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Future Shock

Sorry, no flying cars--but Arby's has a new kitchen . . .

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This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

More sales with less work? That's what Arby's "Kitchen of the Future" is attempting to accomplish with the franchise's first major redesign in a quarter century. The prototype optimizes employee efficiency with new equipment that makes for easier cleanup and maintenance, longer product life and better product quality. But beyond modernizing the kitchen, the company hopes the proj-ect will bring some much-needed relief for labor headaches.

"There's a lot of pressure on franchisees to hire and retain employees. They face difficulties every day with that problem," says Steven A. Jones, Arby's director of franchise development. "After doing volume simulations through a mock-up [of the kitchen], we were surprised and excited to find we could do significantly higher sales volumes with anywhere from two to three fewer people."

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