A fast casual leans into low tech, high efficiency


Honeygrow founder and CEO Justin Rosenberg was increasingly becoming the Goldilocks of real estate. He wanted to expand his fast-casual stir-fry concept, but, all too often, potential locations would be too big or too small or too expensive to build out. So, he found a solution that was just right: spin off a scaled-down Honeygrow that can fit into a fraction of the original footprint. The end result: Minigrow, a slimmed-down concept designed for high-volume efficiency in dense urban centers where lunch traffic is key. The first Minigrow opened in New York City at the end of October, and more are on the way. Here’s how Minigrow is casting a shrink ray on Honeygrow. 

1. Miniaturized, simplified menu

minigrow bowl

Honeygrow offers some 89 menu items; Minigrow has just 36. The centerpiece of the new menu is the three-wheat mazemen noodles, which are thicker and chewier than Honeygrow’s original noodles. This allows the pasta to be prepped in advance and held during a lunch rush without getting mushy, Rosenberg says. The pared-down menu also allows all orders to be made assembly line-style, boosting lunchtime throughput.

2. Bye-bye, kiosks

honeygrow kiosk

Since its launch in 2012, Honeygrow has become known for its kiosk-style ordering. Minigrow ditches kiosks for two reasons, Rosenberg says. First, they’re expensive. “Kiosks are awesome. I love them. They’re cool,” he says. “But they’re a big capital investment.” Second, Minigrow, with its limited SKUs, can serve more lunch customers with face-to-face ordering rather than with tablets, he says.

3. Back-of-house efficiencies

minigrow bowl

The simplified menu allows for a streamlined kitchen at Minigrow, and while Rosenberg declined to give detailed staffing numbers, he expects Minigrow to be able to operate with fewer employees than Honeygrow. “Honeygrow is labor-intensive,” he says. “There’s going to be less people throughout the day working for us [at Minigrow].”

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