Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

NOV 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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30 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • NOVEMBER 2018 Even if it's possible to get new equip- ment into the kitchen, it may not be possible to install that equipment with- out rst reinforcing the oor beneath it. Many types of foodservice equipment, after all, not only require a lot of power but are also extremely heavy. "Buildings designed and built more than 50 years ago might not be struc- turally compliant to hold the weight of kitchen equipment," Spinelli notes. "That was denitely the case at Ida B's Table, where we ended up having to spend an extra $20,000 to re-support the ooring systems before installing equipment. And that was on top of the extra 30 or 40 grand we'd already spent to run ductwork outside of the building because we couldn't run it straight up and through to the roof." SSA's Schwartz adds that when kitchens are built on higher oors, the issue of oor load capacity is even more critical. Older buildings — and even newer ones originally built for residential or ofce use — typically aren't rated for the necessary number of pounds per square foot that a restaurant kitchen would require. Where specialty and/or large-capacity equipment are required, advance research into oor strength and potential remediation costs is paramount. "Think about things like 60-quart mixers or large steam kettles," Schwartz says. "They're heavy on their own, but you also have to factor in the weight of the products that they'll hold. A steam kettle might hold 200 gallons of product, so it's the combined weight that matters. Or maybe it's something like a hearth- style pizza oven, which can weigh 6,000 pounds or more. You might be able to reinforce the area where those pieces of equipment will sit, but you also have to be able to get them in place without caus- ing damage on the way." When going into a 13-story, nearly 100-year-old retail and ofce building in Detroit, the team behind upscale steakhouse Prime & Proper encoun- tered a full spectrum of HVAC, utility and structural challenges from low ceilings to unusual demands for ventila- tion, thanks to the restaurant's show- piece hardwood grill. "We had to have a special hood sys- tem dedicated just to that grill," Schultz says. "Then, we have three additional hoods. Running that all up 13 oors and being able to put it outside with a monster structure was a big project. Inside, there was a lot of open space and structural columns to retrot through and around, and unfortunately, we had very low ceilings. That made tucking all the mechanicals and utilities up there really tough. What's more, we had to quarry though oors that were 12 to 16 inches thick to get the utilities in play. All of the walk-ins are in the basement, and we have a custom refrigeration sys- tem that has 19 different things running off it. This was a case where the building was never designed to be a restaurant and that required a lot of unique solu- tions, but it's now a gorgeous space with a large open kitchen. The owner was experienced and knew what he was get- ting into, so he was prepared." Being prepared — both for the types of surprises that can crop up and with the funds to handle them — is what's most important when developing in older properties. The biggest piece of advice that consultants offer: Before signing a lease or contract to purchase, invest in a thorough site investiga- tion by multidisciplinary professionals who understand and can identify likely trouble spots. "It's very easy to fall in love with an old building and visualize what it could be. There are some really beauti- ful spaces, and with enough money and time, most of the hurdles can be overcome," says Schultz. "But if it just isn't going to work for your concept, your budget or your required return on investment, it may be best to walk away. You have to consider the reality of what you can achieve there, and if you can't reasonably achieve a well-functioning, efcient, code-compliant new kitchen in that beautiful old building, it's best to know that early on." FE&S ADVICE FROM THE PROS Thinking about putting a new kitchen into an old building? Keep these strategies in mind. O Don't just listen to the broker. Hire experienced professionals (archi- tects/engineers/consultants) to perform a detailed site survey be- fore moving forward. The •ndings will inform design and equipment decisions. Flag if and where signi•- cant investments in infrastructure will need to be made. O Be sure adequate funding, both for knowns and inevitable unknowns likely to crop up once the project is underway, is in place before starting. O Before signing a lease or purchas- ing a property, check out the most common and costly kitchen issues: exhaust ductwork, utilities capacity and location, entry and ceiling dimensions, and ‚oor strength. O Know who is responsible for what. Oftentimes, architects, consultants, engineers and equipment dealers don't talk to each other and impor- tant details get missed. O Know the codes — current and historical — as they relate to the property. Permitting for older structures, particularly those with historical designation, can take signi•cantly longer. O In retro•tting existing kitchens, have plan B in place should some- thing go wrong. Keep what equip- ment you can, but replace aging equipment that will be mission-crit- ical for your menu and operation. Be ‚exible with equipment: Older facilities may require nontraditional cooking methods to meet exhaust and utility constraints. NEW KITCHENS, OLD BUILDINGS

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