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].”

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
fish tacos

From High Liner Foods.

Younger consumers are driving an increased focus on sustainability, and more consumers overall are demanding a wider variety of seafood on menus. With shifting interest in seafood, operators need to be familiar with the seafood consumer—who they are, what they’re looking for and when they eat it—to more effectively boost interest in seafood dishes.

Understand consumer habits

Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian report finds that 65% of consumers eat seafood at least occasionally (once every 90 days or more), either as an...

Industry News & Opinion

The Missouri House of Representatives has initially approved a bill that would enable students with dietary issues to forgo mandatory meal plans at public colleges and universities, U.S. News reports.

Approved Tuesday, the bill would grant students with medical documentation of food sensitivities, food allergies or medical dietary issues the right to opt out of meal plans.

Supporters of the bill say it will allow students to not have to pay for food they can’t safely eat, while opponents say that the bill will negatively impact schools financially. According to legislative...

Industry News & Opinion

A study released by Sodexo indicates that gender-balanced management improves team performance.

The 2018 study is an expansion of a previous Sodexo study that launched in 2014. The expanded study analyzed 50,000 managers in all levels of management from 70 entities around the world over five years.

The study found that teams managed by 40% to 60% women had better employee and client retention, saw fewer workplace accidents and increased their operating margins and employee engagement.

Industry News & Opinion

Rick Farmer, executive chef for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Stephanie Powers, executive chef of Spring Harbor, a retirement community in Columbus, Ga., were crowned the winners of MenuDirections’ 2018 Culinary Competition.

Split into teams of two, chefs had 60 minutes to prepare and plate their own entrees using a preselected basket of ingredients such as beans, mushrooms and orange sauce. Each dish was judged on its presentation, taste and creativity.

The winning dish was orange glazed pork with a black bean and wild mushroom cake topped...

FSD Resources