Restaurant Design and Development, and Concept Development

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Fast Casual

Fast Casual Restaurant Consulting: The Fast Casual Restaurant has developed in the last 20 years. Leaders in this segment are Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera, Pret A Manger, all following different design and service models. Maverick Consultants worked as the restaurant consultant with Chipotle Mexican Grill, Roti Mediterranean Grill, Noodles and Co, Sweetgreen among others

chipotle fast casual Fast Casual Sweetgreen Washington DC1 300x199 Fast CasualRoti Mediterranean Grill Restaurant Bethesda 300x200 Fast Casual

Roti Mediterranean Grill Restaurant

Maverick Consultants has developed and designed fast casual restaurant concepts in the US and in international markets. Maverick Consultants worked with Chipotle Mexican Grill designing the kitchen and serveline, as well as building the first Chipotles in Europe (London and Paris). Maverick also worked for 10 months as the restaurant consultant with the Chipotle team designing and developing Shophouse Asian Kitchen, new Thai concept based on the Chipotle service model.

Brand Segment

Number US stores

Sales U$/store

Serve format
Chick-Fil-A Chicken



Multiple POS
Panera Bread Sandwich



Order + Number
Chipotle Mexican



Five Guys Burger



Order + Number
Starbucks Coffee/Snack





In the design of Fast Casual Restaurant Concepts, the restaurant consultant working with the customer, starts with the menu, develops the service model and the menu boards. The service model as the interface between the customer and the restaurant team, dictates the rest of the design and layout.

If the menu items can all be cooked and held for service (without degrading quality), then the menu board and serveline is designed for the customer to advance down the serveline building their food order, and paying at the end. With well-designed menus and menu boards, throughputs of more than 250 customers per hour are possible. Customer fulfillment from order to paying can take less than a minute and a half. This is the Chipotle model.

If the menu is such that the food is made to order, and takes more than two minutes, then the most efficient service model is for the customer to order and pay first, at which time they are given a receipt, or their name is taken, or they are given a number for their table. Fast Casual Restaurant Concepts following this service model are Noodles and Co, COSI, Panera, 5 Guys.

Starbucks has a mixed model, where the quick serve items are ordered and paid, and the special drinks (that take more time) have the customer name and drink description written on the cup, and customer waits for order to be fulfilled.

The Pret-A-Manger model involves premaking the menu items. Customer self serves these items (sandwiches, pastries, salads, soups), and then goes to the POS to pay, at which time some items are finished.

One of the biggest challenges in the fast casual restaurant market is how to keep the throughput constant, and avoid ticket times increasing above 5 to 6 minute. This will happen when a customer orders multiple items for his friends or coworkers, and the line collapses, and from under 6 minutes, the ticket time goes to 10 or 20 minutes for all customers after that one. With most customers only having 30 minutes for lunch, that fast casual restaurant concept stops been a viable lunch stop.

Menu diversity has to be considered, as a fast casual concept with a very focused menu will be a once a week place, and also will not be a place a group of customers will go to if they all don’t want to eat the same food.

The other design considerations the restaurant consultant must define is how many of the menu items are prepared and cooked in house, and how much can be done in a commissary. This decision will depend on the cooking skill levels required, the quality and freshness (some items can be made better in a commissary than in each restaurant), cost, deliveries and availability of a commissary (concept owned or third party)

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

-          Chipotle Mexican Grill

-          Roti Mediterranean Grill

-          Noodles and Co

-          Sweetgreen

-          Shophouse