When Corridor launched in San Francisco last summer, it made waves for its hybrid service format that featured counter service on the first floor and full service on a mezzanine, with both levels serving the same menu of upscale foods (such as truffle risotto and calamari) at limited-service prices. But now, the restaurant from local multiconcept operator Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group is evolving its mixed-service model, keeping it for lunch and expanding it to breakfast, but switching to entirely full service for dinner.

So does that mean the format—designed to address the labor shortage Hi Neighbor was dealing with at its full-service restaurants—didn’t work? Not exactly. Partner Ryan Cole says the format is working: Corridor does more volume than the group’s other concepts with equal or less labor overall. But he says it works best during the day, when the area around Corridor sees the most foot traffic.

That led Corridor to switch to an entirely full-service format at dinner to attract destination diners who want to make a reservation. With the mixed-service format, only tables on the full-service mezzanine can be reserved; a host at the front of the restaurant directs walk-in customers to the ordering counter. “We have found that people need security that they will have a table waiting for them when they arrive, especially when there aren’t many alternatives in the vicinity,” Cole says. “As we are already doing this in 50% of the restaurant, to allow the remainder to take reservations and full service isn’t a very big leap.” Cole doesn’t expect Corridor’s labor model to be affected, though he says he’ll consider adding more labor if the full-service model allows guests to spend more at dinner. Corridor keeps the ordering counter in use until 4 p.m., after which it doubles as a host stand and a pickup counter for to-go orders; the surrounding space is used as a waiting area for guests.

But Corridor is expanding its mixed-service format by opening earlier to offer weekday breakfast and weekend brunch. “So many people work in the area in addition to residents coming and going, and that crowd appreciates both options—speed and reserved dining,” Cole says. “It makes the scene feel a bit more whimsical and casual, and really helps adhere to almost 100% of diners’ strict time restrictions.”

“[This service format] allows us to run with a lower cost to the guest and still keep our costs in line.”
—Ryan cole, partner

More on Corridor

  • Corridor changed its original mixed-service plan, offering only full service at night.