Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

FEB 2018

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 2018 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 53 consumers, operators find them equally attractive. These function in small spaces and require minimal staffing and sup- port. The simple design of a kiosk allows the staff to produce quality, consistent beverages and move customers through as quickly and smoothly as possible. Café X in San Francisco represents a cutting-edge example. The robotic cafe opened last January in Metreon, a downtown shopping, dining and enter- tainment center. Occupying 100 square feet of space, this fully automated, acrylic-encased specialty coffee kiosk sits on a spot that once held an ATM. A six-axis industrial robot serves as Café X's barista. The type of robotic arm widely used in automobile manufactur- ing, it performs a set of predefined mo- tions, such as pushing buttons, moving a cup from under the milk dispenser to the syrup dispenser and delivering a cup to the customer at the window. Customers place orders via an app or on tablets on the front of the kiosk. Customers can choose the brand of beans they want (the cafe currently fea- tures four roasters) and customize the amount of milk and flavorings in their drink. The kiosk holds two coffee ma- chines capable of brewing Americanos, espressos, cappuccinos, cortados, lattes and flat whites. Product specialists staff the kiosk, helping customers with the ordering process, educating patrons about specialty coffee and keeping the cafe stocked with fresh ingredients, according to Sam Blum, community manager at Café X. Transactions are completely cashless and fast: Depending on the complexity of the drink, the operation can produce up to two drinks per minute. "A lot of our regular customers order from their mobile app so that the drink is prepared before they arrive," says Blum, who compares Café X's typical volume to that of a busy specialty coffee shop. "It takes just 10 seconds to pick up a mobile order." Build for Speed, Efficiency While next-gen innovations seek to bring automation and maximum speed to the specialty coffee experience, most coffee kiosk and drive-thru operators that rely on more traditional operations continue to work toward those same goals. Efficiencies the small-footprint kiosk format enable, if not require, include attention to speed while still offering quality products and a seamless customer experience. Good design plays a critical role in achieving those objectives. Designer and architect Dwayne MacEwen, principal at Evanston, Ill.-based DMAC Architecture P.C., says design success comes down to flow, function and managing the line. (More from MacEwen on page 18.) "If it's a walk-up operation, how do you get people to queue up, what do they see when they queue up, where do they wait and pick up their drinks, how do they access condiments and trash? These are all really important in any quick grab-and-go coffee set- ting," MacEwen says. "So are things behind the counter, such as proximity of the drip coffee to the register or service area. If it's two or three steps away instead of just a pivot and a turn, you dramatically impact efficiency and throughput during busy times, and you take away from the customer experience. Sometimes, too much space behind the counter isn't necessarily a good thing. It needs to be tight and very well organized." MacEwen recommends a range from 36 to 42 inches between the front service counter and the back work counter. That distance keeps things within easy reach, he says, and allows space for employees to function during peak periods. It also controls sightlines so customers aren't seeing much of the floor between the counters. Length of the production line is critical, too, MacEwen says, along with proper placement of dump sinks, hand sinks, reach-in refrigerators and ice makers. These items should remain within easy reach and not several steps away. Allowing ample counter space between the POS machine and the espresso machine creates a seamless, efficient flow from cashier to drink production to pickup. "You have to think about how you'll staff the kiosk, particularly during peak periods," MacEwen adds. "Employees need to be able to work comfortably without stepping on or having to reach all over each other. The design should enable what's like a well-choreographed dance when it's busy. No matter the format, whether full-service shop or kiosk, it's really important to the brand to provide not just quality product but design that ensures a good experience for customers and staff alike." To maximize usable space for stor- age, MacEwen recommends keeping the geometry of kiosks simple and straight. He specifically advises avoid- ing triangles and curves that can lead to dead space. Also, integrating front-of- the-house overhead shelving into the

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