Restaurant Development & Design

NOV-DEC 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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2 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 • N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 Consultant's Take ANDY SIMPSON Design | Oz Rey Food Hall Developement Stop the Creep H ave you ever noticed how, over time, a huge number of things become must-haves in a kitchen? I call this The Creep. The Creep is something I have seen at every single chain concept I have worked with as, over time, the kitchen becomes larger and larger, with more and more equipment to meet every pos- sible circumstance. The Creep is caused by a lot of things. Many designs become too heavily in€uenced by the honeymoon period — when a restaurant is new, sales may be more than twice what they will be over the lifetime of the business. The operations people involved in the design are often thinking about what they see during openings, and it's natural those planning new unit design are reacting to openings. There is plenty to learn from observing what happens at openings and during peak periods. However, be very careful what you do with the information gleaned from those experiences. It can lead to solutions that are overdone. As a brand gets older, more and more people have a hand in it. The menu has evolved, and a number of people have modi†ed the design. It can be very dif†cult to unravel the evolution and determine what is important and what isn't. Everyone loses some perspective when they work at a company for a long period of time. It's similar to the way a person loses perspective if they don't travel much, if they don't seek out new experiences or meet new people to see how others live. When you drive to work the same way every day, it's amazing how much you miss. I think it's very im- portant to have key operations person- nel spend time at other concepts. Typically, taking on The Creep starts when there is change — a major shift in direction or a new prototype. If you are leading the change, beware. Questioning things puts you in the crosshairs, and it's not always the easi- est thing to suggest looking at things in a different way. I worked with one brand that had been doing the same thing for so long, going into the restaurants felt like stepping into a "Back to the Future" movie. It was very dif†cult not to offend the sensibilities of those who had been involved. They had done a great job, but many years later, it was tough to come to terms with the fact that something had to give. My sugges- tion is to walk carefully, listen a whole lot more than you talk and gather infor- mation from all possible sources. To really †gure out what is needed and what isn't, an up-to-date must-have list has to be developed. It's crucial to start by having a comprehensive discussion of what the must-haves actu- ally are. This process must begin with de†ning what the concept really is and where it might go. As consultants or people working at a brand, we some- times †nd that the overall de†nition and direction isn't as clear as it should be. It may be that the those involved don't understand they even have a de†nition problem. Prototype work often ends up in a larger discussion about concept de†nition and direction. When I am trying to †gure out what the must-haves are, I don't share my initial list in any great detail at †rst. During the investigation period, it's often suggested that a committee be formed to work on the design. The problem is that a committee isn't an ef- fective way to design. It's too abstract. Stakeholders need something to react to. It's on the project lead to take in all the information and create something that a committee can react to †rst. For the kitchen, obviously, you

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