EDITOR’S VIEW: From dark kitchens to backstage kitchens, the need to adapt has never been clearer

The ability to adapt is a quality that all successful businesses need, especially during the sort of challenging times that the foodservice sector currently finds itself in.

Some of the most accomplished operators are those that identify ways to incrementally evolve their proposition to increase their chances of growth, making them less susceptible to dramatic changes in the market landscape. The same goes for their kitchens, too.

While operators understandably like to get genuine bang for their buck when it comes to back-of-house investment, there is always room to explore new ideas and methods of working to boost progress. This form of quiet evolution can often prove quite powerful when assessed over a longer period of time.

For this reason I was particularly interested to hear about Mexican restaurant chain Tortilla’s new ‘backstage’ kitchen concept this week, which takes its inspiration from Deliveroo’s much-discussed ‘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.

The backstage kitchen is equipped to help staff process an extra 150 orders per hour and, importantly, gives it a mechanism to meet extra demand at an established site where it would ordinarily be hard to drum up new business.

By embracing the changes in the market, especially those on the high street, Tortilla has demonstrated that it can increase throughput without too much compromise.

The company itself acknowledges that as much as it tried to avoid it at the start, online delivery is here to stay. It has looked at the situation and found a solution that suits the changing nature of the market place it is in.

Other fast-casual chains familiar with the phrase ‘adapt or die’ would be wise to consider if there is scope for the sort of smart operational modifications that Tortilla has implemented in their own businesses.


One Comment;

  1. Steve Loughton said:

    Well said Andrew. I also like the Jamie’s comments about gig venues or museums. Adapt or die.
    At the same time as re equipping or upgrading, operators must consider energy usage and selection of the right equipment to enable them to be more sustainable and minimise energy consumption.
    Manufacturers can help to encourage this with better energy data and make sure that payback times are reasonable if there is an additional cost for more efficient equipment.
    Government must play their part too



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