Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

FEB 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 • FEBRUARY 2018 and out of Chicago's busy office district. Latinicity backs up to one of the city's elevated train stations. And in Denver, the food hall at Zeppelin Station rests at the foot of a light rail station; designers even built in a bar modeled after European rail stations for patrons to grab a drink before the ride. Many food halls capitalize on ad- ditional restaurants or other outlets attached to the main food hall as a way to drive even more traffic throughout the day and night. China Live features a separate fine-dining restaurant, Eight Tables, in addition to the main food hall. At Legacy Hall, The Box Garden will open this spring as a connected music venue and entertainment space with bars and restaurants made entirely out of shipping containers that span 18,000 square feet. The food hall also includes an attached brewery. The decision to position the Legacy Hall brewery on the third floor of the building, given its heavy beer-making equipment, posed obvious challenges. Engineers had to ensure the ceilings could handle the weight, and then all the equipment and furnishings had to ascend to the third floor via a crane. Legacy Hall's owners felt it was worth the hassle to keep the food hall — the highest-traffic portion of the busi- ness —positioned near the entry to the facility. The brewery then complements the main revenue driver. F A S T F L O W Most food halls capitalize on the workweek lunch rush first, followed by breakfast and happy hour/early evening. "You figure people have 45 minutes or less to get something to eat during their lunch hour, and then they'll want to linger longer after work, so we had to think about how the food hall would transition from day to night," says Bruce Finkelman, co-owner of Revival Food Hall. Chen and his team also focused on flow. "We even took down an adjacent building because the flow in the space didn't work as just a simple box struc- ture," he says. Each restaurant's position, sometimes called a station or stall, within a food hall must include efficiencies in design, Gibbons says. "You have to think about the limited range of motions, fixed amount of storage and cooler space, and understand the menu and then build the kitchen around that," he says. Some food halls avoid a lot of shared space and opt to have each station run as its own concept to avoid potential bottle- necks, crowding and other confusion. "We like to have control over every sta- tion, bar and space so we don't have those problems," Chen says. "In that case, we operate more like Eataly than Gotham West Market." The idea is to look for synergies — or create them — among opera- tors through central ventilation, trash pickup and maintenance, shared office/ prep space and other systems. The goal is to accommodate the needs of many, regardless if each stall or station is a separately run business or just a sepa- rate concept under the same umbrella. E Q U I P M E N T S E L E C T I O N At both China Live and Legacy Hall, each station is built as an open kitchen and meant for food theater, says Gibbons. "You want to see the cook- ing happening everywhere." Therefore, design and equipment selection at each station or stall remains critical. At Legacy Hall, each local chef or startup business has 400 square feet or less of space. Given those tight quarters, design, flow and efficiencies are everything. Naturally, equipment selection might need to be pared down or at least chosen with flexibility — and certainly durability — in mind. "We did incorporate live wood cook- ing, so we had to install special ventilation and look at the impact of 20 stalls cook- ing at one time and how that impacts the whole building," Gibbons says. Designers organized the stalls into quadrants, balancing operators' heavy cooking and HVAC needs with bars or other low-level HVAC operations to keep the airflow even throughout the space. The team also added more daily deliveries for food and wood to accom- modate the shortage of storage space. All the prep work happens at each individual stall, which all include their own prep tables and sinks. Stations tend to focus on one or two main pieces of equipment. At Revival, Smoque uses one powerhouse smoker for its barbecue items; Union Squared uses a couple of double-deck, durable pizza ovens for its Detroit-style pizza, and Fat Shallot had to nix its fryers to make room for a better flattop and less ventilation. Equipment selections can also pave the way for food halls to capitalize on multiple dayparts and different types of revenue streams. For example, a morn- ing coffee program can double as a bar later at night. That means considering flexible equipment, rotating storage or shelving components, and other plug- and-play adaptations. At Revival, weekend brunch service forced some vendors to develop their menus around the equipment they had in place. Flattops normally used for burgers and sandwiches, for instance, might transform into an egg station. Technology plays a key role in execution. Most food halls use a one- size-fits-all centrally operated ordering, POS and data-mining program. That means each stall uses the same system to take and process orders or record them on plastic cards, much like a credit card, provided to customers who want to shop around before paying all at once. Legacy Hall worked with a third- party delivery program in Texas to process online orders. "It's great for both of us because they can pick up multiple orders at a time," says Gib- bons. "In our business and in our thinking, third-party vendors and the ease of people being able to order from home is the way of the future." As the food hall trend continues to sweep through the nation, it's all hands on deck. And those hands need to work together to produce what remains a com- plex, multitiered type of project. F o o d H a l l s

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