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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FEBRUARY 2018 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • 39 WHY RENOVATE ANYWAY? What drives a foodservice renovation project? It varies by segment. Res- taurants, according to the National Restaurant Association, will likely drive more frequent renovations with proj- ects such as adding more seats, putting in bars, rebranding or creating display kitchens. Commercial restaurants may renovate every five to seven years. Hospital foodservice operators, on the other hand, usually renovate only when it becomes an absolute must. For example, when Department of Health inspectors require the facility to upgrade to new standards or close. Usually that means a huge — and costly — job. Many hospital kitchens function with older equipment and in- frastructure and badly need a complete makeover. Georgie Shockey, principal of Ruck-Shockey Associates in Truckee, Calif., cites a recent report put out by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on the aging of facilities by industry that says the average age of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, is 20.7 years. Since that number reflects an average, that means many are even older. Aging often means outmoded equipment, outdated and, in some cases dangerous, utilities and an inefficient workflow that hampers production. "Once you get to a certain point in time, these kitchens aren't going to function well," Shockey says. Hospitals tend to "stretch the living daylights out of these kitchens and systems." Renovation requires both a strategic and a tactical approach. The project team must investigate every aspect of the design process from concept to completion in great detail. BEING A DETECTIVE A renovation project starts with identify- ing the outcome. "That is the first ques- tion: What is your expected outcome?" says John Egnor, owner of Texas-based JME Hospitality. "All succeeding ques- tions are based on the answer to that. If the owner wants to modernize the kitch- en, you would ask, 'What do you mean by that? Do you want new equipment? Do you want to redesign the workspace for better flow?' Each answer will affect the design from a physical standpoint and from a cost standpoint." And the earlier the project teams begin asking these questions, the better. "If you are working with somebody that is going into a new space for their concept, get in there early and look at the site conditions," adds Leif Billings, northeast regional director for Next Step Design in Annapolis, Md. Shockey consults a trilogy of in- vestigative areas for the starting phase: menu, volume and process. She goes through every menu item to determine how the culinary staff prepares it and plans for the necessary equipment to support the menu. In some cases, she might ask the client to look at a differ- ent piece of equipment for some of the menu items to improve the process in terms of time and quality. Volume closely connects to the con- struction of the menu and how staff ex- ecute. Knowing the volume at peak times, Shockey points out, helps determine what it will take to support that throughput efficiently. Then, she deconstructs the process for each item with an eye toward potential improvements and to under- stand what design elements will success- fully accommodate each process. Egnor often collaborates with Shockey (MAS), relying on her operational pro- cess expertise as a management advisory services consultant. For example, when tackling a healthcare foodservice project, "we do a study first, lay everything out: utilities, retail, delivery to patients. She does an operations review," Egnor says. "A lot of designers fall short because they don't have a MAS consultant to work with. You need someone operationally to support the design. That is critical." Stan Schwartz of Cleveland, Ohio- based Professional Foodservice Design Inc. walks through spaces about to be renovated with an eye toward food safety, which he believes is the most important thing a designer can bring to the table. Questions he feels help to understand the scope of the project include: How far does the owner want to go? Does the Y ou've decided to renovate your operation. It might be for a number of reasons. You want to modernize. The Board of Health has raised some concerns. You want to add seats. You want to add high-tech equipment. You want to open the kitchen so diners can see the action. No matter the reason, the size of the project, the budget or the timeline, a few fundamental guidelines can help solidify a successful outcome. First on the list: Hire a good designer who will walk with you every step of the way. By Caroline Perkins

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