Designing Modern QSR Kitchens

By: Corien de Jong

Having a modern restaurant isn’t just about the aesthetics but also functionality and efficiency that contributes to gaining loyal customers and the bottom line.

The kitchen of a fast food restaurant is much different from table-service restaurants and even most independent counter-service, fast-casual spots. However, the designs of all types of restaurants are converging to accommodate modern touches that consider new technology and a new frame of mind brought into view by younger generations.

"Modern" is ongoing, which makes keeping up with new ideas and maintaining winning revenues difficult. It isn't easy, but rest assured that the restaurants that survive are constantly thinking about tomorrow.

In other words, the choice to evolve is also the choice to build loyalty while also bringing in new customers. The investment toward continual evolution is essential to growth, and the good news is that modern equipment and technology creates efficiencies that pay off in reduced energy and labor costs.

First, the modern kitchen must be a part of the whole establishment, and not a stand-alone feature hidden behind walls, shelves, and equipment. Since transparency is becoming more important to customers, designing a kitchen that allows patrons to watch food preparation is important. It engages customers while assuring the quality of the food. The farther you take this idea, the better.

In addition, kitchens must have an arm that supports delivery and pre-ordered meals since 20 percent of consumers have food delivered at least once a week, and the revenue from delivery alone is more than $30 billion. The essential, additional space provides a spot for employees to package food and delivery drivers and customers to pick it up.

Also, energy-efficient kitchen equipment is great for marketing and for your wallet. You can reduce energy costs by 10%-25% if you upgrade to energy efficient refrigerators, ice machines, and water heaters. Consider upgrades wherever possible. You will receive a return on your investment within a year, and keeping your restaurant energy efficient, while making it a place that uses sustainable packaging and recycles waste is a great way to attract a growing green society.

Finally, technology is imperative to a smooth-operating kitchen, and that entails integrating systems that work together for a seamless customer experience from a digital menu board that management can quickly change as needed, to a mobile ordering system that eliminates lines.

After the order, the kitchen receives the mobile order along with the recipe and routing information to ensure proper food preparation, which increases speed and reduces bottlenecks. Employees find the information on mounted touch screens to avoid damaging equipment when moving through orders, and the system calculates inventory as product is used in order to manage perfect reordering. In the end, the food is brought to waiting customers at their table.

About Butts in Seats!

When it comes to restaurant trends and marketing, IMM knows what they are talking about. Gina Lee De Freiitas, President of IMM, and Corien de Jong, SVP Executive Creative Director, have more than 25 years of experience in the vertical. So when they talk about the tools, tips and resources your restaurant needs to succeed, rest assured they’ve got it covered.

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