Friday 15 March 2013

What if: a restaurant was run like a supermarket?

Suppose a major multiple decided to apply state-of-art principles to the Horeca sector, using expertise in space management, offering optimisation, efficient service-level and money management to bring something extra to the food service industry…

Space management:
Calculation of sales and profits per sq.ft. means converting annual sales into table footprint like a supermarket gondola, with spaces between tables treated as aisles. In other words, the total sq.ft measure of all tables divided into annual sales would give sales per sq.ft. of ‘selling area’.

Reducing the space between tables would increase selling intensity, with customer comfort and relative privacy a trade-off against increased productivity…

The offering:
Diners would need the equivalent of ‘shopping the aisle’ via a more interactive menu. In other words, it would be apparent that flowery descriptions of menu-ingredients, albeit in franglais, would then seem inadequate, as currently conveyed. However, the temporary provision of an ipad for each guest, listing available dishes, complete with provenance, attractive illustrations pitched at levels that would manage expectations, updated ‘live’ to match kitchen availability, would help in meeting diner need. Unforeseen demand-spikes would obviously trigger emergency deliveries from just-in-time suppliers. The addition of ‘ideal world ‘ needs and other personal details would aid the addition of award points and service improvements, thus providing a basis for follow-up marketing to satisfied guests.

Service level:
The ipad would also help in minimising waiter numbers (virtual self-service?) by allowing guests to place orders directly with the kitchen, with ‘are we there yet?’ queries answered regularly via text updates…(with a suitable app designed to delete expletives, as necessary...).
Meanwhile, live video coverage of the kitchen would facilitate on-going observation/monitoring of the cooking process where so required by anxious guests…Discretionary on/off soundtrack would protect sensitive guests in the event of sudden outbursts of ‘over-excitement’ by the chef/s…

The money:
In terms of pricing, the ipad would provide full details on pricing, by ingredient/unit, per chair, and full table, with a running total monitoring impulse bottles of wine and other add-ons. This ongoing build-up of the 'shopping basket’ would provide invaluable insight to restaurant management, enabling lighting and heating levels to be related to rate-of-sale and adjusted accordingly.

Tables could be priced according to popularity, size, position, degree of privacy and of course discounted via advance-booking…  At the end of the meal, payment could be made in a check-out area, thereby freeing up the table so much faster for the next party.

Finally, a discrete scanner would then ensure that the number of guests attempting to take home the 'menu' as a souvenir, would be minimised...

Impossible, or food for thought?

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