Dharma Sushi & Thai: Right Concept, Right Time

Nestled on a corner across from Boise City Hall and just a quick walk from Capitol Park, Dharma Sushi & Thai’s sprawling picture windows invite Central Downtown corporate lunch crowds into its tastefully-chic interior. However, this seemingly innocuous lunch-time gem really turns on the charm when the street lights spark. Barely a hop from a score of Boise, Idaho’s downtown pubs, bars and breweries (they even have one downstairs), Dharma is perfectly poised to ambush late night foot traffic with an ambitious selection of Thai and Asian-fusion cuisine.

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Self-order done right with proper signage showing guests where to order.

The menu is expansive yet delicious to say the least, starting with instantly appealing appetizers including calamari fries and “money bags,” fried Thai dumplings stuffed with cream cheese, crab, carrots and cabbage. They continue their temptation with a selection of sushi rolls ranging from traditional to Thai-influenced, and Dharma’s covered their bases for the food-fad conscious by providing gluten free & vegan options. There is also a selection of Thai-style bowls, salads, sides and desserts to round out the menu, and guests can wash it all down with a cold craft beer at last call.

Dharma Sushi & Thai is the right concept at the right time, as sushi and exotic concepts in Fast Casual are on the rise according to industry trend predictions for 2015. Adding craft beer and late hours is a definite “win” to appeal both to Millennials and their kid brothers, as is the addition of another rising industry trend, self-order kiosks. For generations who have grown up with a user interface to buy, play, bank and communicate, self-order is easily adopted and statistically preferred to provide customized experiences that they can control.

Craft beer, Thai food & sushi; what's not to like?

Dharma Sushi & Thai turned on two brand new kiosks from NEXTEP SYSTEMS earlier this month, devices designed to streamline the order process, increase order accuracy and free up labor in the restaurant for production and customer service. The interface is simple and appealing, with grids of sushi rolls displayed on a theme that matches Dharma’s concept. Interactive tiles let guests tap a button to see the ingredients of each item which guests can then modify on the following screens. The menu flow is linear and quick, with average order times hovering just over 2 minutes.

Nothing sells food better than... pictures of food!

The social media jury is still out as there haven’t been any reviews that involve use of the kiosks quite yet. However, if you allow the numbers to fill in the blanks, it’s safe to say that Dharma Sushi & Thai is rolling a lot of sushi. With a concept as spot-on as Dharma’s is to today’s market, you have to assume they’re rolling a lot of c-notes as well.


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