The 4 M’s of Foodservice

Wednesday November 1, 2017

There is a brilliant scene in The Founder, the movie about McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, that reveals the early secret to their success.  The scene, “Speedy System,” portrays how the McDonald brothers meticulously choreographed every step in their burger making kitchens from grillers, to burger dressers and custom made tools to deliver the precise amount of ketchup and mustard on each McDonald’s burger.  Known as the Henry Ford of fast food, their “kitchen choreography” revolutionized the restaurant industry by considering the “4 M’s” of foodservice – menu, market, money, and management.


Your menu will determine the design and layout of your kitchen. Different food requires different storage, prep and service equipment, so answer these questions before creating your kitchen:

  1. What dishes are on my menu and how much of it will I be serving each shift/day based upon front of the house seating?
  2. What kind of equipment will I need to properly store, prep and cook everything on my menu, and can one piece of equipment serve multiple purposes?
  3. How many dishes will need to be washed?
  4. What is the shape and square footage of my kitchen?
  5. How much am I willing to invest in my menu?  Will I use prepared food for anything to save money?
  6. Will we offer take-out or a catering menu?


You can’t be all things to all people, but you can tailor your restaurant to a specific demographic in your target market.  Here are a few simple questions to help you paint a clear picture of your target market and your ideal customer to serve as the foundation upon you design and build your kitchen and seating:

  1. What kinds of customers will visit my style of restaurant?
  2. What are these customers’ food and dining preferences?
  3. How many of these customers are in the target market?
  4. What are they willing to pay for the items in my menu?


Let’s face it, money makes or breaks any operation. You’ll need to ensure you have enough capital set aside to cover your first 12-18 months in business and all the uncertainties that are sure to crop up . Keep in mind these simple questions to develop an initial budget that will increase your chances of long-term success:

  1. Am I constructing a new building, or renovating an existing building?
  2. Will I have enough for an interior designer?
  3. What equipment and supplies do I need to support production?
  4. How much will furniture and fixtures cost?

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