Have you ever been "upset" when entering a place where only one typology of food is sold ? Does it stop you because you want to feel free to select your meal based on your desire of the moment ?
I probably already mentioned this specialization trend in the past. It''s called "monoconcept". Basically, the restaurant proposes one product and then declines it in multiple versions. So if you don't like the product, you're excluded of the customers. For example, you can find in Milan a bar proposing only gin, another one only vermuth etc.
COQ in Porta Romana, is like that. The theme is chicken.
When you go there, you see chicken, you feel chicken, you eat chicken, (and you may even smell chicken when you go back home).
As everything goes around the chicken, they decided to promote a sustainable chain, a selective process where chicken is fed with quality food and has enough space to grow. This is their kind of differentiation compared to a KFC for example.
When you arrive, you're asked to choose the name of your table by picking a stick with a name labelled on the top. This stick will then be positioned on the table and used to take the order. The waiter explains that, when your food will be ready, someone will call the name of our table and you will have to go and pick your dishes directly from the kitchen counter.
So after having some fun to select a name, every name being a play of word with chicken (pollo) word in Italian, we finally sat.
We are in a fast casual, meaning the client participates to the process to limit the service costs and benefits of a good price. Everything is optimized : the menu is printed on the place mat, so you don't have to wait for any waiter to bring a menu.
After reading all the declinations possible of chicken, most of us opted for a half chicken and a side, the chicken coming with a combo of sauces.
While waiting for our food, we got free popcorns and I started to look around. The concept is applied everywhere: graphics of the menu, the napkins, they have their own beer, the ceiling is covered by a net full of eggs... It's a kind of funny experience, you're sitting in a fast food but the overall feeling is different.
At one point, a waiter yelled in a speaker "harry poller" and we had to understand it was for us, that our food was ready.
I enjoyed the meal, it was for sure not gastronomic but definitely ok for the price, and the place is tacky but funny.
My friend from the US found the pairing with the sauce terrible as completely off the beaten tracks.
To conclude ? I would say this is a place you go to experiment the process and the ambiance or for lunch when you want to eat quickly at a good price in this area. This could be the new generation of fast food, less unpersonal and more entertaining. I guess though after experimenting once, there is no surprise effect anymore...but when you go to Mc Donalds, do you still except some surprise (apart maybe the kids with their happy meal )???