Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 2017

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

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5 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 • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 MAIN EVENT UPS ITS GAME Main Event brought the combination of bold colors and natural materials to its existing spaces as well. The bar area, for example, has high-top wood tables and booths with blue fluted upholstered seating. The space's floor is a wood-style vinyl on which the chain projects an image of a star, once again calling back to Main Event's heritage. To help define the bar area, large light fixtures in geometric shapes hang from the ceiling, while black-framed glass panels separate the drinking area (and its patrons) from the more family- friendly main dining area. The dining area takes the same general approach as the bar. It features red tufted booths and patterned tile flooring. To help counteract the space's high ceil- ings, the same type of wood rafters used in the social lounge are found overhead. Main Event has also taken steps to increase the square footage available to guests looking to sit down and enjoy a meal, primarily by making some existing zones more flexible. The kids' birthday party section, for instance, previ- ously had plastic tables and chairs — typical for an area catering to eight-year-olds eating pizza and cake. In the new design, this section has hardwood tables and seating that blends with the dining area. It has also been relocated adjacent to the dining area but away from the bar, allowing it to be used by diners later in the day once the kids' par- ties are over. Similarly, Main Event has relocated its private meeting rooms to be near the dining area. When there are no private parties, the rooms' large cantilevered doors open, expanding the dining space. Instead of having folding tables covered with linen, these rooms use high-quality chairs and hardwood tables with folding panels, which allow for flex- ible seating arrangements. The quality furnishings make the meeting rooms more appealing as a regular dining space, Keegan notes. "If it's a Saturday night and you're in there, you don't feel like you've been sat at the kids' table." Going Big With so many different zones at Main Event, the redesign was a major under- taking. One of the most impressive as- pects of the effort was its timeline. Just one year passed from the commissioning of the first design drawings to the open- ing of the Orlando location. While this was the right decision for Main Event, the compressed time frame did introduce some complications to the project. Though construction drawings were complete when work started, many of the finishes had not been specified. The company ended up having to make decisions about tiles, fixtures and other design elements on the fly, says Main Event's Vice President of Design and Construction Brian Moran. While the chain is happy with the decisions it made, it's now in the value- engineering phase, looking for suppli- ers that can offer cheaper equivalent materials and finishes. Value engineering for an operation with 50,000-square-foot stores isn't much different from finding suppliers for a 5,000-square-foot restau- rant, Moran notes, but logistics is. For suppliers, it is generally easier to ship large amounts of product to a handful of large stores versus smaller amounts to dozens of small locations. With 10 times the amount of product going out at once, though, construction managers must screen potential suppliers closely. "That's one of the issues we discuss when we're vetting our vendor partners," says Moran. "Do you have the capacity? Do you have the inventory? Give us your means and methods to pro- viding your service to ensure that when we place an order, you can procure this in a timely fashion." Negotiations with contractors are similar. Because of this, the chain tries to partner with contractors who have experi- ence working on large shopping centers or office buildings. Those firms typically have the manpower to get the job done on Main Event's tight schedules. "It's 10 times the spend, but it's not 10 times the time. It's not even 2 times the duration," Moran explains. "A restaurant may be built in 100, 150 days. We're in the 200 to 250 days' time frame. When we talk to our vendors and contractors, we want to know not only that they can handle the Above: Main Event's new prototype includes an outdoor seating area with a window providing direct access to the bar. Right: Main Event's fast- casual concept, La Bella's, uses bright colors that ap- peal to younger guests.

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