Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

OCT 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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● ● ● ● OCTOBER 2017 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 57 expanding ways people can enjoy Pie Five's food. Results in hand, Crane and the team at Pie Five immedi- ately began designing a new prototype to address those areas. The first opened in suburban Dallas last August. New Menu Items, New Kitchen Like many of its fast-casual pizza competitors, Pie Five specializes in individual-sized made-to-order pizzas. This approach makes sense for burgers or burritos. But for many occasions, pizza is communal food that people share. In combination with some service and technology limita- tions, the chain has been hampering itself, says Crane. "We don't deliver, we don't take call-in orders, we don't take online orders. It's like we've taken ... a $7 billion industry and all of a sudden you turn off 85 percent to 87 percent of that occasion base. While that's still a big segment, that's not a great way to start. You're really closing off the top of the funnel." In recent months, the chain has begun taking orders over the phone and online. Pie Five is also testing delivery as well as a new, 14-inch pizza made for sharing — the way many (if not most) people order and enjoy their pizzas. Larger pizzas aren't the only new item on Pie Five's menu. Up until now, the chain limited its menu offerings to pizza and salad. With this new prototype, the chain now offers wings. Adding new options can give customers new reasons to come to Pie Five, as well as overcome the veto vote, says Crane. New menu items and a new prototype naturally mean a new kitchen design. In Pie Five's case, the design is radically different than what was there before. Due to the footprints of its stores, Pie Five's legacy design uses a vertical kitchen, i.e., a kitchen running along a side wall, as opposed to a horizontal kitchen running parallel to the back wall. Since it doesn't make financial sense for Pie Five to rent out wider storefronts to accommodate horizontal kitchens, the chain developed a hybrid vertical/horizontal display kitchen, with an L-shaped counter and U-shaped equipment lineup. Guests enter the new prototype queue on the left, where they'll find a selfie station and a roll of craft paper hang- ing from the wall for kids to doodle on while waiting. At the front of the line, they'll encounter two (up from one) POS stations. This pay-first design differs from the pay-last approach of legacy stores, according to Chris Heiser, vice president of restaurant development. The change works for Pie Five thanks to its pricing strategy. Instead of billing per topping, the concept charges one price per pizza, no matter how many toppings a customer requests. Once guests pay, they walk down the ordering counter to choose their crust, sauce and toppings. Pie Five holds crusts in racks between two dough rollers on a table immediately behind the POS counter. Cold wells on top of pizza tables hold toppings, with Pie Five team mem- bers adding meats, cheeses and veggies as they slide pies down the work line. The pizza assembly area ends just short of the corner of the L-shaped counter. The corner itself holds a food display for showcasing wings and desserts. Staff place finished pies in a fast-cooking electric conveyor oven, which sits against a wall at the crook of a U configuration in the production area. By introducing the turn at this spot, the chain gains a horizontal kitchen feel in a smaller footprint, and highlights the energy and activity surrounding the oven. While the oven can cook pies in minutes, it has another important advantage, says Heiser. As an electric unit, it does not require a type 1 hood for fire suppression, only a type 2 for heat removal. This represents a major cost savings. The chain took this same approach to the equipment it added for its new wings. While the oven sits at the crook of the U-shaped kitchen, the fryers sit on the beginning of the U's other side, slightly inset into the wall. The chain uses two units. These pieces, says Heiser, are electric and ventless and have built-in fire suppression. As such, they require only a Type-1 hood, as well. Team members at the wing station can turn 180 degrees to a worktable with refrigerated wells holding carrots, celery and dressings. Two refrigerated doors sit below for storing the uncooked wings. After staff fry the wings, they send the chicken to the far end of the L-shaped display counter. Here, guests see staff place their wings in bowls, before saucing and tossing. The wing station completes the front-of-the-house kitchen ● Leadership: Scott Crane, president and CEO of parent company Rave Restaurant Group ● Interior Designer: Rave Restaurant Group, Nancy Najera and Norton Creative ● Kitchen Design Consultant: C&T Design and Equipment ● Equipment Dealer: C&T Design & Equipment Co. PIE FIVE AT A GLANCE Pie Five's oven sits at the center of the new display kitchen, providing energy and drama to the restaurant.

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