The Fajita Experience
Las Iguanas, and its 57 restaurants across the UK, invest heavily in its people, its restaurant layouts and menu to create an atmosphere that consistently receives excellent reviews from romantic dining couples through to large parties and celebrational events.
For many customers, the fajita dishes on the menu are a key part of this unique Las Iguanas experience. They are seen as a key ‘hero dish’ for the company with the potential to further differentiate and stand out from an increasingly competitive market.
With the company going through rapid growth, they wanted to build on their success and turned to us to reduce the burden on staff whilst enhancing the customer experience for diners around this key dish that was practical, effective, and affordable.
Our programme of research included mapping out the staff’s tasks in the restaurant to gain an understanding of how the food was prepared, presented, and positioned on the table from the diner’s point of view. The research allowed us to uncover any pain points and existing highlights we could amplify. The pain points we discovered included a lack of sufficient space around the restaurant, due to the premium table space required, making it difficult for the staff to deliver hot food and associated items to and from customer's tables. Highlights include the visual 'theatre' that the kitchen area displays to the customer due to the open kitchen layout. Following this research, our design team then translated these newly discovered opportunity areas into new product and service innovation interventions.
During the Conceptual Design phase of work, we focussed on five key areas that included preparation & cooking, food delivery, eating at the table, food and item collection, and cleaning & storage. From the 132 ideas generated, we shortlisted the concepts determined by technical viability, commercial potential, and overall synergy with the Las Iguanas brand.
These concepts focussed on reducing the number of journeys by staff to deliver multiple fajita sets, support in delivering a ‘fajita experience’, help aid in easier table collection, and storing the fajita stacks. We also focussed on concepts that helped to address the problem with congestion on and around the table due to the number of items used to create the fajitas.
Following conceptual design, we then refined the concepts in collaboration with Las Iguanas to establish a single direction that achieved the goals set out and successfully met customer and staff needs. The final design was then prepared for manufacture, ensuring that Las Iguanas’ vision was realised in the final product, with brand colours, materials and finish all inspired by their existing brand identity.
ROLLOUT AND IMPACT
Since our restaurant research and product development activity, the 'fajita experience' stack developed by PDR has now been rolled out across all of the Las Iguanas restaurants across the UK and beyond. Feedback has confirmed that the new stacking system has become an overwhelming success adding to the 'theatre' created at Las Iguana restaurants. The fajita stacking system is regularly used as part of Las Iguanas' marketing campaigns and promotions to attract new and existing customers to the restaurant.