In a self-service food-to-go area, what practice is not required? It’s a serious question!

Foodservice areas by Nebrak

In a self-service food area, what practice is not required?

In a self-service food area, what practice is not required? This may seem a flippant question, but it really isn’t. It’s designed to inspire you to think deeply as to what exactly the self-service model replaces, and how you can ensure your design and installation benefits your business and its patrons.

Whether you are replacing an existing staffed food area or building out a brand new one, you should keep the following sentence at the front of your mind: you may not be providing customer service – but you are still serving your customers.

While you will be well aware of the cost and time-saving benefits of a staff-free space, have you thought about the benefits that staff provide to a food area? How can you simulate or compensate for them?

Here are three issues that you will need to address, as a project team, during the design consultation stage.

Three customer-serving practices you will need to design into your foodservice project

Food hygiene and safety. While much has been written about the benefits of hands-free payment transactions, the checkout is only one area where hygiene requirements need to be understood and addressed.

Self-service food areas can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria due to the number of people handling food and utensils. Without the vigilance of trained staff, how can you ensure customers are following proper hygiene practices, such as washing their hands or not transporting allergens between stations?

The answer is to design your foodservice area to reduce the potential for contamination to a minimum. Providing hand sanitisater stations, creating a logical customer flow (so that customers are not forced to cross paths too often) and planning out individual pathways for customers with special dietary needs are just some examples of how you could address these concerns

Food waste: Portion control is drilled into food production and serving staff from the beginning of their training. But with self-service areas, hungry customers may be tempted to take more food than they can eat, leading to food wastage.

Think about the size of the plates and trays you provide and how customers will ultimately serve themselves (e.g. will food be pre-portioned or will customers use utensils to serve themselves). This can also impact the issue of food hygiene.

Lack of personalisation: Customers like to feel a sense of belonging. Everything from the choices available to them to the service they receive from staff contributes to this feeling.

But with no staff presence, you are going to have to use alternative means to connect with customers,

In short, branding is more critical than ever when designing a self-service food area. Are you catering for diverse dietary requirements? Is your signage welcoming? Is your artwork representative? Are you providing options for recycling?

These are just some of the issues you will need to consider when planning your self-service foodservice installation.

How Nebrak can help you set up a customer-friendly self-service food area

Nebrak provide a turnkey solution that will help you establish a successful self-service food area. We can consult with your design team, architects, or facilities manager on the overall layout of your self-service area and help you decide what furniture, finishes and equipment you need to install. If you already have equipment, we build bespoke, providing a functional, practical and aesthetically pleasing catering interior solution.

We can then source and install everything you need using our trusted network of top-quality suppliers and hands-on installation experience. We can also support you in branding and customising your self-service area, utilising our in-house graphic design studio (these services are provided free with each project).

Take a look at our dedicated foodservice design page, and please contact us if you need more information or assistance.

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