FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to a fast food facility specializing in gourmet foods from around the world.
Typical fast food restaurants have kitchens where whether the cooking process is visible or not from the customer, there is a strong food odor. This is due to deep frying kitchen equipment and a multitude of ovens. Further, wait persons are required, cashiers are required, cooks are required, refrigeration for uncooked food is needed, etc., and the variety of foods available is limited to basic meats, seafood and pasta meals, many of these fried foods.
In addition, the overhead of these facilities is considered high given that typical fast food restaurants such as Taco Bell™, Subway™, Denny's™, Steak & Shake™, Olive Gardens™, IHOP™, Burger King™, McDonald's™, and other similar eating facilities typically employ from 8 to 35 employees.
All of these typical restaurants have limited variety of foods and have specific themes, for example, an Olive Gardens restaurant is typically considered an Italian restaurant with pasta dishes.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
What is needed is a new restaurant concept that minimizes equipment to warm food to reduce odors and provides for a health conscious food menu that is representative of food choices from several countries in one place.
That is, what is needed is a restaurant type of facility that could even be franchisable, that is going to sell good quality, well affordable health gourmet fast-food that is representative of foods from all over the world.
Any family or person will be able to enjoy this new concept with many advantages for the following reasons: many different dishes from different countries will be offered; the dishes will be ready as fast as the average fast food franchise time; the food will be very healthy and tasty and comparable to the same food served by an expensive restaurant specializing in this type of food; the price will be comparable to an average fast food franchise; any taste can fit into the new concept; the market will target all classes of people including race, culture and religion; people will be able to frequently eat at a facility without getting tired of the same food because of the variety of dishes available and also the internal ambient that will be able to change constantly including the smell of the place that will be able to be fresh all the time with this new concept of a restaurant franchise or facility; there will be no need for tips because the facility will not have a waiter; the facility will always be clean and quiet because there will be a different concept of kitchen with no mess and no noise and also very few people; there will be no oil or fat smell impregnating the place with this new concept of restaurant franchise, this concept could be fit in a very small place like a food court at the mall or anywhere else in the countryside due to the simplicity, and low cost and maintenance; this inventive concept would also be very adaptable for establishment in other countries; this concept could even be set up at a temporary places very easily, like shows and confernces troughout the world and also places with very little people like very small cities and villas due to its low overhead and easy way to set up; and finally this new concept could become one of the largest restaurant franchise fast food establishments in the world due to all the reasons listed above. Additionally, the number of health inspections could arguably be diminished. Expensive quality control could be eliminated or reduced, losses and waste could be minimized, extensive cleaning can be reduced, high insurance rates/premiums can be reduced, thousands can be saved in licenses, specialized labor, intensive training and the normal high investment in kitchen equipment. Overhead cost can also be significantly reduced.
An ideal facility is a facility with the same size as any other fast food franchise, but much more optimized due to the size of the kitchen that will be reduced at least at 60% of size and cost to build, with at least the same income but with one third of the overhead cost, also a significant reduced time to get licenses and permits to build. The ideal facility finds it much easier to find people to work due to the simplicity of the job, it means that an entire business could begin much faster than any other in the same category with the advantage of not having problems with quality control and recruiting several employees.
It is within the scope of the invention that each facility will have different offers and specials, trying to cater to the location, for example, if the facility is located in a part of a town with mostly Hispanic people of Mexican heritage, then the facility will offer some of the most popular plates from Mexico that are generally enjoyed by people in Mexico. In addition to the Mexican food, other food from the U.S. and other countries will also be available for ordering from the menu.
Initially the source or supply of food will not be prepared on site but rather will come from local factories and other restaurants under contract for supplying these foods. In the future, it is anticipated that should a franchise system be developed that the chain of facilities will have its own central production and distribution facility for supplying and replenishing the facility with food dishes. The food dishes will be supplied frozen to the facility in a disposable package and all foods would meet regulatory and inspection requirements.
The way the customers will select the dishes is as follows. A book-like menu will be made for all the offered dishes, including a picture of the dish, base seasoning, history, ingredients and nutritional data, with the menu number assigned to the specific dish that is ordered at the table on a unique order board located at each table. After the customer selects the specific dish, the customer is advised that his order is ready for pick up and he can then pick up a tray with his order dish thereon.
Food selections that need to be warmed up before pick-up are warmed by a staff member. If it is necessary to warm up the dish again, this can be done by a crew member working the floor. The smell in typical restaurants is caused by fat and smoke from deep fryers, and the fat and smoke impregnated on floors and walls and other equipments such as hoods. In the present invention, any smell will be minimal and will instead emit a smell that resembles more that found in convenience stores where coffee brewing is smelled but in this case the smell may include one associated with what is being warmed-up at the moment from a selection made by the customer.
The customer will be able to self-pay with a credit card at the table, or at a cashier station when picking up the food. This can be done with automated computerized machines at the table and/or at the cashier station similar to self-pay devices already implemented in grocery stores and other retail stores.
Examples of typical world gourmet dishes that may be available are: Brazil—feijoada, moqueca capichaba, bobo de camarao; Spain—paella, parrillada; India—chicken tikka masala, lamb pasanda; Arab Countries—kafta, enjadra; Japan—teriyaki shrimp, etc.; Italy—lasagna, veal parmesan, etc.; China—canton steak, peking duck, etc.; Puerto Rico—mofongo, etc.; Cuba—pallomila steak, etc.; Colombia—tamales, etc.; among other countries. Other delicacies that could be served are food such as rabbit, frog legs, liver, and other kinds of foods that offer a different taste and/or is rare.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Because of the nature of the restaurant concept herein, exotic foods will be capable of being offered at a price comparable to those found in fast food chains and will be served just as quickly as those foods served in such fast food chains.
In the accompanying drawings:
FIG. 1 is a representative conceptual depiction of a fast food facility according to the invention; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 2 is a conceptual depiction of a menu selection device from which a customer can view details of offered food items and then make a selection that is transmitted to the staff in the food preparation area of the facility
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the invention, generally referred to as 10 herein, is a method for providing quality exotic foods or foods 40 from a variety of countries at prices comparable to fast food restaurants comprising providing a restaurant facility 12 specializing in international gourmet foods 40. The facility 12 has tables 14 and chairs 16 for customers to sit and eat selected food items 40.
Means for selecting the food items 40 are provided. Preferably, this can be in the form of a menu selection book 18. One conceptual example of such a menu selection book 18 is depicted in FIG. 2, wherein the menu selection book 18 includes informational data related to a food item being considered for selection including one of pictures 18 a of the food item, and textual data 18 b that may include seasonings in the food item, history of the food item, ingredients within the food item, and nutritional data and any combination of said informational data. The food items 40 available for selection comprises a variety of ethnic foods representative of popular foods typically found in various countries around the world.
Means for ordering the selected food item 40 at the table 14 is also provided. One example of this are buttons 18c associated with each food item 40 that can be activated from the menu selection book 18 and adjacent to it. This order means would be in electronic communication with a menu order screen 30 displayed in the kitchen or food preparation area of the facility 12.
Means for a staff member working at the facility 12 is provided to warm-up and/or cook the selected food item 40 when appropriate. This can be in the form of a microwave and food warmer equipment area 26. The food items 40 are initially anticipated to be prepared at an independent supply source 24 and stored at the facility 12 in a frozen state in refrigeration equipment area 28.
Means for advising a customer that an ordered food item 40 is ready for pick-up is also provided. On example of such means may include activating the order button such that it flashes as shown by light waves 18 d in FIG. 2 for one of the order buttons 18 c. Other methods can be used such as a speaker announcement that an order for a specific table is ready.
Means for the customer to pay for the selected food item 40 consumed at the facility 12 is also provided. One example of this is where a payment can be processed using an automated computerized machine 20 a located at the table or at a self-pay cashier station 20 b before exiting the facility 12.
The objective of the invention 10 is to have selected food items 40, which are ready for pick-up within a time span comparable to that experienced in typical fast food restaurants and prices for available food items are comparable to those prices typically found in said fast food restaurants.
As mentioned above, the food items 40 are pre-processed at a food supply source 24 independent of the facility 12. The facility 12, on the other hand, includes minimal means 26 for warming and/or cooking selected food items 40 required to be warmed and/cooked. This allows for any odors associated with food preparation being significantly less than food odors typically associated with odors generally associated with typical fast food restaurants.
It should be understood that the preceding is merely a detailed description of one or more embodiments of this invention and that numerous changes to the disclosed embodiments can be made in accordance with the disclosure herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The preceding description, therefore, is not meant to limit the scope of the invention. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be determined only by the appended claims and their equivalents.