Restaurant Development & Design

SEP-OCT 2018

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

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3 6 • 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 • S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 Consultant's Take meetings — whether via phone, web chats, Zoom/Skype or in person. Re- gardless of the type of meeting, every meeting in a partnered project should function in a proactive mode more often than not. During these meet- ings, it's also important to establish a critical-path timeline, meaning having clear-cut deadlines with plenty of lead time. This way, if (and more likely when) there is a delay, course correction happens in advance. No one gets caught off-guard or without notice. The key here is to acknowledge that problems will occur, and sharing informa- tion early is far more important than holding back and simply hoping nothing goes wrong. It's also important to determine and remind each other of upcoming critical-path junctures or crunch times when we know we'll be in the weeds. If we're meeting enough, it is easier to touch base and remain accountable to our individual deadlines while also tackling any unfinished pieces right away. Step 3: Take an anticipatory approach. Mistakes happen. Deadlines will likely be missed. Knowing — and anticipat- ing — that no project will run perfectly smoothly can lead to these problems getting resolved faster. This acknowl- edgment is the essence of what's called high reliability. Even when we're dotting all of our I's and crossing every T, the world of restaurant development and design is full of Murphy's Laws. When we anticipate problems and define critical-path junctions, we can be in touch in advance instead of just add- ing extra padding into deadlines. High reliability acknowledges that no matter how well we plan, there is likely to be a challenge. Thus, in advance, we anticipate and fix problems nimbly and learn from these scenarios. In anticipa- tory, high-reliability organizations and projects, we're thinking through all the what-if's and have a plan in place ready to address them. Step 4: Take a team-based approach to critical path and opening dates. A team-based approach gets all the more important as time gets closer to critical-path junctures, such as the opening date of a restaurant. As the project gets closer to its final dead- line, meetings should happen more often so the team can work together to tackle any last-minute needs. Working collaboratively to address unforeseen issues, rather than assign- ing blame or taking a "that's not my job" attitude, is critical. This is where the lead facilitator on a partnered project really comes into play. That facilitator needs to lead the team with extra communication, planning and problem-solving as the pres- sure intensifies. But each team player can and should step in to help if they can to get the job done. Step 5: Don't forget the follow-up process. Partnered projects don't end when the restaurant opens. A successful facilitator will document the entire project, including punch lists and follow-up pieces. Every- one on the project knows who needs to check in or complete whatever after the restaurant opens. Although the architect's job might be completely done at this point, it's important to maintain communica- tion with every team player in case any last-minute problems or changes arise. An example is knowing the point person for any given piece of equip- ment should that piece of equipment break down six months after opening. Also, check again the entire punch list of items to complete before opening during follow-up. The word "we" is a pivotal phrase. Together, we build a building and suc- cessful project. And together, we can make sure it's still standing and operat- ing well months and years later. + Partnering came out over time as an alternative to the more traditional subcontractor arrangement in which it's easy to get sucked into finger-pointing and blame.

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