Restaurant Development & Design

FALL 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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3 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 • F A L L 2 0 1 4 BY AMELIA LEVIN, Contributing Editor F rom intimate dinners to full-scale parties, power lunches and presentations, private dining has become an integral part of the overall revenue stream in many restaurants. In fact, special events can have as much, if not more, sales and proft potential than the bar in making up for inconsistencies in main dining room traffc. "Private dining, or a lack thereof, can mean the difference between success and failure," says Clark Wolf, a veteran restaurant consultant and principal of Clark Wolf Company in New York City. "For at least a decade I have never allowed any restaurant I worked on to be without private dining or at least a semiprivate fex space that can bank on targeted, higher-end fxed meals and ex- pand for the holidays and busy seasons." Private dining — not just big ban- quets — can build business on an even more regular basis, with the beneft of fxed costs and projected sales. A hefty deposit, often required to reserve private space, doesn't hurt either. While private dining has always been an important res- taurant revenue stream, in Wolf's view, it has taken off even more in the past several years as the economy has recov- ered and both individual and corporate spending have ramped back up. Part of the Big Design Picture As private dining has evolved and grown, so too has attention to the strategic design and functionality of these spaces. No longer forgotten-about, out-of-the- way banquet rooms or closed-off empty spaces, these rooms are now more stra- tegically integrated into the big design picture. Often built right off the kitchen, main dining room or wine cellar, private dining spaces can come complete with windows and well-thought-out partitions meant to make them look and feel like a part of the big design picture. In some cases, they even have their own bars. "The ability to be entirely private or semiprivate is important," says Wolf. "Many times diners want to feel like they're off the main dining room. People like to show off that they're having fun." The unique design, entertainment, technology and location factors of the private dining room present opportunities for restaurants to reinforce their brand and message. That goes for both ambiance and menu. "You might have a lot going on in the main restaurant with the standard menu and different groups doing their own thing," says Wolf. "But the private dining room is a great place for restaurants to convey the essence of what they are trying Well-Designed, Tech-Enabled Spaces Build Private Dining Business

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