Restaurant Design and Development, and Concept Development

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Fast Casual Lunch Success Guidelines

Fast Casual Restaurants lunch business can make up 80% of the daily trade, compressed in two hours of service. This is especially true for downtown locations, with a customer base that in most cases only has 30 minutes for lunch, and wants to spend around U$ 10.00 for a good quality meal

.chipotle mexican grill Fast Casual Lunch Success Guidelines pretamanger Fast Casual Lunch Success Guidelines

The concepts that have done this well are Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pret a Manger. Both these have a target service time of 1 1/2 minutes. Pret from the moment you make your first choice to having your selection paid and in your hand. Chipotle 1 1/2 minutes is from when you start placing your order at the serveline till you are paid with your order in your hand. In Chipotles case, even if there is a queue to the door, this is typically twice the length of the serveline, so you would be out in less than five minutes.

The key is to do this consistently, all through the rush and day, then the customer will trust you as a place they can have lunch and not be stressed for time.

The other factor these concepts have in common, is that none of them take orders and print tickets. The problem with tickets and numbers, is that once you have a ticket or a number in your hand, you are usually paid up, and now you have no control over your time. You wait, sometimes 5 minutes, but could be 15 minutes or more. This is where that concept stops been a viable quick lunch option for a heavy lunch location.

Many concepts, under low load situations can consistently complete the ticket in 5 minutes, but if a customer walks in, with a list and orders 10 things, the system collapses, and from 5 minutes, the wait for customers coming behind goes to 14 or 20 or more, and if it happens at the beginning of the lunch rush, it is impossible now to recover.

Ways to deal with the large orders, or even for smaller pick-up order is to build a separate line for large orders, take out, online ordering.

How does one accomplish the 1 1/2 minute or consistent times? Working with the menu design, how the food is made, how it is held, how orders are assembles, how easy it is for the customer to understand and place their order, and how the concepts team is trained to help the customer through the order process.

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