City restaurant group brings harmony to the kitchen pass

Drake & Morgan also cuts wait times, improves food quality and increases customer spend with ConnectSmart kitchen automation solution implemented by CST
Rob Mitchell beside a QSR ConnectSmart Kitchen screen, supplied by CST, at Drake & Morgan's venue, The Anthologist

When it comes to lunch, workers in the City tend to have high expectations but only 45 minutes to meet them. Which is a problem for restaurants. But Drake & Morgan, the female-focused, London-based restaurant and bar group, has managed to cut wait times, increase spend per head, quicken table turns and improve food quality across all five of its sites. How? By using the ConnectSmart® kitchen automation software and hardware technology, developed in the USA by QSR Automations® and supplied in the UK by Call Systems Technology (CST).

“We’re all about dining in beautiful surroundings, great food and presentation, and friendly, customer-focussed staff,” says Rob Mitchell, group executive chef. “We cater for the female market in the city. Our menu features a mix of British and European dishes, we offer fifty different wines by the glass and we look for consistency and quality across all the sites.”

Capacity management was a key issue for the Group. Typically a lunch table would wait 15 or 20 minutes from ordering to eating. Given the increasing business, plus the 45 minute window, things needed to speed up so that the restaurants could turn more tables and cope with demand.

Rob admits he was sceptical about kitchen automation at first. Then he saw the system in operation in the States. Benefits like improved food quality and reduced order wait times were clear but one thing really struck home. “Usually in busy restaurant bars there is tension at the pass between kitchen and front of house, as busy waiting staff chase their orders. There are tickets to lose, orders to miss. Not with QSR’s ConnectSmart Kitchen (CSK) graphical software. The system decides what chefs cook. It’s on the screens for everyone to see. No arguments and a lot more harmony!

“It means floor managers never have to come to the kitchen to chase an order, they can spend their time front of house, looking after the customer.”

With CSK, waiting staff automatically send orders straight from the EpoS system to the kitchen.  Here CSK analyses orders and automatically allocates them, via screens at chefs’ stations. “CSK takes the pressure off, by telling chefs what to do next so they can just get on with cooking,” says Rob. The system ensures that, however long each element takes to prepare, all the separate parts for a table’s order arrive at the pass simultaneously, whether it be steak, soufflé or salad. “That means the food doesn’t hang around at the pass but goes straight to the table, so customers enjoy the best possible quality.”

On top of the seventy ‘standard’ menu items, all the Drake & Morgan sites have their own specials of the day – three for lunch and three for dinner. Each head chef decides on these, and inputs them onto their site’s EpoS, which is seamlessly interfaced with ConnectSmart.  “It takes about five minutes to load all six, so it’s no big deal.” The CSK screens also ensure that all kitchen staff have the information and specs they need to prepare the specials.

Rob says that CSK has slashed order completion times from up to 20 minutes to just eight, which has huge ramifications.  “The main thing, of course, is that customers are happy. Also, because they get their main course so quickly, they have enough time for a dessert. Plus, the speed of service means table turnover is increased.”

The system is easy to adopt and CST’s expert support team is on hand to ensure a smooth implementation and answer any questions.  “It takes chefs about a day to get used to the screen and whenever there is an issue, not that there often is, CST are here within a few hours. It’s very good service.”

From being a dyed-in-the-wool ticket man Rob has become a kitchen automation advocate.  “Reduced order wait times, better food quality, increased spend per head, increased table turn, not to mention peace at the pass. QSR’s ConnectSmart delivers on all of it.”

To watch a video interview with Rob Mitchell on the CST website, click here.

Call Systems Technology is the strategic partner for QSR Automations in the UK and Europe.  For details freephone 0800 389 5642, call 020 8381 1338, email the company at or visit