Put the idea in ink

Building a fast-food restaurant to handle a large crowd, yet maintain the occupancy load to below 25 is difficult. Any higher occupancy will require additional washroom. This 1,400 sq. ft. unit is too small to accommodate another washroom. There is no doubt in my mind that an open kitchen concept with a long serving line is the only option. I used Smartdraw software to layout the floor plan with equipment in place.

Then went on to hire a drafter to detail the drawing in AutoCAD. I was told a few occasions I don’t need to hire a licensed architect to check and seal my floor plan. (including Building Review Branch inquiry counter) The unit area is small enough to save architect fee, I was told. Eventually, I need an architect seal on drawings. The reason given was that the gross building exceeds 470 m². I was downhearted but I understand by hiring an architect to ensure everything done right is inevitable.

Staffing

At least two kitchen servers, one cleaner, and one cashier on staff at all time. To maximize efficiency, the open kitchen divided into two zones. The cool zone prepares and serves sushi, salad, and desserts. The Warm zone prepares and serves soup, rice dishes, comfort food, etc. Ideally, one employee attends each zone. When busy, a helper for each zone will ease the traffic. The close proximity allows kitchen staff to find everything needed within reach. The cashier will not enter the kitchen, always use the swing door on the right side of the cashier counter to enter and exit out of the open kitchen area. The cashier should not touch unpackage food or enter into the kitchen area. When not busy, the cashier will help to maintain cleanliness of the dining and waiting area.

Precision & Portioning

Tasks management system programmed onto iPads to guide staffs to perform duties such as receiving, preparation, cooking, packaging, serving, food tempº inspection, equipment cleaning, and other cleaning procedures. “Don’t miss a thing” is our work policy. Automatic real-time temperature monitoring systems for all fridges, freezers, and hot holding equipment ensure food are safely kept. All equipment have portion control mechanism including ice maker, soda fountain, sushi roll cutter, etc. Customers get the exact portion they pay for; perfect for weight-watchers.

Getting the food

Customer purchases their food choice at the self-serve kiosk or cashier and receives a ticket and a receipt. Present the ticket to kitchen server and claim the food. Our goal for a typical eat-in order (one dish and a drank) duration is as follows:

  • ordering – < 1 minute
  • pick up food – < 2 minutes depending on the queue
  • enjoy the meal – < 20 minutes

Turn over in an hour at full-house (15 seats and roughly 23 minutes time spent per person) will be  60 customers. The narrow space of the eatery has no room for standing crowd. It is the job of the cashier to make sure the customer line keeps moving. Observe by the cashier, when no of people (customers + staffs)  exceed 25; the cashier will display a standing sign at the door. The sign will advise customer not to enter into the premise before same numbers of people are leaving.

Seatings

We try to accommodate few different types of sit in customers.

  • 7 regular height wooden chairs for grown-ups
  • 2 lower height wooden chairs for kids
  • 2 double seat bench chairs for friends, parent-child, and couples
  • 2 open spaces to accommodate wheelchairs

The spacing between each seating is 32″ apart. Amble room for big shoulders. The 12″ depth counter enough for a 10″ x 14″ food tray put on top.

Handling the left-over

Near the end of the serving line, there is a tray return rack. After enjoying the meal, customers can place their trays on to the rack. Cleaning staff will sort out the garbage, composite, and the recycles. The best way to ensure no mix-up of disposals. To prevent unfinished liquid (drinks, soup, and sauce) clear vinyl sheets will cover both sides of the tray return rack and a deep bucket/pan will place at the bottom. No garbage bin in the dining and line up area, it helps to keep the space clean and tidy.

The menu system

Three units of 47″ LED display mount vertically on the wall allow customers to see the whole menu at a glance. Cloud-based fast food menu system automatically changes different time menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The advance self-serve kiosk displays the entire menu at one glance. Allow fast ordering: pick, pay, and print (PPP) in less than a minute. SPOT (Single page ordering ticketing) Unlike other self-serve kiosks big fast food chains are using, order selection and payment all on the same page. No more jumping around multi-level of menus. Minimize the time customer holding up the queue.

Conclusion

The design of Simple Bites Inc. Fraser street location dictates speed, precision, affordability, and great quality

  1. Speed – Fast ordering and fast serving
  2. Precision – portion control and tasks management system
  3. Economical – minimum staffing, keep overhead low and transfer values to food qualities and services
  4. Great qualities and services – foods are from food-safe certified suppliers and delivery method to ensure great taste and safe to eat.