When noodling the launch of their first fast casual, Peter Newlin and Jean-Philippe Failyau—both full-service vets—faced a problem common in the business: High employee costs were forcing them to decide whether to set higher menu prices or cut corners on ingredient quality. “We didn’t want to do that,” says Newlin. The alternative they landed on is Birdcall, their just-launched 100-seat Denver fried chicken concept that all but replaces front-of-house staff with a handful of tablets. Birdcall uses custom software to guide guests through the ordering process, which begins at a kiosk. Within minutes, customers receive a text that their order is ready and waiting in one of the numbered bays (they are also displayed on TV monitors). Birdcall does have one employee on the floor to greet diners and get them acquainted with the technology. Four more staffers typically work the back-of-house stations.
Limited menu simplifies operations
The menu includes a half-dozen chicken sandwich variations, plus breakfast sandwiches, salads, a kids menu, wine, beer and milkshakes. Kiosk users must show ID before picking up their adult beverages.
Kiosks over order-takers
Early testing helped Birdcall’s owners settle on the number of kiosks they say best keeps traffic flowing at the restaurant. User profiles are tied to diners’ credit cards, allowing them to customize the experience with their favorite orders, contact info and more.
Orders organized via numbered bays
The kiosk ordering and cubby pickup system is similar to Bay Area-concept Eatsa, which provided some inspiration for Birdcall. “They’re the Elon Musk of restaurants,” says Newlin.