restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.
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7 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 • M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 7 Form + Function AV Systems Integration By Stephanie Aurora Lewis, RA, LEED AP, Contributing Editor A restaurant's audiovisual sys- tem's ability to influence the dining atmosphere is undoubt- edly a powerful factor. "AV sys- tems are no longer thought of as vanity now but as a necessity," says Casey Johnston, founder and lead designer of Serious Audio Video Inc. Proactive and upfront planning and coordination of the AV system is critical. Early coordination also saves proj- ect costs. "Ahead of construction, plan the AV system around the needs of the restaurant instead of designing the AV system around the needs of a complet- ed building," says Rusty Howell, senior account manager at M3 Technology Group, Inc. The first step in the AV design process is to interview the owners and operators to get a sense of what they want and what they need from a sys- tem. "Owners and managers are good at knowing what they want for their restaurant," says Howell. The restaurant segment and type will help shape the design of the facil- ity's AV system. For example, Howell says that most sports restaurateurs want every patron to be able to see four to five different TV screens at the same time. Architects and interior designers have strategies that help restaurateurs and AV technicians achieve their end goals without compromising aesthet- ics. Architects and consultants can offer acoustical expertise, while interior designers can work with the team to en- sure the AV system is incorporated into — and in some cases, hidden within — the interior design elements. Developing a 3-D sketch of the AV design can make for a more collabora- tive and efficient planning process. "It may take us more time to complete our design, but if we can provide a three-dimensional rendering, it helps the client to better envision what the finished installation will look like," says John Andrade, director of operations at Colorado Audio/Video. Sometimes An- drade's team will add "cones of vision" onto the drawings to help the client also visualize the seating pattern. Working in tandem allows the AV team and the interior designer to work toward the same goals. For example, a restaurant may choose concrete flooring for aesthetic reasons, but for acoustical reasons, cork flooring may be the better choice. Architects also should ideally dedicate space for AV equipment at the beginning of the design phase. Sound strategies will vary by location and include a mixture of foreground and background noise. "No matter the combination of foreground At Jackson's All-American Sports Grill in Colorado, TVs line the wall behind the bar. Photo by Kim Ziegler