Mini restaurants and backstage kitchens are some of the ways fast-casual restaurant group Tortilla Mexican Grill is tackling the ever-changing high street landscape.
Managing Director Richard Morris says the hospitality industry is seeing greater demand for convenience, without skimping on quality or affordability, and the rise in food delivery is having a huge impact on customer experience.
“London diners especially understand the frustrations of grabbing a bite to eat from a seemingly empty restaurant, only to find yourself waiting for service due to online orders and duffel-coated drivers constantly coming in and out!” says Morris.
After being named in the top 10 most-ordered dishes on Deliveroo in 2017 and seeing delivery sales double in 2017 compared to the previous year, Tortilla is using innovative techniques to embrace the trend while preserving bottom line and product quality.
Following the opening of their award-winning mini Tortilla in Putney – a site specifically designed to cater for residential online orders – the company recently opened their first backstage concept in their Bankside branch.
This concept, modelled off Deliveroo’s dark kitchen idea, saw a second servery being built behind the scenes in the restaurant to specifically process online orders so as not to interfere with customers’ in-store experiences.
“This means customers making the effort to visit us in-store won’t be affected by delivery orders,” says Morris.
Bankside was Tortilla’s second store to open in 2008 and has seen a steady increase in trade, achieving an average of 9% LFL growth over the past five years.
Morris says in a well-established site such as Bankside, it’s difficult to drum up new business.
The backstage kitchen is equipped to help staff process an extra 150 orders per hour which should help Tortilla Bankside continue it’s LFL growth in 2018 and beyond.
“By embracing the changes in the market, especially that on the high street, we can increase throughput without too much compromise,” says Morris. “As much as we tried to avoid it at the start, online delivery is here to stay and unfortunately for a lot of fast-casual brands it’s a case of adapt or die.”
This week, Tortilla joins forces with Deliveroo once again to provide Londoners a once in a lifetime pop-up dining experience, 450ft in the air on the roof of a 32-storey skyscraper.
Those lucky — or brave — enough to complete the experience will enjoy panoramic views of landmarks including the London Eye, BT Tower and St Paul’s Cathedral. Catch live updates on Tortilla’s Twitter Feed.