1. REMEMBER: NO EQUIPMENT IS SACRED
Dallas-based Genghis Grill 86’d its iconic circular grill used for its stir-fry bowls, and replaced it with a rectangular flattop grill to reduce the footprint in its fast-casual prototype, set to debut this year. While old-timers in management initially resisted the idea of nixing the “sacred cow” round grill, “surveys showed that our guests didn’t even realize what we cooked on,” says Gregg Majewski, CEO of parent company Mongolian Concepts since 2021. “The customer just wanted good food fast.” With off-premise orders comprising a bigger slice of business—30% compared to 4% pre-pandemic—many customers don’t even see the grill, or catch a mere glimpse.
“You’ve got to be willing to take the chance to make the stores for tomorrow, today.” —Gregg Majewski, Mongolian Concepts
The prototype slashes square footage more than in half, from about 5,000 square feet to 2,200 square feet. The cold station, stocked with veggies and proteins for grilling, now fits compactly in front of the rectangular grill, rather than 25 to 50 feet away from the circular unit, streamlining operations. “The whole restaurant can now be run by one person during nonpeak hours, down from four,” Majewski says. That’s a huge labor savings in addition to lower rent and a smaller price tag for building a new restaurant—$400,000, down from $850,000. “You’ve got to be willing to take the chance to make the stores for tomorrow, today,” Majewski advises. “Or the labor market is going to kill us in the coming years.”