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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56 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • FEBRUARY 2018 functional by design the company with his wife, Camrin, in 2004. "Planning departments and munic- ipalities are very tough to work through," he notes. "Nowadays, you really don't find a location where there isn't some sort of HOA or architectural guidelines or all sorts of committees regulating develop- ment. They don't usually love the idea of kiosks, so there's some sales effort that has to go into showing them that there's value in this type of operation, that it's an asset that lets them use space in a parking lot, maybe, that wouldn't fit anything but this particular type of unit. Kiosks are 10 times harder to get open than cafes, but once they're open, they're more profit- able and 10 times easier to manage." Finding the sweet spot for the right kiosk size presents another challenge. Knudsen says slightly larger units have advantages in terms of capacity and curb appeal but disadvantages in terms of labor efficiencies. On the flip side, smaller units tend to reflect the ideal size, with layout and equipment set up so that a single employee can handle both drive-thru lanes and the walk-up window during slow periods, for instance. Ideally situated on at least a half an acre for a double drive-thru, Ziggi's tar- gets shopping center parking lots that otherwise sit empty. Trying to put a drive-thru in a spot that's too small and ultimately limits the amount of traffic that can access the lanes is a common mistake. Underestimating costs for water and sewer hookups, and utili- ties, is another mistake. In Colorado, for instance, simply getting the rights for water connection can run $50,000 before any construction begins. "The building is actually the least expensive part of developing one of these," Knudsen says. "It's getting the water, sewer and electrical set up along with curb and gutter, etc., which is really important for a kiosk. Sometimes we don't even run gas in just to save money because we're so small and so efficient in there that we don't need the gas." So far, all Ziggi's franchisees are buying the land for their operations, but Knudsen says the model is well suited for land leasing. "You can knock on doors and go into an Ace Hardware store, for example, and offer to pay a couple thou- sand a month for the empty part of the lot," he says. "We'll build the building, do all the work and just send them a check every month. It's a win-win." Ziggi's newest design clusters the drive-up and walk-up windows toward the front of the building for greatest labor efficiency. The arrangement of equipment, supplies and ingredients within the kiosk allows employees to access what they need to fill an order without taking more than one step. And all ingredients sit in exactly the same location in every unit, making it easy for employees to work quickly and efficiently in any store. Ultimately, for the kiosk model to work to its full potential, speed is the name of the game. Knudsen touts Ziggi's average of two and a half min- utes from the time a customer places an order to the time they receive their drink as a key differentiator. That's roughly half the time he's tracked at major competitors' drive-thrus. "We'll run 60 to 70 cars through in an hour with no problem," he says. Design and organization facili- tate that speed, but so does technol- ogy. Each Ziggi's unit features a large kitchen display screen visible to all employees, showing pending drink and food orders, with all necessary modi- fications, as well as drive-thru times. A label printer produces easy-to-read order stickers for the cups, which help eliminate miscommunication. The company also offers a mobile ordering app. Utilizing voice-recognition technology, it lets customers place and pay for orders ahead of time, so their drinks are ready for pickup when they arrive. And while full-service Ziggi's cafes (the company has four in Colorado) use high-end traditional espresso machines, its kiosks tap state-of-the-art, high-capac- ity automatic machines that help ensure speed and consistency. Each unit also re- lies on a large dual-brewing unit for drip coffee and multiple high-end blenders. "You can't skimp on blenders," Knudsen notes. "Consistency of ice and blended drinks is everything. Your ice machine is also critical. If you have an ice machine that's turning out really dense or inconsistent ice, regardless of your blender, it's going to blend incon- sistently. Those are all things we take very seriously in terms of our equip- ment package." FE&S Longmont, Colo.- based Ziggi's Coffee's drive-thru kiosks focus on speed and ef- ficiency. Units like this one in Firestone, Colo., can move 60 to 70 cars through per hour. Image courtesy of Ziggi's Coffee

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