Restaurant Development & Design

WINTER 2014

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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5 8 • R E S T A U R A N T D E V E L O P M E N T + D E S I G N • W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 Join the Air Force BY THOMAS HENRY STRENK, Contributing Editor Proactive Air Quality Management Is Mission Critical "We move a lot of air through the cigar bar; all the air is changed over every six minutes. So it is not a big blue cloud all the time," quips Alexandra Renzetti, director of marketing at Leaf Cigar Bar and Famous Smoke Shop in Easton, Pa. Maybe you don't run a cigar bar, or even allow smoking in your restaurant, but rest assured you have offensive odors to remove from your business. No matter the concept, no matter how wow the décor or how au courant the design, if the air quality isn't up to snuff, custom- ers won't sit still long enough to notice. They likely won't return, and they might even send you their dry cleaning tab. "Customer satisfaction is linked to the restaurant environment as much as it is to the quality of the food," says Brian Chandler, PE, a principal, engi- neering lead and operations director for ID Studio 4, an integrated architecture and engineering frm based in Irving, Texas. "Air management in a restau- rant is critical to control temperature, humidity, stuffness and odors." "Air management is all about the guests' experience. If it's too hot, they won't want to sit and eat, no matter how good the food is," adds Bill O'Keefe, executive director of development for DineEquity, the Glendale, Calif.-based company that operates and franchises more than 2,000 Applebee's and 1,550 IHOP restaurants. "You want guests to be comfortable, and at the same time you want the restaurant to be function- ing properly." Balancing Act When it comes to managing air quality, restaurants pose some unique challenges. "Restaurants present novel condi- tions not found in most building types, in that you are putting makeup air into the building and sucking it right back out with a huge fan. Then you have doors constantly opening and closing, which creates chaos," points out Brian Tepen, director of architecture and design for DineEquity. "The restaurant air system has to be balanced," O'Keefe explains. In the back of the house, exhaust hoods over the cook- ing equipment constantly extract smoke and grease-laden vapor, creating 20 percent negative pressure. The restaurant needs to counterbalance that negative airfow with fresh and conditioned makeup air to the front of the house, he says. "The reason the kitchen must maintain negative air pressure in relation to the dining room is so that all the odors from food prep and cooking don't seep out into the dining room," Tepen adds. "In most instances, the net air bal- ance for the entire restaurant should be positive (by either a minimum amount of 150 CFM, or 2 percent of the HVAC airfow, whichever is greater) to ensure infltration of unconditioned outdoor air does not occur," Chandler says. Running Hot and Cold "Kitchens get incredibly hot from the equipment, so the chef and cooks need air conditioning, even in the winter. Yet guests in the dining room need heat," notes Don Waller, director of construc- tion for Columbus, Ohio-based Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. "That's a challenge, producing heat in one area of the restau- rant and AC in another. Balance is our biggest concern." How To Above: Restaurants, like the IHOP seen here, in- clude exhaust hoods over the cooking equipment that constantly extract smoke and grease-laden vapor, creating 20 percent negative pressure in the facility. The restaurant needs to counterbal- ance that negative airfow with fresh and condi- tioned makeup air sent to the front of the house. Below: In dining rooms, like at the IHOP seen here, the AC requirements will vary depending on the climate and season of the year. When packed with customers, the dining room is warmer too, due to the body heat contributed by guests and staff. Air condi- tioning must contend with those changing conditions.

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