Restaurant Development & Design

MAR-APR 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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2 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 • M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 Consultant's Take Take Charge of Technology W hen it comes to integrating new technologies like self- checkouts, self-serve ordering kiosks, advanced equipment controls, highly integrated POS platforms and other software meant to enhance operations, many restaurants have had to figure things out on their own. It's less of a challenge for larger chains, many of which have built up their internal IT departments, but for smaller restaurants that are tight on both time and money, searching for the right technology platform and then build- ing the infrastructure to handle it can become a separate job all on its own. That's where consultants can step in to help. Fact is, few do at the moment. "It's not just about designing kitch- ens anymore," says Joseph Schumaker, FCSI, principal design consultant, SGC FoodSpace. "It's about designing a fa- cility that meets all of the needs of the operator, including technology needs. Our job is to do the footwork and let our client decide." Schumaker has walked show floors, attended food and technology confer- ences, and done other research to find companies, vet them, and figure out budget and hardware needs. Some- times, he brings clients solutions. In other cases, the client has already decided on a technology platform but needs help building the infrastructure. Where to Start "Conversations about technology have to happen right away — before the drawings begin and even before you submit for building or health per- mits — because we need to know the infrastructure requirements," Schu- maker says. "You want to figure out the technology really early because otherwise, you're going back to make expensive changes." Hardware needs include anything from specific cabling and networking to digital menu boards and other promo- tional screens, kitchen order screens, and cutouts at the front counters to make room for a tablet setup. Even the swivel sticks for tablets and kiosks have to be NSF certified and foodservice ready, meaning splash-proof "in case someone spills their soda all over," Schumaker says, as well as securely bolted to prevent theft. Some technology companies will provide the stands; some require restaurants to pur- chase their own separately. Self-serve ordering kiosks also have to meet ADA requirements, so Schumaker has had to reduce the height of the countertops they're bolted to for compliance. And then you have to think about where all the iPads and other smash- and-grab equipment will be stored after the restaurant closes for the night. "How will they be charged? Will they be plugged into a rack or a cart and live in a secure office or other locked-up place?" Schumaker says. You also have to think about the back of the house. "Are there screens al- ready?" Schumaker asks. "Where will new screens live? Will there still be a ticket and print system or a digital system?" Beyond POS systems, advanced equipment with internet capabilities have to be considered in the initial infrastructure development, Schumaker says. "For example, if the restaurant is using a non-wireless high-end soda machine or combi oven with an internet line, no one on the construction team will know that these pieces need BY AMELIA LEVIN, Contributing Editor JOSEPH SCHUMAKER FCSI, principal design consultant, SGC FoodSpace

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