The Essentials to Consider When Designing and Equipping Your Restaurant

Source: The Essentials to Consider When Designing and Equipping Your Restaurant

OCTOBER 12, 2016

The following excerpt is from The Staff of Entrepreneur Media’s book Start Your Own Restaurant and More. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

The two key parts of your restaurant are the produc­tion area, where the food is prepared, and the public area, where your customers either dine or make their carryout purchases. The major factors to think about in terms of a restaurant’s design are the size and layout of the dining room, kitchen space, storage areas and office. Dining space will occupy most of your facility, followed by the kitchen and preparation area and then by storage. If you have an office on the premises — and you should — that will most likely take up the smallest percentage of your space.

The customer service area is important because it determines the first impression your restaurant will make on your guests. It must accurately convey the atmosphere of the restaurant in a way that takes advantage of the space available. Your customer service area should include a waiting area for customers, a cashier’s station, public restrooms and a bar, if you choose to have one. Other than fast-food or quick-serve establishments, most restaurants have bars or at least serve beer or wine.

Most upscale restaurants don’t have a cashier area where patrons walk up and pay. Instead, the waitstaff typically collects the payment at the table and takes it to the bar cash register. They then bring the change back to the table or return with the credit card slip to be signed.

You can use your cashier’s station as the host or hostess station, or you can set up a separate station at the threshold between the customer service and dining areas. A host or hostess stand usually consists of a small wooden podium with a ledger or computer keyboard and monitor for recording the names of waiting guests.

Related: What You Need to Know Before Starting a Food Service Business

The waiting area itself should have a few benches lining its walls. Don’t skimp on these seats. They should be cushioned, unless your theme dictates otherwise, so your customers are comfortable during their wait. If the wait turns out to be long, and if your seats are hard and uncomfortable, chances are you’ll lose customers and generate some bad word-of-mouth.

In many restaurants, a bar will generate a good portion of the operation’s revenue. Generally speaking, you should have one bar seat for every three dining seats. For example, if you have 150 dining seats, your bar should have about 50 seats, including bar stools and seats at tables. Allow about 2 square feet of floor space per stool. Your tables should have about 10 to 12 square feet per customer.

A bar also provides an additional waiting area for your restaurant. It’s a good place for your customers to relax and enjoy themselves while their table is being prepared. You can also serve food at the bar, which is especially beneficial when you have a long waiting list. Also keep in mind that many restaurants either take a guest’s cell phone number or provide an electric electronic pager to contact their waiting guests.

Dining area

This is where you’ll be making the bulk of your money, so don’t cut corners when designing and decorating your dining room. Much of your dining room design will depend on your concept. It might help to know that studies indicate that 40 to 50 percent of all sit-down customers arrive in pairs, 30 percent come alone or in parties of three and 20 percent come in groups of four or more.

To accommodate various party sizes, use tables for two that can be pushed together in areas where there’s ample floor space. This gives you flexibility in accommodating both small and large parties. Place booths for four to six people along the walls.

The space required per seat varies according to the type of restaurant and size of the establishment. For a small casual-dining restaurant, you’ll need to provide about 15 to 18 square feet per seat to assure comfortable seating and enough aisle space so servers have room to move between the tables. People don’t like being crowded together with other diners. Keep in mind that while you want to get in as many people as possible, you also want return customers. It is often said that 80 percent of business comes from return customers. If people are crammed in and don’t enjoy their dining experience, they won’t be likely to return.

Related: How to Start a Restaurant

The furniture and fixtures in your dining area should match your concept and be appropriate to the market you’re trying to attract. For example, a family-style restaurant needs to have comfortable tables and booths that can accommodate children’s booster seats and highchairs. A fine-dining establishment should be more elegant, with tables situated to provide your patrons with privacy.

Regardless of the type of operation you choose, the quality of your chairs is critical. Chairs are expensive, and how comfortable they are — or aren’t — is the second most common source of environmental complaints in restaurants (the first is noise). But while your seats should be comfortable, they shouldn’t be too soft, either — you don’t want customers falling asleep. They should also allow for ease of movement. Diners should be able to get up and down easily and slide across seating surfaces without tearing clothing or hosiery. And they need to be sturdy. When an overweight customer sits down or even tips a chair back on one or two legs, the chair shouldn’t break. Also, choose materials that can tolerate abrasive cleaning products as well as the abuse of being stacked and unstacked.

Develop a uniform atmosphere all through the public areas of your restaurant. That means the décor of your waiting area, dining room, bar and even restrooms should match. Also, be sure your waiting area is welcoming and comfortable. Whether your customers are seated immediately or have to wait awhile for their tables, they’ll gain their first impression of your operation from the waiting area, and you want that impression to be positive.

Production area

Too often, the production area in a restaurant is inefficiently designed, and the result is a poorly organized kitchen and less-than-top-notch service. Your floor plan should be streamlined to provide the most efficient delivery of food to the dining area.

Generally, you’ll need to allow approximately 35 percent of your total space for your production area. Include space for food preparation, cooking, dishwashing, trash disposal, receiving, inventory storage, employee facilities and an area for a small office where daily management duties can be performed. Allow about 12 percent of your total space for food preparation and cooking areas.

Keep your menu in mind as you determine each element in the production area. You’ll need to include space for food preparation, cooking, dishwashing, trash disposal, receiving, inventory storage and employee facilities, plus your office area.

The food preparation, cooking and baking areas are where the actual production of food will take place. You’ll need room for prep and steam tables, fryers, a cooking range with griddle top, small refrigerators that you’ll place under the prep and steam tables, a freezer for storing perishable goods, soft drink and milk dispensers, an ice bin, a broiler, exhaust fans for the ventilation system and other items, depending on your particular operation.

Arrange this area so everything is only a couple of steps away from the cook. You should also design it in such a way that two or more cooks can work side by side during your busiest hours.

You’ll want to devote about 4 percent of your total space to the dishwashing and trash areas. Place your dishwashing area toward the rear of the kitchen. You can usually set this up in a corner so it doesn’t get in the way of the cooks and servers. Set up the dishwashing area so the washer can develop a production line.

To make your production area as efficient as possible, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Plan the shortest route from entrance to exit for ingredients and baked goods.
  • Minimize handling by having as many duties as possible performed at each stop — that is, at each point the item or dish stops in the production process.
  • Eliminate bottlenecks in the production process caused by delays at strategic loca­tions. When things aren’t flowing smoothly, figure out why. Be sure your equipment is adequate, well-maintained and located in the proper place for the task.
  • Recognize that the misuse of space is as damaging to your operation as the misuse of machinery and labor.
  • Eliminate backtracking, the overlapping of work and unnecessary inspection by constantly considering possibilities for new sequences and combinations of steps in food preparation.
  • Set up the dishwashing area so the washer can develop a production line. The per­son responsible for washing dishes should rinse them in a double sink, then place them into racks on a small landing area next to the sink. From the landing area, the racks full of dishes are put through the commercial dishwasher, then placed on a table for drying. The size and capacity of your dishwasher will depend on the needs of your operation.

Receiving and inventory storage spaces will take up to about 8 percent of your total space. These areas should be located so they’re accessible to delivery vehicles. Use double doors at your receiving port, and always keep a dolly or hand truck available. Locate your dry-storage area and walk-in refrigerator and freezer adjacent to the receiving area.

Related: The Ingredients of Restaurant Success

Because most food-service businesses require employees, you should also have a private room for them that includes a table, a few chairs, a closet or garment rack (to hang coats and street clothes after staffers have changed into their work clothes), lockers for safe storage of personal belongings and valuables and a restroom. The staff facility should not take up more than 5 percent of your total space.

You’ll also need a small area where you or your manager can perform administrative tasks, such as general paperwork, bank deposits and counting out cash drawers. This space is essential even if you have another office at home where you do the majority of your administrative work.

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Foodservice Equipment – Product Knowledge Guide: High-Speed Ovens

Source: Product Knowledge Guide: High-Speed Ovens – Foodservice Equipment & SuppliesPublished on Monday, 01 August 2016

Written by The Editors

High-speed or rapid-cook ovens refer to any oven that uses two or more heat transfer methods to reduce cooking time by more than 50 percent. This equipment may combine microwave technology with convection, impingement or radiant heating. Although units in this category don’t always include a microwave component, the majority utilize this technology for rapid heating along with another source for browning.

High-speed-14262215The biggest benefits of this equipment are speed and versatility. These benefits make high-speed ovens popular in quick-service operations, schools, healthcare facilities and retail spaces, where operators prepare anytime meals, serve multiple dayparts or offer convenience-style foods.

These ovens support a variety of applications, but most often they heat and serve menu items at the front counter. Food that is already produced, such as pizza or appetizers that cook in the oven, can be finished or reheated in dual-technology ovens. Items that take more time to cook, such as soufflés, can be prepared quicker with the help of these ovens. Although the units also can be used for raw proteins, this is not common in commercial applications.

Larger operations commonly use high-speed ovens in conjunction with other cooking equipment, such as fryers, to increase speed of service. Units that combine microwave, forced convection and infrared radiant heat offer cook times that can be as much as 15 times faster than a conventional oven, which can help increase menu flexibility. Some compact microwave/convection oven models cook four times faster than conventional ovens.

These countertop units provide powerful, versatile operation in a small area, maximizing space for operations with limited footprints. With the increasing issue of limited back-of-house space, along with expanding menus, these ovens have become more popular.

The majority of high-speed ovens have stainless steel construction both inside and out and ceramic plates inside. This equipment may include adjustable, chrome-plated legs and ergonomically styled handles.

Another benefit is that these units are extremely efficient to run since most of the day is spent on idle. This drives operational costs down to just a few dollars a day on average for most operations.

Most high-speed ovens are designed for countertop use, with depths between 20 and 30 inches. Capacities vary, with units accommodating ¼- to ½-size sheet pans, full-size hotel pans and 12- or 14-inch pizzas.

These ovens are generally electric, requiring at least 30 amps and either 208 or 240 watts. Temperature ranges vary depending on the type of oven but are typically between 150 degrees F and 550 degrees F. Microwave wattage ranges from 1000 to 2000, depending on the unit.

It would be difficult to find a high-speed oven model that isn’t ventless, which is one of its biggest selling features and allows these units to be installed in virtually any operation or location. Most high-speed ovens are designed to be stacked, further maximizing space, capacity and volume.

These ovens generally provide multiple set point temperatures, with some models offering automatic programming for close to 400 menu items. The data keys allow for the electronic transfer of cooking programs, which can save cooking time and aid in product consistency. Many models are moving toward resistive or capacitive touch-screen controls, which are user-friendly and intuitive, rather than push-button interfaces.

High-speed-Ovens-78617757Some high-speed ovens are Wi-Fi-enabled and can be connected to the internet for uploading recipes. This allows operators to leverage technology by sending menu updates to equipment in multiple locations and expand on limited-time offers more easily.

Operators may choose from various exterior colors with some models, which is beneficial for units used in the front of house. Some types also offer windows for users to view the cooking process taking place. An auto-unloading feature on some ovens presents the food to operators upon completion.

A number of high-speed oven accessories are available, including Teflon pans, sheet metal pans, baskets and pizza screens.

In the next few years, it is predicted there will be a switch from vacuum tube-style magnetron technology to solid-state technology for launching microwaves into these ovens.

Bring this to your boss: 10 reasons to attend – NAFEM

Source: Bring this to your boss: 10 reasons to attend – NAFEM

We get it: Taking even a day off from your fast-paced work routine is a lot to ask. But some events are worth breaking away. The NAFEM Show, Feb. 9-11 in Orlando, Fla., is the one place where you can truly focus on bringing your business to the next level – with innovative equipment and supplies and invaluable networking opportunities. Here’s why The NAFEM Show is worth your while:

  1. It brings together the best in the business, for your business. The racket of broader industry events can be distracting. At The NAFEM Show, you’ll focus exclusively on the foundation of operational success: innovations in equipment and supplies. With 500+ exhibitors offering the latest in prep, cooking, storage and service, you won’t find a more diverse, yet focused, show.
  2. Everything you’re looking for is in one place. Shopping for new equipment and supplies is time-consuming. Save time by browsing the latest products across every category in person at The NAFEM Show.
  3. The equipment and supplies are game-changing. Exhibitors bring their A-game to The NAFEM Show – and you reap the benefits. More than ever, the equipment and supply innovations you’ll see here have the power to drive down utility, labor and food costs, and improve customer satisfaction and food safety.
  4. The latest and greatest products are earmarked. The WHAT’S HOT! WHAT’S COOL!® New Product Gallery at The NAFEM Show displays unique new innovations in terms of equipment and supplies – in one convenient hub.
  5. Attendees are impressed. Nearly two-thirds of attendees of The NAFEM Show 2015 said the event was “much better than they expected” compared to other industry shows. What’s more, attendees spent an average of about 13 hours on the show floor over 2 days – that’s 3 hours more than the average trade show attendee.*
  6. You’ll be in good company. The NAFEM Show draws decision-makers from all segments of the foodservice industry. The best in the business attend, and you should too.
  7. The networking and entertainment rocks. Start the show off in high spirits with good food and drink, great company and a killer cover band; then, wrap things up at the After-Show Party. Big-name performers like Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett have graced our After-Show Party stage. This year could be our biggest act yet. Sign up to be the first to hear about it.
  8. You’ll get valuable education and training opportunities. Several show exhibitors offer training and certification sessions in their booth – many with well-known and respected industry experts. Attendees also can certify as a Food Protection Manager during the show through the ServSafe Food Protection Manager’s Exam.
  9. Badges are a steal. The value of the show far outweighs your entry fee of just $30 (get the Early Bird rate!). What’s more, all attendees qualify for The NAFEM Show Scholarship Program: $500 to offset travel expenses.
  10. Orlando in February – need we say more? Sunny Orlando is a happy backdrop for our show. Take a break and invest in an experience that can take your business to the next level. 

Registration is now open – and there’s no show like it on earth.

* Average from Exhibit Surveys, Inc.’s all-show norm

BUILT.: Tuning Up Nashville’s Music City Center — Foodable Web TV Network

Source: BUILT.: Tuning Up Nashville’s Music City Center — Foodable Web TV Network

Can you picture a massive building with organic lines and curves that flow like the shapes of Nashville’s rolling hills or the Music City’s melodic sounds? With ceilings that mimic the patterns and structure of grand piano keys? Or rooms with walls that bend, filled with acoustics that make you feel as if you’re standing inside of a mandolin or guitar?

The movement and fluidity of music itself was the design inspiration for the Music City Center. This center takes on the idea of a city’s brand identity to a whole new level. And at 300,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, 60,000 square feet of ballroom space, and 1.2 million square feet of space in total, this convention center is music to any event director’s ears. The center was needed to bring new life and business into Nashville, and needed to expand in the city’s downtown urban setting, according to Charles Starks, the complex’s president and CEO. He wanted the center to look like nowhere else in the world.

How did this design come to life? Through intense and creative collaboration. In this episode of “BUILT.,” in partnership with FCSI The Americas, watch to see how FCSI consultant Michael Pantano of Culinary Advisors, tvsdesign, and the visionaries behind the Music City Center worked in harmony to turn this building into the pinnacle of flexibility, sustainability, and foodservice excellence.

 The Challenge and Design

As the firm that led design for four out of five of the nation’s largest convention centers and for about 80 projects around the world, it’s no doubt tvsdesign knows their stuff. So, what are the most important aspects of a successful space? Functionality and foodservice, according to Rob Svedberg, principal of tvsdesign.

“One of the most important things that the customers respond to is the quality of foodservice, the range of the food offerings, and how well it’s presented and prepared,” Svedberg said.

This is where FCSI consultant Michael Pantano stepped in.

“I think it’s critically important that every kitchen [has] a professional designer involved. In most cases, I’d like to say that’s an FCSI consultant, because to achieve professional status, we had to demonstrate our competence and our body of knowledge, and our understanding of the entire process,” Pantano said.

One element that the designers of the Music City Center emphasized was the need for bright lighting. Pantano also took that to the kitchen, because as he said, chefs and cooks are people, too, and deserve to be proud of their workspace and equipment.

“Most kitchens are down in the bowels of a building some place because wherever daylight exists is premium space, so we worked very hard to keep things low to allow all of the daylight to come in. Extraordinarily uncommon, but very beneficial,” he said. “Foodservice really is throughout the building, woven into the very fabric of the building.”

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In terms of functionality, Pantano always thinks like a chef. Aware that only 25 percent of a kitchen needs to be in fixed positions, whether due to the cooking line or exhaust hoods, he was able to make everything else mobile. Just as the entire convention center was flexible and fluid — without fixed concession stands or fixed dining areas so that the space could be reshaped — the kitchen could move with the needs of clients, too, able to fluctuate from serving six to six thousand.

“Our food sales have over doubled what we had projected initially and we’ve become known in Nashville as a place to go to for food. Not the convention center, but a place to go to for food,” Starks said.

The Future Through Sustainability

The beautiful architecture and foodservice aren’t the only things that set this design paragon apart from the rest. This space is also sustainable.

Above it lies a 4-acre green roof, the largest one in the Southeast, growing 14 types of vegetation. The center also has a solar farm and honey bees on site for the kitchens. The staff also keeps close relations with local farmers to serve food with a farm-to-table feel. The Music City Center also has a 360,000-gallon rainwater storage system that captures rainfall and utilizes it, not only to irrigate its plants and landscaping, but also to flush their sewage system. That has led to 54 percent saving in the building’s water usage in three years.

Watch the full episode now, and as Pantano states, discover how the Music City Center speaks for itself.

Why Does Every New Restaurant Look Like A Factory? : The Salt : NPR

The stripped-down look of exposed brick, poured cement floors and Edison light bulbs is popular in restaurants across America. One reporter dares to ask, “Seriously, why?”

Source: Why Does Every New Restaurant Look Like A Factory? : The Salt : NPR

Don’t Let Them Go to Waste: 5 Steps to Kick-Starting Your Sustainability Efforts — Foodable Web TV Network

Source: Don’t Let Them Go to Waste: 5 Steps to Kick-Starting Your Sustainability Efforts — Foodable Web TV Network

By Tarah Schroeder, FCSI, principal at Ricca Design Studios

Creating a sustainability program can be overwhelming for foodservice operators, as it often brings up questions and conversations beyond the realm of foodservice. And with so much information available, it can be difficult for operators to sort through the noise and  know where or how to start.  If you truly respect innovation, creativity, people, and problem solving to include sustainability in your culture, then turning broad sustainability goals into reality requires thoughtful commitment and careful preparation. Developing a plan is the best way to truly reduce your impact to the environment, as well as build a stronger internal and external community. Read on to learn about the steps any foodservice operation can take to embrace sustainability.

  1. Include sustainability in your mission statement.

A mission statement is a company’s touchstone, providing guiding principles that inform company objectives. Any restaurant or operation that wants to be more sustainable must start here to truly effect change in its culture before it can create achievable goals. Categories can include:

  • Resources — water and energy reduction
  • Community — waste as a resource, gardens, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Health — healthy menu options, healthy work environment

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, a Colorado-based quick service restaurant chain serving breakfast and lunch, has created a mission statement of People, Profit, Planet, Pancakes to reflect both their culture and dedication to sustainability.  It is no wonder that they have high employee participation in waste reduction and energy-saving initiatives.

  1. Create a Baseline.

 

A baseline lets you know where you stand before making commitments on how to do lightsbetter. In the past, the first step would have been to look at peers’ energy performance. However, it is now understood that differences in menu, operations, and style of service, make it too difficult and inaccurate to compare restaurants to each other.

It is better for restaurants to develop their own baseline from which they can improve upon, such as audits for existing restaurants and energy models for new projects. There are varying levels of energy assessment. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has created three levels of audits on their website.

A level one audit is an internal checklist that starts with utility bills, and then continues to building characteristics, such as lighting, refrigeration, kitchen ventilation, and cooking equipment.  A checklist can be used in conjunction with infrared thermometers and plug load data loggers, and many utility companies offer audit assistance. Overall, understanding these existing conditions are important because they provide a basis for recommending energy and water conservation measures.

A waste audit can be conducted much the same way, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has resources here. The first steps to creating a waste baseline are thinking about where your waste is going, how much and what type of waste is being generated, and where the majority of waste is coming from (pre-consumer versus post-consumer).

  1. Write a Performance Plan.

A performance plan translates sustainability goals into an action plan.  It takes short-term goals, such as retrofit and replacement decisions, and long-term goals, such as smart energy targets that can be reviewed and updated, and puts them into practice. Some examples of strategies for short-term goals include: implementing procedures to assure manual shutoff of systems after hours, timer shut-offs for load shedding, or consolidating preventative maintenance of like equipment. The Foodservice Technology Center is a great resource for strategies.

Long-term goals can be created based upon the baseline information with deadlines further down the road. For example, the goal might be to reduce energy use by 5 percent in four years. The strategies to achieve these goals could include a capital replacement program to purchase Energy Star-rated cooking and refrigeration appliances for replacement of old appliances on a life cycle cost basis, upgrading building automation system or metering to include kitchen systems, or creating a design protocol for any new buildings or projects that come online.

Harvard University was one of the first higher-education facilities to create a performance plan that had specific sections on dining services. This was due in large part to the President’s Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2016. Some strategies they used to contribute to this long-term goal included:

  • New dishwashers that have saved over 500,000 gallons of hot water annually
  • 150-gallon stainless steel storage tank for waste vegetable oil
  • Diverting more than 95 percent of construction and demolition “waste” from landfills
  • Peak demand exhaust hood controls
  • Large skylights to improve lighting

 

Foodservice PotHere’s a simple step-by-step breakdown for creating performance plans:

  • Step One: Make a commitment
  • Step Two: Assess performance
  • Step Three: Create an action plan
  • Step Four: Implement the action plan
  • Step Five: Evaluate progress
  • Step Six: Recognize achievements
  1. Bring the right people together.

Sustainability champions are key to the success of any initiative, as they are enthusiastic about making change and will ensure that the conversation always stays relevant.

When building their new headquarters in Houston, Exxon Mobil wanted to make sure that sustainability and safety were important components of the overall project.  A sustainability group that included operations, maintenance, and design team members was formed to review high-level decisions from an environmental impact point of view. Capital improvements such as waste to energy strategies, that are often value engineered out of a new project, remained intact and contribute to a successful operation today.

  1. Re-evaluate and re-assess.

A plan can only work if it is constantly being updated and revised based upon current trends, culture, and circumstances.  If you take the initiative to follow these steps, the only way to keep it relevant is through re-evaluating and re-assessing your goals and strategies.

It is these purposeful steps that will help you create a culture shift that is focused on sustainability.

FWE: Cook, Cool, and Conquer BBQ and More

Source: FWE: Cook, Cool, and Conquer BBQ and More

FWE cooking and refrigeration products enhance menu flexibility.

Innovation has driven Food Warming Equipment’s creativity for more than 60 years, and the company continues to develop better solutions for hotel F&B operations. Nate Sanford, FWE sales account manager and R&D chef, and Marketing Manager Martin Szalay recently shared why their new equipment offerings have gotten the attention of hotel foodservice operations. Continue reading “FWE: Cook, Cool, and Conquer BBQ and More”