How Maple Built An Insanely Efficient, Chipotle-Crushing Food Delivery Machine
Maple, a David Chang-backed restaurant in New York City, doesn’t have any tables, cash registers, or waiters. Instead, its customers order meals through its website or mobile app, and a fleet of bike couriers deliver them. By eliminating the dining room and bringing meals to you, Maple is betting that it can sell more meals per hour, using less real estate, than a traditional restaurant.
The current gold standard for zipping patrons through a lunch line (what the industry calls “throughput”) is Chipotle. According to its 2014 annual report, Chipotle manages to serve 300 meals per hour—a transaction every 12 seconds—at its best-performing locations, and the chain is so obsessed with its productivity that it assigns employees efficiency roles with names like “linebacker.”
When Maple launched its first location in April, it served around 50 meals per hour at peak times. Less than a year later, on average it is now serving 800 meals per hour from each of its four kitchens. A few days before I visited in February, it had set a new record: 1,100 meals cooked and delivered in one hour.