- Conduct a thorough research for a list of food service designers who could potentially help you with your project.
- Interview each designer to see who is the most adequate for the type and size of your project.
- Find out the design and plan submission schedule.
- Get an estimate for the project cost.
1) Conduct a thorough research for a list of food service designers who could potentially help you with your project.
There are generally 5 types of food service designers:
Type I: Commercial Equipment Specialists
These are whole sale vendors for commercial equipments. They understand all aspects of commercial equipments including: type, function, power and hook up support. They are usually capable of drawing a kitchen layout that is in compliance with local codes. However, they may or may not have in house MEP engineers or architects, depending on the size of their design department.
|Strength:||They can answer your questions in regards to equipment operations and features.|
|Weakness:||They may specify equipments that are in their inventory and give false advice to promote equipment sales.|
Type II: Architects
Architects are specialized in designing building envelopes, framing structures, parking and site plans, bar and millwork design, ADA compliant layout, fire escapes and fire resistant structures. However, they may or may not be familiar with restaurant operations and may or may not have in house MEP engineers who are required for a restaurant project.
|Strength:||They are capable of designing a structu rally sounded interior that is safe and code complaint.|
|Weakness:||They may not be familiar with restaurant operations, equipments and health department codes.|
Type III: Restaurant Furniture Vendor/ Interior Designer
Interior designers are good with dining room layouts, concept development, bar and millwork design and furniture selection. They will help you select commercial grade furniture and materials that are fire rated and heavy duty for busy restaurant. Furthermore, they specialized in custom furniture and millwork design. To have a professional look for you bar and partitions, it requires the expertise of an interior designer.
|Strength:||They will help you design a professional look to your restaurant with commercial grade furniture and materials that are fire rated and heavy duty.|
|Weakness:||They usually make profit by marking up furniture and materials. They may design your restaurant based on what they have in inventory or vendor sources that are on their friendly link.|
Type: IV: Construction Company
They are experienced builders who have built numbers of restaurants in your area. They are familiar with local inspections and codes. They might have in house designers who can draft blue prints and work with local designers, architects and engineers to obtain building permits for you.
|Strength:||They are hand-on professionals who may be able to shorten the construction time for you and safe you money in the end.|
|Weakness:||They usually take over the jobs of the interior designer and whose design work may not satisfy your taste. Check out their previous works to judge for yourself.|
Type V : Project Management Firm
They are experienced project managers in the restaurant design field. They understand all aspects of restaurant building and the responsibilities of each team player in the project: the owner, architect, designer, MEP engineers, food service specialist and contractor. They can customize their contract and form a design team to cater your needs to your project.
|Strength:||They offer inclusive services to satisfy your every need in your restaurant project and offer unbiased consultation to furniture, equipment and material selection.|
|Weakness:||Some firms may have too many staffs and departments that may cause miscommunications, overlaps and delays.|
Conclusion: There could be other types of designers out there. The list above concludes only the typical types of designers in the field.
2) Interview each designer to see who is the most adequate for the type and size of your project.
Considering the strength and weakness of each type of designers, interview them individually to get a feel of whose expertise is the most important to your project.
3) Find out the design and plan submission schedule.
When interviewing the design professionals, find out the design turn-around time from them as well. It’s always nice to know the schedule ahead to plan well for your other tasks as described in the phase III article.
4) Get an estimate for the project cost.
Generally you could estimate the project cost with this formula:
Construction cost + furniture cost + equipment cost + misc = total project cost.
Construction cost = Demolition cost, electrical works, plumbing works, wood works, paint works, millworks, cabinetries, lighting, flooring and any other architectural works. Just get a construction bids from several licensed general contractors who are specialized in restaurant projects.
Furniture cost = Chairs, tables, booths, decorative lighting fixtures and other decorative items. Your interior designer should be able to either provide you a proposal with numbers or give you some ideas on how much the furniture and materials will cost.
Equipment cost = Cost of all of your equipments. Just take the floor plan and visit your local equipment vendors and obtain bids. Please note that some vendors may have special pricing on one or two pieces and have high mark-up on the rest. It’s always good to obtain several bids for comparisons.
Misc cost = Point of Sales systems, sound system, utensils, chinaware, inventory, etc.