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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W I N T E R 2 0 1 4 • 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 • 5 9 Keeping cooks cool in a hot environ- ment is a key task of air-management systems. Air conditioning requirements depend upon kitchen square footage, the size of the cookline and number of staff- ers. "At Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, we want to create a comfortable environ- ment for our associates to work in," says Waller, who adds that ample kitchen AC contributes to staff loyalty and lower employee turnover. In the dining room, AC require- ments will vary depending on the cli- mate and season of the year. They also must adjust to the daily rhythms of a restaurant: full during mealtimes, emp- ty between dayparts. That impacts tem- peratures and humidity. When operating at full tilt, the kitchen is hotter than during downtimes. When packed with customers, the dining room is warmer too, due to the body heat contributed by guests and staff, O'Keefe points out. Air conditioning must contend with those changing conditions. "That's why we install thermostats," he notes. Excess humidity can also cause problems. "All restaurants operate with high humidity levels in both the dining and kitchen areas, which is introduced through people breathing, outdoor air ventilation and steam from cooking," explains Chandler. He recommends insulating ductwork to contend with this high humidity. "Much as conden- sate will form on the surface of a cold glass, a similar condition will occur with condensate forming on the surface of cold un-insulated ductwork, eventu- ally dripping onto tables and guests," he warns. If It Looks Like a Duct... "From the design standpoint, you want the air-management system in the background, working effciently, unobtru- sively," Tepen says. "Ducts, vents, return grills in the dining room shouldn't com- promise the design aesthetic." Guests shouldn't notice the mechanics. "Sometimes, vents and grillwork can even be beautiful when integrated into millwork or ceiling designs," Waller suggests. Not only should vents be visibly unobtrusive, but air currents should be undetectable. "Trying to push too much air through just a few air devices may result in uneven airfow where some guests feel heavy jets of wind, while others feel stagnant air," says Chan- dler. He recommends a large number of vents strategically located to evenly distribute air in the dining room. In Leaf's restaurant and bar areas, perforated ductwork keeps the airfow diffused rather than just dumped into the space. "With the perforated duct we can move air throughout the space at a lower pressure, thus keeping the guests less aware of the massive amount of air fow- ing through the space," Renzetti says. Inventive Ventilation In the ever-innovative arena of res- taurant operation, certain trends pose their own singular requirements when it comes to air management. The growing popularity of the cigar bar and restaurant combination repre- sents one case in point. The building that houses Leaf Cigar Bar and Famous Smoke Shop is 60,000 square feet. A warehouse and humidor take up the bulk, at 40,000 square feet, while the cigar store and restaurant/bar together comprise approximately 5,000 square feet with 96 seats. The bar is a large, open room with tall ceilings. "The larger room volume al- lows the smoke to drift up naturally where it is captured in the return air stream and removed from the space," says Renzetti. Leaf's air-management system was developed by Jim Eck, LEED AP, president of Quadratus Construction Management. The building's rooftop units use HEPA flters with charcoal flters to remove particulates and odors; an energy recovery wheel recaptures some of the heating or cooling energy. Because of the volume of cigar smoke, the system requires more maintenance than a normal restaurant or bar, says Renzetti, with constant cleaning and flter replacement. Additionally, beyond sophisticated mechanicals the cigar bar's decor takes odor management and air quality into account. It utilizes a lot of hard surfaces that staff can easily wipe down and clean every night. Outside of the napkins, the space contains no table linens that could pick up the scent of smoke, and the seats feature wood and leather construction. "You don't want a fabric curtain or chair While equipment in kitchens generates heat that keeps staff warm, the dining room (like the one at Ocean Prime, seen here) may require additional heat to keep guests warm. Restaurants have to balance the unique needs of both spaces to provide a good experience for guests.

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