Restaurant Development & Design

JUL-AUG 2019

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

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4 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 • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 9 the restaurant operational. All subcontractors need to have a copy of the entire timeline, says Peggy Marker, president of Marker Construc- tion Group, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. This tells the contractors, often months in advance, what they need to do and when. "If something is delayed, it delays everyone — all the subs — then I may have to pay them extra because the project's gone longer," she says. If a client comes to Vetter very early on, he'll assemble a team of electri- cians, carpenters, plumbers, engineers, and so forth and work through the entire planning stage with them, so there's less chance for surprises to come up. "It makes it easier for us as we're holding the puppet strings and can make sure we're getting the level of service and schedule we demand," he explains. Vetter always has a supervisor who's at the restaurant site all the time. "You have to have someone who's intimately aware of every project," he says. "He's my eyes on the ground. It's important that he get along with the client." Permitting Permits Beyond the weather, permitting can throw projects off track, regardless of service style or location. "City and county requirements are tough and get- ting tougher, so that will slow you down," says Giordano. "Then, getting inspec- tions is an everyday struggle." In general, larger cities tend to have more red tape, says Vetter, and in small towns, he comes across more "personali- ties" in permitting. To ease the process in the long run, Vetter keeps an exten- sive database of every town in which he works. And, he adds, "if it's an area we've never worked in, you have no idea what you are in for." To help things run smoothly, Vetter meets with everyone (prospective clients, municipal employees and the construc- tion team, including all the different utilities) in advance "to make sure we know as much about the process as we can. You're relying on a lot of personali- ties to abide by a timeline. They don't have to respect my schedule; they're going to get their fee regardless." The permitting, he admits, "is up there as the most frustrating part of his job." To help this process along, it's often best to hire an expediter, usually through local architects or building department referrals. Expediters have various roles. They give advice on location to speed the permitting, and they help drive projects through local bureaucracy. And while expe- diters can be expensive, they're worth the extra cost to prevent lengthy delays, says Giordano. "You want someone who knows the local codes inside and out," he says. Expediters are most useful when building in a big city, though they are be- coming more necessary in the suburbs, too. "A trend we're seeing is the smaller counties adjacent to the cities adopting some of the city regulations," says Brian Harrison, Denny's senior manager of architectural design. Each state, or even county, has its own codes concerning issues like light allowances at night or ADA require- ments, which makes building new restaurants more challenging for national chains like Denny's. Denny's uses local architects to help navigate these codes. Beshay did not use an expediter in Globe "because the city was easy to work with and eager to work with us. But if you are working with a large city or a large county, it's almost a must," he says. Beshay recently opened another Denny's in French Valley in California's Riverside County. "I had to deal with the city of Riverside, local traf'c and the local Airport Land Use Commission, and there are competing priorities in each," he says. "Every single time, if there's a snag in construction, it's because the municipalities are too busy. We had to 'nd the proper consultant who can deal with it, and that's the only way to speed things up." To Convert or Build New? Deciding whether to build a restaurant from the ground up or to convert a former CONSTRUCTION CONTROL: FIVE CHALLENGES OF BUILDING A RESTAURANT Common problems with conversion projects include dated electrical systems, mold and other issues, according to Marker Construction, who was charged with building the Boatyard Restaurant. Image courtesy of Marker Construction Group

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