Enterprise Insight: Managing the Design and Construction Process

There is an enormous amount of work required in getting a foodservice enterprise open. A big part of that journey is the design and construction phase, and it is very easy to lose a lot of time and money on these processes. This month, we are going to discuss three items that can help alleviate some headache and heartache with design and construction:

  1. Know What You Want
  2. Do Your Due Diligence
  3. Constantly Reevaluate The Project

Know What You Want

Before signing with an architect, designer, or even a lease, it is important to have an idea in mind of the flow, service format, fixtures, finishes, and overall aesthetics. Bringing this collection of details to your architect and designer will help communicate to them what you’re looking for—and save a lot of dialogue and time. The closer to your own personal vision you can start the design team off with, the closer to it you will finish.

This can be as simple as a Pinterest board, or as in-depth as exact product samples; sketches on tracing paper or CAD drawings.  Whatever you’re capable of, do it and be prepared to explain what you’re looking for.

Do Your Due Diligence

Before singing a lease, bring your architect to the prospective spaces to poke, prod, and push around the site conditions. When bidding out the job, compile all of the RFI’s and ensure that the entire scope is accounted for in the bid set. Confirm with your architect of record that your space is properly equipped to handle your intended use, and if it’s not, what will the costs be.

In markets like New York, where operators are rarely going into new construction, field conditions can cause change orders that easily increase costs by 25% or more

Constantly Reevaluate The Project

You should reevaluate the project in both financial and emotional terms throughout the process. In 1995, Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan developed a planning technique called “Discovery-Driven Planning.” In it, the authors laid out an approach involving five elements, with the chief one being, essentially, “what must prove true for this to work?”

Ask yourself this question throughout the design and due diligence process to ensure you’re still on target. If, for example, due diligence reveals that the space requires extensive foundation repairs that massively changes the budget, then the operator should pause and determine whether the future success of the business is enough to justify the cost.

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