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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40 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • FEBRUARY 2018 operator want to redesign flow to improve throughput and avoid cross traffic? Will the operator add on to the kitchen? Is the existing equipment still usable, or does it need to be replaced? The desired outcome, along with the menu, volume and process analysis, provide the strategic basis for all of the tactical aspects of design. The following questions can help guide a discussion about renovation goals: ● Is the space the best possible choice for the owner's desired outcome? ● Will the renovation address only the kitchen, or does it include the front of the house? ● If it includes the front of the house, how will that design affect the kitchen space? ● Will the present infrastructure support the desired renovation? ● Will the menu change? Is there room for menu improvement? ● Will the space allow for optimal production flow? ● Will the operation shut down dur- ing renovation, or will the work be done in phases, while the facility remains open for business? ● Will any of the old equipment remain, or will the new kitchen require all new pieces? ● Will everything the owner wants fit in the budget? Now, let's dig into these questions and the factors impacting each. BEST POSSIBLE SPACE Consider these three renovation scenarios, each of which presents red flags: The owners want to renovate their existing operation; open a restaurant in a new space that was another restaurant in its former life; or open in a space that was not previously a restaurant. All three have the potential for problems that a renovation may not solve, making the location an unwise choice. Still, owners in these situations often refuse to move to other sites. One designer tells of a restaurant that has operated in a landmark building for decades. The owner wants to renovate, but the designer knows, given the age and poor condition of the infrastruc- ture, the work will cost far more than moving into a new space. The owner also wants to stay open while renovat- ing, which adds to the cost and presents additional challenges. Schwartz tells of a hospital in Kentucky that waited too long to reno- vate. Cast iron pipes had degraded, and sewage was running under the kitchen. For various reasons, it was not possible to renovate the space, so they built a new building to house the kitchen. Operators should make the decision to renovate, like the decision to open a restaurant, rationally, not emotionally. This means ensuring the desired space is optimal for — or at least amenable to — renovation. FRONT OF THE HOUSE VERSUS BACK OF THE HOUSE Once the desired outcome becomes clear, the scope of the project will become clear as well. The renovation could involve the back of the house, the front of the house or both. The next layer of detective work: If both, will the ratio of space change? If the owner DOMINO'S MULTIPLE PROTOTYPES What does renovating 187 units involve? Glenn Davis, director of RPM Pizza, a large Domino's franchisee, found out four years ago when Domino's Pizza Inc. announced manda- tory renovation of all units to open up the kitchen and create a pizza theater atmosphere. Franchisees, staff and even customer research identified upgrade needs. The design team then came up with five prototypes that could adapt to the space and infrastructure at different units. That meant renovating the lobby and part of the kitchen in each store. RPM has 187 units, so it was a significant undertaking. In the old design, customers walked in the front door and ordered. The new design enables customers to walk by the now open kitchen. Existing walls were replaced by half walls with glass. Kitchen equipment was upgraded in some cases, but Davis says generally this was only if equipment was failing or close to failing because of age. Work was done at night in most units. In such cases, Davis says, it was necessary to clean up before opening every day to meet health department guidelines. Management took photos each night and posted them on the cloud so Davis could make sure everything was complying with required standards. If a complete renovation was required inside and outside, the unit would close for two or three days. The company-wide renovation was originally scheduled for completion by the end of 2017, but that date has been extended to the end of 2018. Davis says that sales have increased in the units that have completed renovation. An open kitchen concept, which creates a pizza theater atmosphere, is part of Domino's ongoing renovation efforts.

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