How We Create Profit Centers with Efficient Restaurant Kitchen Design

In order to provide viable, cost effective solutions for my clients it is important to approach each customer with personalized service that addresses their specific needs. This tends to be an industry with a “cookie cutter” approach and I firmly believe this one size fits all attitude cannot work effectively.

I have worked with many different restaurants from five star hotels and restaurants to casual cafés and fitness centers. In-depth industry knowledge can be leveraged to assist in providing them with the service best suited to their needs. However, I think my role is to help them identify a niche that will set them apart from the competition.

For example when working with a five star chain hotel in Kampala East Africa although it was associated with a global chain it was in a unique country with a far different culture and business approach than you might encounter  in the U.S., Europe or the U.K. I worked with them to design several kitchens for a number of individual outlets within the hotel each maintaining a common feel to the brand of the chain, yet still providing an individual design that was well suited to meet or even surpass their elite clientele’s expectations.

All of this had to be achieved staying within tight time and budget restraints. As well when working with a chain you are not just dealing with an individual owner’s expectations. Instead you are dealing with standards set up by the hotel operator’s which means far more red tape than getting approval through one or two partners. Despite the red tape I was able to receive approval allowing them to proceed with the next stage of implementing my designs.

On the other side of the world, my approach with a café and juice bar at a fitness club required the same level of professionalism but with a focus on a far smaller scale. Providing a commercial kitchen work space, the best equipment for their needs and budget as well as functional layouts that allowed for optimal work flow created a profit center for the fitness club as well as a social area that is now considered the “heart” of their business.

As with anything I do it is important to come up with a clear plan and maintain focus throughout the project, particularly when it comes to the restaurant kitchen design itself. This allows my clients to remain confident things will go according to plan. Attention to detail is critical to the success of any project and I try to anticipate the needs of my clients in order to help them get through the project easily without feeling overwhelmed. Projects can involve a lot of technical details that might be lost on the layman. I take the time to ensure each client is walked through everything they need from start to finish so there are never any surprises along the way.

I believe my background as a classically trained Chef allows me to identify core issues a first time restaurant owner might not foresee. Providing hands on knowledge lets my clients see they are dealing with someone who is not just functioning as a designer, but as a Chef who has worked on the line and understands work flow. I am an Alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and like to think my niche is providing effective solutions from a chef’s point of view and an entrepreneur’s financial perspective.

With global contacts in all aspects of the food and hospitality industry I am able to provide my clients with products and services they might not otherwise be able to obtain. Each supplier we work with provides exceptional value with effective cost solutions from specialized laundry development consultants to our international logistics partners. Whether we are dealing with hoteliers or restaurateurs we function with a seamless capacity to provide cost effective solutions for projects of any scale globally.

 


StrayDog Restaurant Equipment

Our new e-commerce website for our partner brand StrayDog Restaurant Equipment is now live!

SDG-restaurant-equipment

StrayDog Restaurant Equipment is the only commercial restaurant equipment supply company who donates 5 percent of all profits to animal rescue organizations and offers only the most cost-effective, high quality commercial kitchen equipment products at wholesale prices for all your restaurant kitchen equipment needs.

Please bear with me as it takes some time to upload products, but for now, I have listed Champion Industries commercial dishwashers and glasswashers on the site.

Make sure to check in often as new products are added weekly at www.sdrestaurantequipment.com


Range Hoods and the Importance of Tempered Air

The following post was provided by The Range Hood Store.

 

Keeping A Kitchen Cleaner With Range Hoods

Kitchens collect grease and grime even with a minimum of use. The reason is simple: vapors from cooked foods have a heavier molecular weight than ambient air. A range hood captures these heavy cooking vapors and keeps the kitchen clean and there’s less build-up of grease and grime on other kitchen appliances and surfaces. Today’s range hoods are built for regular use with most any type of kitchen range.

The Importance Of Tempered Air

There’s another very important reason to install a range hood in the kitchen: to keep oil and grease vapors from becoming hazardous. Frying oils are the biggest culprits in grease build-up. This is true even when the amount of oils is kept to a minimum. Greasy range surfaces can be the cause of kitchen fires.

When oily vapors rise, the range hood processes them into clean, safe particulate that makes the kitchen environment healthier. Keeping the temperature of air in and around the kitchen range also assures accurate cooking and baking temperatures. Commercial kitchens rely on efficient air processing with large range hoods for this reason. In addition, tempered air helps keep temperatures comfortable for professional cooks and bakers.

Sizing A Range Hood

Depending on the amount of use, the size of a range hood plays an important role in its overall efficiency. Today’s range hoods are available in a wide range of sizes. One other important point to be aware of before purchasing a range hood is the motor’s power. There are variables in motor horsepower for different range hood sizes. A range hood basically operates with an induced draft fan that takes air into the hood and then releases it through the duct-work attached to the range hood.

Today’s range hoods, however, have many hi-tech advantages like filtration units built into the hood chamber. These filtration units make the job of cleaning and maintaining a range hood much easier than in earlier versions. For those in the commercial cooking or baking industries, it’s a simple matter of changing a filter. Some of these are HEPA filters. HEPA filters are an industry standard used in mechanical operations where clean air is a necessity.

HEPA filters are constructed from custom materials that offer higher levels of efficiency and less maintenance. Regular maintenance of a range hood is important to avoid mechanical failures that occur from heavy build-up of soil and grease on mechanical parts. As build-up occurs, the motor works harder and eventually the build-up clogs the entire unit rendering it inoperable. Fortunately, today’s range hoods require a minimum of maintenance and are built to last.

Greening A Kitchen With A Range Hood

In many areas, commercial kitchens are required to follow compliance regulations regarding emissions released into outdoor air from ductwork attached to operating range hoods. Usually, regulatory compliance focuses on the volume of air being released into the atmosphere by commercial range hoods. Check with local, county and federal regulatory agencies on compliance requirements that apply.

The Range Hood Store is a leader in kitchen appliances and offers a wide variety of stainless steel range hoods. Founded on superior products and even better customer service The Range Hood Store has years of experience helping customers build their dream kitchens.


Selecting a Restaurant Location II

Returning to that highly talented, but unfortunate French couple who bought that successful doughnut shop… Unlike some business ventures, the reason they failed was not their lack of capital investment, customer service skills or culinary talent for that matter. The reason they closed their doors was simply the location.

Some of you may say… Well, that doesn’t make sense? There was a successful business in that space for 20 years and the new owners did everything correctly so based on those aspects alone, they should have had some chance of success. In many respects I would agree with this thought process, but for this example of failure specifically, I would not be looking at what the new owners did wrong, but I would be looking at what the former owners did right.

In this instance, the location of the doughnut was on corner where thousands of people walked by every morning on their way to work. They offered some good quality products that were served quickly by a pleasant staff so it was no surprise that hundreds of people stopped in on their way to work everyday for a coffee and doughnut.

This property was however lightly traveled by lunch time since it was located close to a train station and most likely the morning commuters were having lunch somewhere close to their place of business. Conversely on the way home from work, this fantastic amount of traffic was once again visible for their commute home from the office… This is the traffic the French couple was hoping to grab every day. What turned out was that yes, there was a tremendous about of traffic towards the end of the day, but that traffic was moving in high-speed to simply get home to family and loved ones. The location offering a convenient stop in the morning for a cup of coffee and a doughnut would not provide this same quick service for people on their way home that would have required them to sit for some time while they had their French Bistro experience. Even though many of those daily travelers would have loved the food, it was that convenience factor present in the morning that was missing, which ultimately leads to the demise of the business.

The lesson here is that it is not just the location that creates the drive of business traffic, but the type of experience the concept offers at that location that determines who patronize the establishment and how often.

Eat Well my Friends!

V


Selecting a Restaurant Location I

Selecting a location for your new restaurant is one of the most daunting tasks, I think, a restaurant owner can face in starting a business. You can always get new table cloths, paint the walls a different color, hire a new manager, or even take an unpopular dish off the menu; based on the response and feedback you get from your customers… But when it comes to the physical location of your establishment; this is a decision that you are stuck with, at least for a decent amount of time anyway, so it is very important to look at several factors of the space as it relates specifically to your business.

Please indulge me a short story… There was a wonderful location on the corner of 5th and 3rd streets and for 20 years was the home of a very successful doughnut shop. But alas the owner retired and decided to sell his highly visible location. A few months later it was purchased by a couple from France and based on the visibility of the location, they decided to develop a high-end, white table-cloth bistro/café in its place, based mainly on visibility this is a great location. Unfortunately, 6 months down the line, they closed their doors due to lack of customers. It wasn’t because the food was terrible, it was quite amazing in fact, and it was in my opinion, simply the concept they decided to install in this location….

Going back to my wonderful Russian friends in the earlier post… During our first Skype call, we were discussing their needs as it relates to a desired location. The first point they raised was the aspect of the rent or lease price they would need to pay as a driving factor in site selection. This is of course an important item to consider when selecting a site, but my counsel to them was a bit more all-encompassing… I wanted them to look at the bigger picture, their needs as a business as a whole first, then we can break down and look at each individual part and evaluate it accordingly. The idea being that once we look at all the different aspects of a location we want, we can bring it all together as a package that allows us to quickly and efficiently qualify or disqualify properties as they come our way to review… Perhaps it is just the chef in me that requires this type of efficiency, regardless of the task, but nevertheless I think is an excellent way to make determinations on what is best for the individual business, while at the same time expediting the review process so no time is wasted on properties that don’t meet the their needs.

As any of my current or former clients will tell you, the first thing I always ask for is the menu… The menu drives the design format, the menu drives the layout flow and the menu drives the cooking methods, but for me, we can take a step back with site selection and simply look at the concept. What kind of restaurant am I opening and where do I want to open it? Italian, French, Chinese, Pizza, Gastro-Pub, Michelin Star quality… It is the concept here that I start with. Once I know the concept I wish to implement, I now need to figure out where that concept will be best received.

In my opinion there are no exceptions to this part of site selection… Sure, depending on the type of restaurant you are opening, the criteria for location are different but ultimately, if you land your restaurant in an area that doesn’t want or need it, your odds for success are dramatically diminished.

Next we’ll take a look at a few examples of concepts and how I would decide where I would locate them based strictly on their business concept.

Eat Well my Friends!

V


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