Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

FEB 2019

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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FEBRUARY 2019 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 81 brand has incorporated custom-designed, designated grab-and-go cases into its unit designs. The chain stocks the 4- to 6-foot, open-front coolers with sandwiches, salads and other items staff prepare from scratch daily on-site and package for grab-and-go sales. Each grab-and-go area has a dedicated POS station and sits near the door, close to the dedicated parking spaces outside that enable quick pickup. "We were a little ahead of the curve," says Chris Cheek, Newk's chief development officer. "Back in 2004, this was our answer to convenience, and it has always been part of our DNA. We've always negotiated hard in our lease negotiations for five dedicated parking spaces by that grab-and-go en- trance. We don't always get five, but we usually get two or three. As we continue to evolve and meet changing consumer demands for convenience, including with mobile-order pickup and delivery, we're already well positioned to do so in part because of our long-standing success with grab-and-go. We're now augmenting the program with curbside delivery and have just opened a drive- thru pickup window at a unit in Texarkana, Ark., for grab-and-go, mobile app and delivery orders." With its off-premise business growing rapidly through a variety of channels, including catering, Newk's continues to invest in that aspect of its concept. Last summer, the chain an- nounced all 120-plus units would soon add a new Express Market component to the grab-and-go areas. Inspired by the growing popularity of freshly pre- pared meal solutions in supermarkets and meal kits, the markets — which include an additional, open-front cooler — offer a variety of proteins and other items in larger portions for easy, complete family meals or convenient additions to meals prepared at home. The offerings, all of which staff cook and package in-house, include flash-seared ahi tuna slices, two dozen broiled shrimp, 1 pound of sliced grilled petite tenderloin steak, two chargrilled Atlantic salmon filets and 1 pound of sliced all-natural chicken. Other Newk's specialties, from soups and sandwiches to entree salads, bottled house-made dressings, and desserts, come in multiple-serving sizes as well. This new, even more retail-oriented grab-and-go element serves as another way Newk's continues to innovate to meet customer demands for conve- nience, Cheek says. He's confident that the chain's existing systems, which include dedicated coolers, payment counters and easy in-and-out access for grab-and-go, will support success of the Express Market concept. Configure for Success While the typical Newk's unit measures more than 4,000 square feet and the chain prioritizes separate front-of- the-house space for grab-and-go in its prototypes. Other operators opt for a variety of equipment styles and design configurations to tap the grab-and-go trend. An integrated approach, similar to the one popularized by Starbucks, continues to grow in popularity, notes Andrew Seabury, founder and president of GTI Designs Group, a foodservice design-build firm in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. That's in part, Seabury says, because of its proven functionality — putting a variety of grab-and-go items on display within easy reach while customers queue up to order and pay — and in part because rising real estate costs have foodservice footprints shrinking. "Almost every project we design right now has a grab-and-go compo- nent, and things are definitely trending toward having it integrated right into a front counter/POS area," Seabury says. "Doing so eats up less of the overall front-of-house footprint. And it's in- creasingly doable because, with tablets and new payment technologies, counter space that was previously needed for large, old-school registers can now be used for grab-and-go. Instead of a big POS counter, you can build in a

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