Restaurant Development & Design

JAN-FEB 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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J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 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 • 2 3 By having a high number of allow- ances, then, owners aren't getting the project's actual cost. Even worse, they've put themselves in a tough spot as soon as they award the contract. That's because before the project is awarded, a GC's subcontractors are bidding against each other so they give their best price possible. After the project is awarded, though, the subcontractors already have the job locked up. They are no longer competing against others, so they price these newly defined scopes with their typical — and most likely contractually agreed- upon — markup, driving up the owner's cost. Depending on how big these scopes are, owners could spend thousands of dollars more than if the design decisions were made earlier in the process. Starting a project before the plans are complete can hurt your business in other ways. This begins when you fill in the missing items in a bid. When you do this, you're introducing new information to the project. Even if you have an allow- ance for this scope, it still needs time to be priced and the pricing then approved. Sometimes, you'll then have to deal with long lead times to get the item. Other times, depending on your construction schedule, you'll only have a short win- dow to get the items you want. When this occurs, I see one of two things happen: Either the client changes the product to something they may not want but can procure more quickly or they pay more money to expedite the original product. And even if they decide to spend more money to expedite a product, there is now an in- creased chance of receiving it past the date it was scheduled to be on-site. These delays can trickle down throughout a project. Furniture, for example, can't be installed until the flooring is in. If a project's flooring is specified late, the owner may end up spending extra money on overtime to get the floor installed in order to hit the scheduled date for furniture installation. This overtime expense could have been avoided if the flooring had been figured out earlier in the process. That money could have been used in other areas of the project — maybe for nicer fin- ishes or unexpected challenges such as manufacturing delays, weather delays, changed/discontinued products, etc. Clearly, then, it makes sense to start construction only when your draw- ings are as close to done as possible. Despite this, of course, some owners will move forward before their plans are complete. If that's you, I strongly recommend that you work with just one general contractor on the project. By doing this, you and your GC can work closely to tighten your budget by really dig- ging into what's missing from your design. This can help you financially account for many of the details that are not yet shown and/or designed, helping save money with your subcontractors. Choosing a general contractor who has a great restaurant resume will help you even further as they can do more to fill in those missing project details. Restaurants are differ- ent than other building projects, and contractors that don't build restaurants don't really understand everything that's involved. The slightest changes could have the biggest impacts on design, schedule and expenses. The more expertise you can bring on your team, the better. It's never expected that drawings will be 100 percent complete and ready to go before you start, but you should work to get them to be as close as pos- sible. The closer you can get, the more money you will save, the more time you will save, the more aggravation you will avoid and the more you can focus on your opening date. You may have to spend a little more time and money to get these drawings closer to complete, but those investments will save you time and money by the end of your project. That will bring you closer to your ultimate goal: a successful, timely grand opening. That is what I call "chasing a completion date." + Sometimes owners can cause havoc and headaches for themselves. This happens when they insist on starting a project before it's ready. I call this "chasing a start date."

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