Chef Zak Pelaccio and partner Rick Camac already have a stable of successful eateries serving tasty, Southeast Asian-influenced fare—three Fatty Crab locations in New York City and the Virgin Islands and two Fatty 'Cue posts in Brooklyn and the West Village. But the pair's most recent venture is considerably smaller: Four Fatty Snack and Fatty 'Cue kiosks in New York City's Financial District, Battery Park, and around Central Park. Camac tells us about the decision to start smaller outposts.
Why did you decide to do food kiosks instead of another restaurant? Three reasons: It’s an easier, less expensive way to test a new area, it’s an easier and less expensive way to test a new concept, and its scalability potential.
What are some of the issues you've had to deal with? Storage and prep areas are at an absolute minimum. It's tough to get qualified personnel. There are various Department of Health permitting issues that don't exist at restaurants. And if you're in a park you not only have to deal with every community board surrounding that park, but the park's conservancy as well.
What kind of customer are you hoping to attract? We're looking for the client that wants a high-quality item, at a reasonable price, served quickly with a smile. Pricing needs to be less expensive as no one wants to spend $30 at a kiosk. Menu choices need to be easy to handle for people on the go and the choices have to be more approachable, as oftentimes the crowd can be mostly tourists, especially if you're in a park.
How do you think kiosks can help build your brand? Kiosks give you the opportunity to get your brand name out there quicker and ultimately win over new clientele. It attracts a demographic that may be different from your current one, so some of these new clients may represent pure incremental revenue.
What advice do you have for people wanting to do something similar? It would greatly depend on their concept. You want to make sure your kiosk offerings have a connection to your other ventures and that you're not sacrificing quality or integrity in order to accomplish this. Of course, a strong kiosk concept doesn't always translate into a strong restaurant concept. People have different expectations at a restaurant.
CLARISSA CRUZ is the Fashion Features Editor of O, The Oprah Magazine. She is the former Style Editor of People magazine and has written for Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Food & Wine, and Budget Travel. @clarissanyc1