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About Scheduling

How can Projects A to Z help to speed up the permit processing procedures?

We are restaurant designers who specialized in building, fire and health codes for restaurant projects only. We are experienced with kitchen design, equipment layout, equipment specifications, sink requirements, interior floor, wall and ceiling finish standards, ADA codes and clearance and fire egress and exit requirements. Our drawings are easy to comprehend which can shorten the plan check process by the city departments. You also have the option to hire our account manager to coordinate the permit processing for you to further speed up the project. Our account managers can help you stack up the plans, file applications, and do follow up phone calls with the plan checkers to keep you posted during the entire process.

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How can Projects A to Z help to speed up the initial planning process?

We are professional food service consultants who can help you plan the space efficiently with the right equipments and draft a layout that is cost effective and code complaint at the same time to help you get cost estimates and negotiate for leasing terms with your landlord.

We are experienced in working and communicating with engineers, architects, contractors and restaurant owners with different backgrounds. Whether you were a chef, a restaurant manager, or a business person, we can help you visualize your restaurant faster, with more style and less hassles.

Please see Interior Space Planning Service for details.

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About Mechanics

Could I add a new hood to my existing cafe?

It depends on your building structure. How many stories are there? It would be much easier if the building is single storied, so that the shaft can run from your hood directly up to the roof. Otherwise, it would be difficult if there are other tenants above your joint. → permalink

Could I share a grease interceptor with my neighbor?

It depends on which city your restaurant is located. However, we do not recommend it. When you share a grease interceptor, you are also sharing the liability to maintain and repair the entire system which includes the plumbing and the actual tank itself. We know it costs quite a bit of money when we have to call for plumbing services for repairs, therefore, it’s definitely not a good idea to share such feature with anyone. With proper maintenance and cleaning, you should not have to worry about repairing the grease interceptor in the near future.

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About Restaurant Planning

How can Projects A to Z help with my business proposal?

Since cost estimate is a big part of business proposal, we can work with you to price out the project starting with these two services: interior space planning and interior design. The interior space planning service provides a floor plan that is code complaint, work efficient and cost effective for your business concept. You may submit this floor plan to any contractor for a preliminary cost estimate. The interior design service provides realistic 3D computer modeling, material board and material list to help you price out the cost to build your dream dining room. You may even post the realistic rendering on your facebook, website, and news paper to advertise your restaurant even before construction starts.→ permalink

How to ensure you have the right equipments for your operation?

We will study your menu and provide an initial equipment consultation prior to starting any layout. Item by item, we will ensure you have the right equipment necessary to make all the food and beverages listed on your menu. If you are a chef, then you would likely to have more preference in regards to equipment selection; if you are restaurant manager, then you would probably be more particular with the layout of the service stations; We will listen to your needs and help you sort out the missing pieces together. If you are a an investor with no restaurant operating experience, we are here to help you select the most heavy duty and popular cooking equipments. Moreover, because we don’t sell equipment, we can offer the most unbiased design solutions to help you pick the right equipment that fits your operation the best. You are also free to shop online for the most competitive pricing possible for your equipments. → permalink

How to pick a good design firm?

First understand your expectations and find out what the designers can offer to your project. Also know your design budget before hand. Traditionally interior designers charge by the hours to provide design proposals and make revisions as requested with an opened ended billing system. Some designers offer design service at a competitive pricing, but would require you to purchase furniture and fixtures from them. It’s essential to budget for the design fees and furniture cost with a clear picture when looking to hire the right designer.

At Projects A to Z, we provide honest design solutions. We sell service instead of product. Our design fees are straight forward and transparent. We don’t sell furniture or equipment, but we will assist you to shop for the lowest prices possible.

” I chose Projects A to Z in part because of their portfolio of successful projects and very competitive prices”
– OWNER OF CUBA LINDA CAFE – LINDA

Please see our services here

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About Projects A to Z

Why choose Projects A to Z?

At Projects A to Z, we provide honest design solutions. We sell service instead of product. Our design fees are straight forward and transparent. We don’t sell furniture or equipment, but we will assist you to shop for the lowest prices possible.

Our designers specialized in restaurant projects only.  They are not restricted to selecting furniture and material based on in stock availability. 

It’s the company’s ultimate goal to building unique restaurants around the world.  There are no cookie cutters here. Our designers are encouraged to spend quality time on concept development on each project regardless of size and budget. 

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How can Projects A to Z help to speed up the initial planning process?

We are professional food service consultants who can help you plan the space efficiently with the right equipments and draft a layout that is cost effective and code complaint at the same time to help you get cost estimates and negotiate for leasing terms with your landlord.

We are experienced in working and communicating with engineers, architects, contractors and restaurant owners with different backgrounds. Whether you were a chef, a restaurant manager, or a business person, we can help you visualize your restaurant faster, with more style and less hassles.

Please see Interior Space Planning Service for details.

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What does Projects A to Z stand for?

Projects A to Z stand for the wide range of restaurant projects we do around the world. Regardless of where you are in the world, we can offer honest and creative design solutions to your restaurant project to help you bring in the crowd. → permalink

What should I have accomplished before contracting Projects A to Z?

Although we love to make the ride as smooth as possible, a number of concerns would need to be thought out by you ahead of time: (you may contact us at any stage when you have questions for any of the following concerns)

  1. Establish a food service business plan. Envision your future business with bold ideas and rethink each one carefully. Listed below are some sample questions you may want to ask yourself:

    • What kind of food do I want to serve?
    • What major cooking equipments do I need? (although Projects A to Z does not sell equipments, however, it is part of our job to help you layout and specify every single piece of equipments needed for your future business)
    • How many people do I want to serve? Do I want to seat 50 or more? Do I only want to serve to-gos? Do I want to deliver?
    • How do I want the place to function? Do I want a full service bar? A decorative bar? Opening kitchen? Eating counter? Any VIP room?
    • Do I want to serve breakfast, lunch and or dinner? Do I want to close the place up in the afternoon?
    • Would you like to put any emphasis on history, culture, type of food, special service or any new concepts?
    • How many employees do I need? (Projects A to Z will help you design a functional floor plan with your employee’s foot traffic in mind)
    • What kind of clientele am I after?
    • What’s an average priced meal per person?
    • How fast do I want to serve the food? How long do I want each customer to stay?
    • Do I want to incorporate any other means of entertainment? Live music band? Plasma T.Vs?
    • Do I need speakers? Do I need an office?
  2. Conduct research on your business location and analyze whether it’s adequate for your proposed use. Below is a checklist you may find handy for selecting the right site.

    If it’s an existing restaurant:

    • Is the exhaust hood still in good condition? Is the size good enough to serve your future business? Note: changing the exhaust hood is costly and can eat up a good portion of your budget.
    • Are the restrooms up to ADA code? (Building new ADA restrooms is costly; finding existing spaces with ADA restrooms could save you a lot of money.)
    • Ask a Health department inspector to write up a report for a list of issues to be addressed before the change of ownership can take place. If the changes are minor, you may not need to apply for a health permit. Check the report carefully and see if any major change is required.
    • Contact the landlord and negotiate for a good lease. Most landlords are willing to offer 3 months of free rent period for remodeling. (a number of our clients have obtained extraordinary lease deals after presenting the value and quality of Projects A to Z’ s design package to their landlords.)
    • Check the neighborhood for its demographic, culture and clientele to see if it’s an ideal location for you.

    If it’s a new empty space:

    • Check with the landlord and the city’s planning department to see whether the space is zoned for restaurant use and or bar use.
    • Check the neighborhood for its demographic, culture and clientele to see if it’s an ideal location for you.
    • If the space is too big for your intended use, check with the landlord to see if the space is divisible.
    • Hire a licensed General Contractor to survey the site for you to see if the existing electrical and plumbing conditions are suitable for restaurant use.
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How to get a reliable estimate for your project?

Well, there are many types of “construction estimates”, one type we see a lot, is when your contractors come in, take a look at the space, and give you a rough estimate based on his experience and other restaurant projects he did in the past. Sometimes he can get pretty close to the number, but many times he can be thrown off a little himself because each site has different code related design restrictions. He might have done a project where a 3 ton AC was making everyone cool and happy and forgot that your restaurant, located at a warmer climate zone with slightly more cooking equipments and larger dining room would need a 4 ton unit to maintain a comfortable temperature; or he might think that one restroom is going to do the job for you, but you are actually required to have two; or he might think you need 10 recessed lights, but you really want 20; He thinks a 10’ long hood is going to fit, but it’s not because you wanted that extra fryer… It’s essential to plan ahead and ensure you have the budget for the project before making any commitment. The last thing you want to expect is to find out in the middle of the project, that it will cost you 500K to open the restaurant instead of 50K, but you can’t quit, because you already invested that 50K in the project. And please don’t blame the contractor for trying to help in the first place, because it’s beyond his expertise to find out for you whether a 10’ L hood is enough for your operation or not. Now, lets get back to the right track. How can we assist the contractor to give you an estimate that is more reliable? The answer is to have a professionally drafted layout that is code compliant, practical and operational at the same time to help your contractor price out everything correctly. With a proposed layout, we can find out exactly what it takes to convert the existing site to your restaurant with all the features that are essential to your operation. With a proposed layout we will know:
  • 1.How much demolition we need to do.
  • 2.How many new walls we need build.
  • 3. How long of a counter / millwork we need to build.
  • 4. How long of a hood we need.
  • 5. How many new sinks we need and how far apart are they from each other.
  • 6. What equipments we need and how much they cost.
  • 7. The number of required ADA restrooms per building code and how much space they take.
  • 8. How many new plumbing and electrical connections we need.
  • 9. How many seats we can fit in the space
With a proposed layout, your contractor will be able to give you a more accurate estimate to help you evaluate whether the site can allow the project to be affordable and cost effective. The proposed layout is also a great tool for you to communicate with the landlord and explain to him the scope of your project in his space and find out whether he can provide tenant improvement funding or not.→ permalink
About Interior Design and Remodeling

My budget is low, how could you help?

Since we are not contractors and we don’t sell construction material and equipment, we can work around any budget. We are also happy to work around your existing furniture or select from your source when requested. → permalink

How do I know if the designer can deliver the right concept and style to my restaurant?

There are three things we will do to ensure this.

  • 1. Research and concept development. Our designers understand restaurant projects in marketing terms. Conducting researches for your concept and location is always the first step in our design process. The design concept and decor will also match with your food theme and clientele to create a space that is welcoming to your customers.
  • 2. Comprehensive interview process. Our designers will use a power point presentation to show you samples of well designed restaurants of different styles to help you communicate with your thoughts and ideas. If there are other samples you would like us to look at, please feel free to show us too during the interview. We will make sure that we ask the right questions to help you communicate the right style with the right color concept.
  • 3. Presentation with realistic 3D computer models. During the second meeting, our designers will present the proposed design with a rough computer model to help you visualize the design. This is the best time to check if we are on the right direction to producing the style desired. We will continue to revise the rough design to ensure we are on the right page before producing the final rendering.

Please click here to read more about our unique design process and approach.

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I have a color palette in my mind already, how can I incorporate this palette into the design?

Work with our designer to see how we could fit your color palette into the design. Our designer will work closely with you to ensure the mood that we are creating is exactly what is in your head.Please
click here to read about our successful restaurant design projects.

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How much value can booth seating add to my restaurant?

It depends on what type of restaurant you are running. Booths are kind of essential to the following establishments: diners, American comfort food, and any other fine dining restaurants. Booth can provide comfort to your customers, because they are usually cushioned on the back and on the seat, as compared to wood or metal backs on a typical restaurant chair. If you pay closer attention to customers in a restaurant with booths, you would find that booths are usually the first being taken as compared to other type of seating. With this being said, booths do cost quite a bit of initial investment. Good quality booths can cost some where around $600 and up a piece depending upon the type of fabric and style. 1 set of booth can cost you up to $1200. One alternative for booth is settee. Settees are more versatile and therefore are more popular to new restaurant owners nowadays. A settee is an extended booth, generally cushioned, to accomodate multiple tables and loose chairs. It’s more economical to have settees nowadays since they cost less money to build, and usually a 20 feet long settee can provide enough visual impact to the overall atmosphere. Other than providing visual impacts, these colorful booths and settees can also help to enhance the acoustics. Therefore, if budget allows, booths and settees can add tremendous values to your restaurant.

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About Permit Processing

When do I need to apply for permits?

Whenever you are making any structural, mechanical, electrical and or plumbing modifications, building permits are required. Moreover, whenever there is a change of ownership, the city may require the new owner to conduct a tenant improvement on the property, which means the new owner may need to invest and bring the place up to code. The minimum cost and areas for upgrades required for a T.I project, however, depends on the local codes and governence.

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Why do I need electrical engineer’s plans?

Not only the fact that these plans are required for building permit submittal, they are also for your protection. These plans specify the design and calculation prepared by licensed engineers proposed specifically for your site. The engineer would help to ensure that your building envelope can supply enough power for your intended use and allocate the power adequately for different equipments. Without proper calculation and design, your business may face power shortage problems in the future. Furthermore, the electrical engineer will also help to calculate the light load to fulfill the California title 24 energy saving measurement. By doing so, it will help to economize your energy bill subsequently.

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Why do I need mechanical engineer’s plan?

Not only the fact that these plans are required for building permit submittal, they are also for your protection. These plans specify the design and calculation prepared by licensed engineers proposed specifically for your site. The engineer would help to ensure that your new piping and hood design will adjoin harmoniously with your existing building structure. Since many food service professional consider the hood and the ventilation system as the core of a restaurant, the design for the two major systems should be comprehensive and well thought.

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About Furniture & Purchasing

Why Projects A to Z doesn’t sell furniture and equipment?

 At Projects A to Z, offering sincere customer service has been our main emphasis. To avoid interest conflicts and to give you the most economic and ideal design solutions, we do not sell any merchandise for profit. However, it is part of our service to help you select commercial grade material and to provide you with the vendor’s info. You may find your own source and purchase separately. We are also happy to work with your existing or used items and integrate them into part of the design concept. 

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Can I select and purchase the furniture and equipment myself?

Absolutely. Projects A to Z’s designers will guide you through the furniture selection process even from your own source. You may then purchase your own furniture separately.

As far as equipments are concerned, there are many suppliers on Internet that can provide you with a complete bid for the equipment costs. We recommend that you get three competitive bids before settling with anyone of them. Or you may shop for individual items for special deals.

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About Construction

What if I have my own contractors?

Projects A to Z will be happy to work with your own contractor. You are not required to hire our preferred contractor while we perform design services to you.

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How to get a reliable estimate for your project?

Well, there are many types of “construction estimates”, one type we see a lot, is when your contractors come in, take a look at the space, and give you a rough estimate based on his experience and other restaurant projects he did in the past. Sometimes he can get pretty close to the number, but many times he can be thrown off a little himself because each site has different code related design restrictions. He might have done a project where a 3 ton AC was making everyone cool and happy and forgot that your restaurant, located at a warmer climate zone with slightly more cooking equipments and larger dining room would need a 4 ton unit to maintain a comfortable temperature; or he might think that one restroom is going to do the job for you, but you are actually required to have two; or he might think you need 10 recessed lights, but you really want 20; He thinks a 10’ long hood is going to fit, but it’s not because you wanted that extra fryer… It’s essential to plan ahead and ensure you have the budget for the project before making any commitment. The last thing you want to expect is to find out in the middle of the project, that it will cost you 500K to open the restaurant instead of 50K, but you can’t quit, because you already invested that 50K in the project. And please don’t blame the contractor for trying to help in the first place, because it’s beyond his expertise to find out for you whether a 10’ L hood is enough for your operation or not. Now, lets get back to the right track. How can we assist the contractor to give you an estimate that is more reliable? The answer is to have a professionally drafted layout that is code compliant, practical and operational at the same time to help your contractor price out everything correctly. With a proposed layout, we can find out exactly what it takes to convert the existing site to your restaurant with all the features that are essential to your operation. With a proposed layout we will know:
  • 1.How much demolition we need to do.
  • 2.How many new walls we need build.
  • 3. How long of a counter / millwork we need to build.
  • 4. How long of a hood we need.
  • 5. How many new sinks we need and how far apart are they from each other.
  • 6. What equipments we need and how much they cost.
  • 7. The number of required ADA restrooms per building code and how much space they take.
  • 8. How many new plumbing and electrical connections we need.
  • 9. How many seats we can fit in the space
With a proposed layout, your contractor will be able to give you a more accurate estimate to help you evaluate whether the site can allow the project to be affordable and cost effective. The proposed layout is also a great tool for you to communicate with the landlord and explain to him the scope of your project in his space and find out whether he can provide tenant improvement funding or not.→ permalink
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