Gone are the days of traditional assembly-line cafeteria environments. Today, diners are looking for more specialized atmospheres and engaging experiences for their meals. When choosing a construction partner for your next food service project, it’s essential to select one that understands these everchanging needs and the unique nuances that diverge mass food service spaces from traditional restaurants.
While considering your options, use these three questions as a guide to evaluating the best construction partner for your next mass food service project.
1. How does your team ensure project success?
While it may be tempting to choose a construction partner solely based on their knowledge of technical aspects, such as drains, power lines, and equipment placement, it’s essential to dig deeper into their previous food service experience.
Due to the fast-paced and extremely technical nature of food service projects, more staff hours are required to complete projects on time and within budget. Many food service projects have condensed project schedules. These tight timelines require an extreme level of detail that mandates constant communication to ensure a fast track to the finish line. Processes need to be in place to be able to adapt to changes in scope and maintain the project schedule.
Additionally, look into how your potential partner sources trade partners for their projects. If your project is going to occur over the summer, it’s critical to have trade partners assembled and ready to bid on a project well in advance. A firm with a vast network of resources can make this process much more manageable by identifying suitable trade partners to get them pre-qualified and booked before your project commences. With expansive knowledge for leveraging labor, an experienced food service construction partner provides a well-established national trade database to ensure the right trade partners are available for your project.
2. How does your team help build flexible food service spaces?
In food service settings, it’s all about change. As dining needs and wants shift rapidly, it’s essential that your construction partner understands these insatiable trends and is prepared to build a space accordingly.
Equipment selections are a crucial part of this process. As the type of food vendors serve is likely to change with each turnover, you must select equipment with multiple uses to ensure smooth transitions from each vendor. With multi-use equipment in place, a salad station utilizing cold water can easily change to a hot food service station.
Another way your construction partner can help make your space adaptable to the inevitable change of vendors is to incorporate digital menu boards. As menus change from vendor to vendor, you’ll want to save space in your layout for a menu board. Digital menu boards can be modified on a dime to accommodate each new vendor’s branding.
With flexibility and adaptability top-of-mind in the preconstruction phase, your construction partner should be able to transition a food service station within a matter of days ultimately minimizing disruptions and maximizing both client returns and diner satisfaction.
3. How does your team effectively manage equipment installations?
Given the short window of opportunity for construction work, an experienced construction partner will have the wherewithal to identify long-lead-time materials before construction begins. Managing equipment logistics is a time-intensive process. Selecting a construction partner with experience in coordinating the delivery, storage, inspections, and licensing applications for your equipment will put you at ease.
Regardless of size, every project should be designed to deliver the most bang for the buck. Experienced construction partners should be able to educate you on equipment selections, finishes, and other variables to help your project stay within budget. If possible, equipment experts should be involved early in the design process — not just to help with planning, but also to evaluate existing facilities. Before selecting your construction partner, ask them about their knowledge about equipment installation and relationships with equipment experts. Upon arriving on-site, a construction partner with vast equipment knowledge will be able to provide feedback on how the location of your gas lines, for example, will impact certain types of equipment and which you will need to buy. Your options might be limited (or expanded) based on requirements or opportunities that only a professional would recognize.
Ultimately, your construction partner will know your space like the back of their hand. Couple that with knowledge of food service equipment, and they’ll be able to help you identify which type of equipment, like a convection or conventional oven, is right for your space.
Finding the RIGHT partner
Since mass food service projects tend to have tighter project schedules, you need a savvy construction partner on your team. Your ideal partner will have superior project management skills and processes, trade partner relationships, and equipment installation expertise.
Contact Ron Henry, senior vice president, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Sachse Construction can help you build a premier dining space.
About Sachse Construction
With more than 50 food service and restaurant facilities built across North America over the last three years, Sachse Construction is experienced in getting you fully operational as quickly as possible. Since 1991, Sachse Construction has built millions of square feet in retail, commercial, multifamily, and institutional space. Our clients have come to trust our ability to deliver beautifully finished spaces that prioritize end-user experience and future business workflow. With in-depth expertise, our seasoned professionals have a proven track record of expediting approvals and optimizing every inch of your space with the comfort of future patrons always top of mind.