Managing the Pendulum-Integrated Design Options

Here is a look at three different ways foodservice operators can go about pursuing an integrated design for their concepts.

As a sequel to my previous blog, I want to offer some additional thoughts on one of my favorite topics: integrated design. I was given the honor by FCSI (Foodservice Consultants Society International), an organization that I proudly belong to, to write an article on this topic a few years ago.

Hopefully you understand the importance of undertaking a design effort that addresses both retail design (form) and team member design (function) to maximize the impact of the project. If not, then skip reading this blog sequel, and read the prior one I wrote titled "Drive-Thru Design-Managing the Pendulum."

Foodservice operators can facilitate an integrated design effort by leveraging several approaches:

Internal

With an internal integrated design effort the work is done by the different departments within the foodservice operator's organization, without any outside influence or guidance. The primary advantage of such an approach is that typically internal departments have a phenomenal depth of experience with their brand, including history of what has transpired previously. The primary disadvantage is that such an effort would miss the breadth of knowledge that outside organizations could bring to bear due to the vast experience they have picked up along the way. This can include some industry best practices that may be new to the internal design team.

External – Using the Same Organization

As the name implies, an external design effort is one where outside organizations assist the foodservice operator, be they commercial or non-commercial, with the project. There are two ways to execute this option: having the same outside company offer both retail and operational design services from within their staff, or having two outside and separate organizations offer such support, which leads me to the third way to approach integrated design.

External – Using Multiple Organizations

The primary difference between this option and the first two is that using multiple outside organizations generally has a higher likelihood of generating a design that balances both side of the pendulum: form, meaning it provides a good experience for the customer journey, and function, meaning it allows for a good experience for the team member as they journey through their shift.

In my experience, using separate outside consulting and design organizations tends to work best because the foodservice operator is more engaged with the design process and gets to hear multiple perspectives, including the advantages and disadvantages of the ideas being considered and can draw from multiple experiences to develop a design that provides optimum balance.

I have been fortunate to work under each of these design scenarios during my more than three decades in the foodservice industry. My thoughts and observations on these approaches are based on my experience with each one. As you can imagine, there are many other aspects and ramifications of these different design options, but such a write-up would likely take a book.

At the end of the day, the objective of a design effort is to end up with a concept that swings the design pendulum to the right spot, so the customer journey and team member journey are both optimized. This is the best way to maximize the profits and customer hospitality that will drive brand growth.
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