‘Backstage’ kitchen concept allows Tortilla to prep 150 extra orders an hour

Richard Morris, managing director

Mexican restaurant chain Tortilla has created its first backstage kitchen concept as part of a move modelled off Deliveroo’s ‘Dark Kitchen’ idea.

The new set-up is in operation at Tortilla’s Bankside branch and consists of a secondary servery that has been constructed behind the scenes to specifically process online orders.

The additional servery means that food can be prepared without interfering with customers’ in-store experiences.

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The backstage kitchen is equipped to help staff process an extra 150 orders per hour, allowing Tortilla Bankside to meet demand following average like-for-like growth of 9% over the past 12 months.

Tortilla’s managing director, Richard Morris, says that in a well-established site such as Bankside, it’s difficult to drum up new business, which is where the backstage kitchen proves invaluable.

“By embracing the changes in the market, especially that on the high street, we can increase throughput without too much compromise,” he explained. “As much as we tried to avoid it at the start, online delivery is here to stay and unfortunately for a lot of fast-casual brands it’s a case of adapt or die.”

Tortilla has proved it is not afraid to innovate its core kitchen and store design to accommodate local trends.

Last year it opened a ‘mini’ Tortilla in Putney, which was specifically designed to cater for residential online orders. 

Mr Morris said the hospitality industry is seeing greater demand for convenience, without skimping on quality or affordability, and the rise in food delivery is having a huge impact on customer experience.

Compact restaurants and backstage kitchens are among the ways that Tortilla plans to tackle the ever-changing high street landscape, he said.

“London diners especially understand the frustrations of grabbing a bite to eat from a seemingly empty restaurant, only to find yourself waiting for service due to online orders and duffel-coated drivers constantly coming in and out!” he added.

Deliveroo’s Dark Kitchens are centralised offsite locations that prepare restaurant food for delivery apps.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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