Designing Pho Service And Final Plating/Expediting Floor Plan

Someone asked in Pho Forums:

Can you provide some guidance on how I can start creating a useful service and final plating floor plan? I'm actually exploring a hybrid cooking/service area where we pass the final food to a service counter all in the open, no pass-through window or pass-through counter. My goal is to create a system when we require a minimum of staff members to serve 2 orders per minute during lunch rush. The peak is probably 130% of lunch rush.

I'm attaching a sketch to show you what I'm thinking of doing. Note that it does not include a few things I consider confidential.

Thanks for any guidance.

He/she uploaded a rough plan of the ordering/service area.

Need high volume high efficiency pho service expediting

Original image: Need high volume high efficiency pho service expediting

Here's my analysis and reply:

Ok so first a few caveats. Providing the sketch is helpful to help us discuss the specifics instead of just glossing over general scenarios. That said, it would be even better to also provide dimensions of the space that we have to work with; many people don't realize that a few additional inches of reach or one additional step, when repeated hundreds of times over the course of days, months and years, can make a huge difference.

Anyway based on what you provided, though without knowing the specific dishes you're serving, here are some feedback.

Implied design requirements:

  • Regular lunch rush is 2 orders per minute = 120 orders per hour.
  • Peak is about 130% of lunch rush which means 2.6 orders per minute or 156 orders per hour.
  • For regular lunch rush use the 120 orders per hour as design requirements.
  • Lunch rush must be sustained for 2-3 hours.
  • For peak use 3 orders per minutes or even 20 seconds per order as design requirements.
  • Peak can be sporadic to constant and may come in waves.
  • When sporadic peaks become more constant, this becomes your new regular rush, and recalculate your new peaks.
  • Also assume takeout orders go through the same paths, with the only difference being final packaging before service.

Design considerations (see image below):

  • Suggest to have an expeditor (80% customer facing) and an assistance (80% cooking staff facing).
  • Add multi-level shelves to allow cooking staff to more easily pass through cooked foods to the front (expeditor), while keep the cooking area clear for cooking.
  • Add work counter (blue in attached drawing) with under-counter shelves to further help expediting team to inspect and finalize both eat-in and takeout orders.
  • The expeditor runs everything at the pass, but focus more on customer facing tasks to ensure foods go out properly and timely.
  • The expeditor assistance does everything to help final plating for expeditor approval. He/she is focused more toward making sure cooked foods come out correctly and timely as called for.
Designing for high volume high efficiency pho service expediting

Recommended: Designing for high volume high efficiency pho service expediting

That's the gist of it. Obviously there are variations to any scenario, and this is not a "set it and forget it" task. Everything must be regularly adjusted and improved so you get better and better all the time. More critically, you must allow your staff to give feedback and suggestions. They work the system day in day out and their input are extremely valuable.

Additional variations may be needed for different traffic requirements and patterns, for simpler versus more complex menus, and for staff proficiency among other factors.

This is only a rough analysis based on the limited provided information. There are still a lot more to this exercise. Hopefully this simple exercise illustrates the fact that properly designing your new operation is much more than just picking equipment and placing them around the floor plan, and call it done.

If you truly want to have a tight operation, with staff efficiency and even satisfaction (yes there's such a thing as staff satisfaction), and increased quality in the products you send out, then this is the right time and the right question to ask, early in your design stage.

If we can take into account further detail about this business and location such as what foods are being prepared and served; what are the specific space dimensions, equipment type, and staff level of proficiency; and eat-in versus takeout final plating or packaging considerations, I'm pretty sure there are tons of things we can design out further and make this even better.

Follow further discussion in the Pho Forums.


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