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Interview with Restaurant Development and Design


I had the great opportunity to be interviewed by one of my favorite publications - Restaurant Development and Design - about my experience building high-volume locations. Through editing not all of the suggestions made it in the article so I thought I'd summarize them here for you.

  1. Determine who you are designing for - who are your customers? Are they sports groups or business travelers? Families or individuals? Will they dine in or take out or both? Know who you are building for and how they will eat or drink.

  2. Do you have the utilities needed to support the new restaurant? Utilities can be electricity, water, gas, or even drains. If this infrastructure isn't there you'll need to increase your cost-to-build.

  3. Beverage, Beverage, Beverage! Evaluate beverage impacts - Will you serve alcohol? Will you need a bar? Will the non-alcoholic beverages be self-serve? Ice will be a challenge so plan for redundancy because you will run out. Remember when you throw a party at your home beverages become the biggest challenge (e.g. cooling them down, storage, where your guests will access them, etc.) and you never have enough ice - it's the same with restaurants!

  4. Determine if you can share functions with a nearby location (especially if you're in a hotel or theme park). Is there a nearby bakery that can pick up some extra volume to support your bakery products? Can your employees share a breakroom or lockers? How about restrooms for your customers, can a nearby restroom handle more volume or will you need to build more?

  5. Post menus as often as possible to cut down on time needed for decisions at the ordering counter. Hand them out in line, post them in the line, ensure your customers can see them in many locations.

  6. Ensure you have adequate flow from the kitchen to the dining room and back. Don't make employees weave through a dining room without a clear path. Ensure servers have enough server stations and can make it to the kitchen and especially the dishroom unimpeded.

  7. Figure out how you are going to clean the dining room at night and ensure your furniture is in alignment with that plan (e.g. if you are stacking chairs on tables the chairs cannot be heavy, if chairs will remain on the floor and you will be cleaning with water and bleach can the material on the chair legs handle the process?

  8. Ensure your equipment in the kitchen is flexible. For example, individually banked, self-filtering fryers piped to an oil recovery bin on a back dock may be more expensive in design but will save you time and money through the years as the fryers will fail at some point but if they are individual fryers you will only lose one at a time instead of all of them. You also don't want employees having to change the oil as it takes more time (read: money) and it's not as safe. The author mentions water-based fire suppression hoods as well - for a large location these are huge time and money savers!

Click the link above to see the full article

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Fantastic article highlighting your expertise and providing a roadmap to avoiding expensive mistakes and maximizing opportunities!

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