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5 ways to master the ‘fast casual’ restaurant model

5 ways to master the ‘fast casual’ restaurant model

If you haven’t heard of ‘fast casual’ dining, you’ll almost certainly have experienced it.

The rise of fast casual can be attributed to the public’s desire for dining experiences that are quick but which still offer high quality food. Fast food has long been a staple of convenience dining and a desire to cure late night hunger, but fast casual sits a notch above.

Owning and running a fast casual restaurant can be very lucrative indeed, but there are a number of challenges you’ll encounter along the way.

The biggest issue often relates to an establishment’s ability to handle the sheer volume of customers who are attracted to reasonably priced, fast, quality food.

The size of that market is impressive, so with that in mind, here’s five tips for providing a service that will leave them ultimately satisfied if they visit your establishment:

1. Invest in accelerated cooking technology

You simply can’t get by in the world of fast casual without the right cooking equipment, which is why you should invest in accelerated ovens and microwaves.

Such devices will enable you to cook a huge variety of food quickly and safely and will ensure consistency in everything that’s handed over the counter.

2. Use email receipts

Sometimes, it’s the simplest of things that speed up a fast casual operation, and by ditching paper and opting for emailed receipts, the speed with which your team completes each order will increase considerably.

This will also give you the advantage of being able to record a vital piece of customer data for marketing purposes – their email address!

3. Consider self-service terminals

Self-service in the restaurant industry has suffered something of a difficult birth. Trialled and dropped by many restaurants due to prohibitive installation and running costs, things are thankfully rather different now.

This is why we’re seeing more self-service kiosks in restaurants of all shapes and sizes; they’re more affordable, easier to use for customers and for fast casual dining, the perfect way to speed up the ordering process.

4. Implement online ordering

If you’re running a fast casual dining business, the lack of an online ordering option on your website will put you at a competitive disadvantage.

Customers expect to be able to browse menus online, but also be given the opportunity to order ahead of time. And, just like self-service kiosks, the technology is now far more attainable, regardless of the size of your business.

5. Work to remove bottlenecks

Bottlenecking is a common challenge for fast casual operations, and it’s a tricky one to combat.

A bottleneck can appear during any point of the customer journey. It could be a queue that has been allowed to get too long, a shift that is short-staffed, or a production line that simply isn’t quick enough.

To avoid bottlenecks, you’ll probably have to encounter them first. And that’s fine – learn from your mistakes and work to remove bottlenecks when they appear.

Wrapping up

Fast casual dining is a great sector to get into, but with competition hotting up, you’ll need to take into account each of the tips above. It’s a non-exhaustive list, but it will at least put you on the right path and ensure you have an efficient business footing from which to grow.

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