In my mind, one of the most challenging yet fulfilling property categories to construct are restaurants and projects of the hospitality sector. Regardless of the type of cuisine served, there are some consistent facility trends in 2018 worth discussing.
Instead of the previous inclination toward communal tables, more owners are seeking “chef’s tables,” offering a front row seat of the kitchen environment – strictly reserved for VIPs and special guests. This often constitutes a special tasting menu prepared by the head chef.
Another element of food/drink “showcases” is seen through more attention toward mixology. Bar spaces are being used in more interactive ways and require increased visibility (often from a 360-degree perspective with circular structures surrounding bartender staff).
Within fast-service construction projects, the addition of drive thru lanes has been showing some striking statistics towards enhancement of daily sales volume. From JH Greene’s experience in a recent project managing the addition of a drive-thru to an existing establishment, the corporation anticipates a 55-60% increase in sales volume from drive-thru additions within the Northeast market based on consumer demand for the accessibility.
All the coordination of intense mechanical, electrical and plumbing required doesn’t allow any of this to come easily. With the constant exchange of information, communication is paramount. The design team must be in clear dialogue with the owners in conceptual phases so that their vision is fully ingrained in the architectural drawings. The project managers must have open lines of communication with the township to gather all requirements and approvals to move forward with permitting. The general contractor must be vocal about scheduling and budget allowances so that there are no surprises in either area. Subcontractors must open up with any potential roadblocks that are presented so that there is no delay in plans. Everyone involved needs to encourage the exchange of ideas so that the flow of information isn’t barricaded to one party.
From JH Greene’s perspective, after 44 years, you see a lot of challenges that prepare you to be better equipped in the future. From a project management angle, we’ve really firmed up our controls for change management, schedule definition and team integration. This means owners should anticipate someone who should guide a project, not wait for a push. When a GC takes the time to make sure scope and quality levels are where they need to be at all times, there is a trust that owners know their project is in good hands. This is where JH Greene thrives for their restaurant clients—whether a fast-food, casual sit-down, or high-end experience.