:

-          Casual Dining restaurant chains such as TGIF, Ruby Tuesday, Red Lobster, Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden for example, where the distinguishing factor used to be the unique ambiance, the bar scene, some specialty menu items. Over time, these distinctions have become less noticeable, as one group tries to emulate the success of others, and in many cases these restaurants stopped been destination restaurants, and in some cases, who had better parking. A few of these full serve groups have been able to keep their unique identity, and have prospered as a result.

-          Single casual dining restaurants can be found in every city, town and village, and some have ended up forming regional restaurant and hospitality groups.  The restaurant rescue television programs have highlighted many of the problems of these restaurants. The key to success is to serve food your customer wants, food to be unique and tasteful, quality and consistency from day to day, good ambiance and service, and timely service.

Maverick Consultants customers in the full service restaurant segment include large 450 to 550 seat restaurants that will do over 1,200 covers on a Saturday and have a multi-page menu, to small restaurants with 40 to 80 seats that offer a small focused menu. The restaurant consultants design process begins with the menu and the ambiance, and from here the front of the house look and feel is developed, and the expo table (order pick-up) and kitchen is designed. One critical aspect to a profitable well run restaurant is that the cooking processes be designed to be process dependent and not based on chefs and cooks skill. Mapping the preparation and cooking of the menu items is a critical first step, and if done properly will result in the customer receiving quality food consistently and in a timely manner. In a well designed and developed restaurant, the ticket times for all menu items is kept under 7 minutes, allowing for orders for a given table all to be cooked at the same time, and be ready for the wait staff to serve freshly cooked and on time.

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Maverick Consultants Case Studies for Casual Dining Restaurants (link) :

-          Shadows on the Hudson

-          Ping Pong (London, Dubai, Washington, Sao Paulo)

-          2 Ovens by Bertucci

-          Fortina Restaurant (Armonk NY)

-          Skylark on the Hudson