A fast casual leans into low tech, high efficiency

minigrow

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

Managing Your Business
management team

Last week’s NACUFS National Conference proved to be a treasure trove of management and staffing takeaways. Here are a few we noted at the annual event , held this year in Providence, R.I.

1. Make it scalable

When explaining something new to staff, instead of asking, “You got it?” or “You with me?” have employees rate how well they understand the new material on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ron Paul, a senior consulting partner for Partners in Leadership, during a session on building accountability in the workplace. People are likely to say yes even when they don’t fully grasp what you’...

Ideas and Innovation
song break

Once per month in a daily huddle, we dedicate a few minutes for the staff to sing a short song. The staff has responded so positively to this. They now bring costumes and other props. It's a few short minutes, but the payoff has been tremendous.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Ideas and Innovation
plastic straws

An item about the size of a pencil has become the latest target in foodservice operators’ sustainability plans. Though small, plastic straws are said to have a large impact on the environment, with Americans using approximately 500 million straws each day, according to a release from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, which temporarily ditched plastic straws as part of an Earth Day promotion this year.

In recent months, a growing number of eateries and cities across the United States have scrapped plastic straws. In July, Seattle enacted a ban on plastic straws and utensils, requiring...

Industry News & Opinion

Medford High School in Medford, Mass., is looking to add an orchard to its campus, Wicked Local reports.

The idea for the orchard was brought forth by students looking to help combat food insecurity. They are working with the school’s nutritionist to make the orchard a reality.

If planted, the orchard would be located inside the school’s courtyard and would grow fruits such as apples, paw paws, blueberries, peaches and plums. It would also include an outdoor classroom space.

The school committee signed off on the project last year; however, some administrators are...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code