A few months ago I penned an article about how to choose a restaurant design team or hotel design and development team so I thought I’d share it as a follow-up post to Design Part II. You can click the link at the bottom to get to the full article.
Starting a restaurant can be the most challenging yet rewarding task of a business owner’s career. You need a good location, solid concept, a clear direction and an abundant amount of capital to begin the process. Once an entrepreneur has these requirements in place, the first step is to assemble the restaurant design team, but this can actually be the most challenging part of the process. There are as many professionals out there as there are jobs to be done, but how many are hired depends on the amount of knowledge had by the owner, how much effort they want to put into the process and of course the budget.
At the minimum, depending on physical location and amount of work required to implement a concept in the space, a project will most likely require the services of a licensed architect and engineer or at the least, a restaurant design consultant that can generate plans for use by a general contractor and for submission to the local health department and any applicable permitting office.
On the higher end of a budget for design, and with minimum work required by the owner, the list of professionals employed on a restaurant design team could be an architect, interior designer and engineer as well as consultants for restaurant kitchen design, dining room layout and flow, concept branding consultant and of course, the general contractor and their subcontracting trades. The costs incurred by using such an impressive design and development team can be substantial, but the benefits to the project and the likelihood of success could far outweigh the initial investment in these professionals.
Just as in a food service operation, there will be an experienced professional working in their area of expertise on any restaurant design team, so will a project may have these same segmented professionals working in tandem to develop a concept. Every person will have a role in the development process that will benefit from their area of expertise. Certainly, not every project has the budget to employ this number of professionals, and the majority of new concepts develop seamlessly with an architect, engineer, commercial kitchen design consultant and general contractor so this is usually adequate for most new restaurateurs.
Once there is a clear idea of what the project can afford and what experts are needed for the location, the selection process can now begin. This usually starts with the owner contacting a project coordinator which would either be an architect who specializes in restaurants, or more often, a restaurant kitchen design firm. An experienced firm specializing in restaurant development can easily provide the owner with several potential team members that they would recommend being contracted by the owner. The restaurant industry is a very unique one so utilizing a project coordinator who specializes in this field will help reduce start up costs dramatically, simply due to their ability to predict and negate any potential delays due to inexperience by an outside influence in the project.
No matter where a restaurant owner sees their concept going, it must begin with an experienced team to help them bring it to reality as quickly and efficiently as possible. In this industry, there is no substitute for practical, hands on experience and that experience can be invaluable to any potential owner looking for an advantage in the most volatile business in the world.