5 tips for optimising small sites

Don’t have a lot of space in your next site? Here are 5 tips for optimising smaller scale food franchises.  

Great sites can sometimes mean smaller spaces to work with, especially for food franchises in high traffic areas.

“A lot can happen in a small space when you go at it with surgical precision,” says Howland Blackiston, principal at King-Casey, one of USA’s top retail consulting and design firms in a report by QSR magazine.

So how can you make a smaller site work for your franchisees in an ever-competitive food industry?

1. Target the menu offering

Instead of trying to include anything and everything in your menu, your offering should focus on a core product. This could be potatoes, salads, or even hot chicken. This means fewer ingredients on site, which eases storage requirements and streamlines operations.

Why not become the go-to for that revered signature dish or iconic meal, instead of offering everything under the sun to an okay standard?

2. Pack it in

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA is renowned for exactly this, and it’s a helpful mindset for smaller scale food franchises.  Consider kitchen tools hanging from ceilings or even walls, or utilising multiple purpose areas such as a triple sink operating as a workstation and cutting area for prep.

Storage can even be used to complement the decor. Consider stacking up chillis or other raw vegetables in tall glass jars to add to the aesthetic element.  

3. Invest in efficient equipment

With a smaller space, it’s crucial franchisees look more keenly at back-of-the-house operations and, in particular, investigate kitchen technology capable of boosting speed, accuracy, or consistency of product.

Michelin star winning Malaysian hawker chef Chan Hong Meng adjusted his cutting board and tabletop for his own height so he could cut 150 chickens in a day.

US hamburger chain Johnny Rockets uses a Taylor clamshell grill, which reduces the cooking time of each burger by one minute, and brought cooked-to-order ticket times to about three minutes.

“Investing in efficient kitchen equipment technology is key to ensure that you are not sacrificing the quality of your food while working to increase efficiencies in smaller spaces,” says Dominic Talavera, Johnny Rockets vice president of development.

4. Go mobile

This doesn’t mean you need to buy six food trucks and hit the ground running; it’s a way to manage a flood of customers coming in. This could be your lunchtime rush hour or weekend brunch. Team members can respond by using a portable point of sale (POS) system and setting it up adjacent to the fixed POS unit to accelerate the line’s movement. Compared to a second fixed POS, it’s a far more efficient and space-saving.

5. Secure the right team

But efficient staff are the key to any quick-service environment. Your staff need to be ultra-efficient multitaskers. The smaller the store, the more it needs skilled and experienced employees who understand the process.