Getting new kitchen equipment up and running is no small task. It can involve operators, dealers, service agencies, skilled trades and general contractors. With so many parties, it’s easy for missteps to occur when attempting to start up a new piece of equipment in either a new kitchen or an existing operation.
The original foodservice convenience, drive-thru options at restaurants have been a big deal for American consumers since at least the 1960s. And while the scope of convenience continues to snowball, drive-thrus remain a big deal and an increasingly critical part of the American foodservice landscape.
Customers’ experience at service lines contributes greatly to their overall dining satisfaction. For staff members, efficiency takes priority in a service line. Their experience in how well the line runs affects their morale and, in turn, how well they interact with customers. Layout and equipment selection contribute to all of the above.
The health halo continues to dominate the incoming wave of menu trends, along with global ingredients. Spirulina (a microalgae), furikake (a Japanese seasoning) and moringa (a plant native to India) all sit among the latest items ripe for adaptation.
The recent rebranding of family dining chains IHOP and Denny’s serve as indicators that the face of family dining continues to change. It comes at a good time, as Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group reports the decline of mid-scale/family dining traffic has bypassed the decline of both casual and fine dining in 2018 compared to the year prior.
Given the tight market conditions that continue to permeate today’s foodservice industry, operators remain wise when they follow the flow of consumers money. Oftentimes following that flow leads right to the beverage business. In fact, beverage programs remain a key ingredient in many operators’ recipe for success.
Operators have always tried to limit the size of their kitchens. After all, a smaller kitchen equals more room for seats -- and more revenue -- from the front of the house.
Some operations, along with industry trends like food halls, take the small kitchen ethos to the extreme, resulting in full kitchens that occupy just a few hundred square feet or even less.
While this can maximize revenue, operators must keep service in mind when they set up shop in such a small space.
On-site diners have typically sought two things: a positive dining experience, created by good service and a pleasing environment, and a variety of high-quality menu items to choose from.
Many kitchens rely on fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) panels for their kitchen walls. Not only are these often cheaper than tile, they’re generally easier to clean and maintain. That doesn’t mean FRP panels are a zero-maintenance item, though.
“Back-of-the-house workflow — receiving, storage, prep, production, service — is ultimately driven by the menu. However, the design of these areas is a well-coordinated dance. The size and plan of one space has an impact on the other,” says James (Jim) Richards Jr., president of PES Design Group, Sarasota, Fla.