Restaurant Design and Development, and Concept Development

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Restaurant Concept Killers

There is a new fast casual Indian food concept in New York that has excellent food, nice styling, good prices, and if you go at 2:30 pm great service. It is serveline service (Chipotle style), but if you go at 12:30 pm, then you are in trouble. If there are 12 or more people in the queue then a wait time of 15 minutes or more can be expected. If the line is to the door, then 20 minutes plus. Throughput is of aabout 120 customers an hour. And if one of the customers brings in a multiple item order for his office mates, then it totally collapses.

pretamanger Restaurant Concept Killers chipotle mexican grill Restaurant Concept Killers chipotle queue line 300x225 Restaurant Concept Killers

Why? Simple, they have a suate staton in the middle of the serveline, and an order takes 2 to 4 minutes to get completed in this station. This is like putting a traffic light in the middle of the FDR. Without traffic, you have  50/50 chance of stopping foe a minute or two at the traffic light. At rush our it would back the FDR up to the top of the Manhattan island. This is a concept killer. Throughput for a fast casual lunch place in that part of town (with high store lease costs) needs to be over 200 per hour.

Is this saute station attractive, good show, make customer feel he is getting freshly made food, yes to all. Could it be done to not close down the line? Yes with proper analysis of throughput, queueing theory, modelling and design.

How did this concept killer come about? probably because the owners/partners/chef said it was an integral part of th concept. Does it work? No.

Concept killers are usually the result of owner/partner/investor/chef/creators fixed idea that it is an integral part of their concept. It takes many forms and shapes, some times it is a menu item that is expensive to make, requires high skills to execute, and when you look at the sales figures, is only bought by 2% or less of the customers, but its effect on throughput, design, labor skills will make the concept fail.

Or it can be somebody doing a concept based on their grandmothers meatball recipe, even if they offer twelve varieties of meat ball, how many times a month or week would people eat meatballs?

Concept killers come in all kind  of disguises, and it is important in the design of a concept to analyze how to deal with them, and turn that supposed asset of an idea into something that will make the concept succeed and not kill it.

Some restaurant concept have got it right, and they succeed (Chipotle, Pret, Starbucks)

My 5 cents…



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