Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Architect or Foodservice Designer First?

So you have an idea for a restaurant... or maybe this is even your second or third. Each time you wonder, now who do I contact first? What's the difference between architectural services and those of a foodservice designer?

It's good that you are asking, because you may or may not even need an architect on the job. If you are looking to stay within a budget, (and who isn't?), then even though some of their services overlap, architect fees are higher than a foodservice designer right out of the shoot. However, that said, in most cases you need at the least an architect stamp on your plans, and at the most you need an architect to design the structure of the building or your part of the building.

So, what does that mean?

A foodservice designer has expertise in the design and layout of your commercial kitchen and dining room complete with equipment specified for your specific concept, and will consult with you in ways to save you money when it comes to what equipment you need, where to place the electrical and plumbing, and will provide for you all the necessary drawings, plans and specifications needed for the city, the contractors and equipment companies.

On the otherhand, the architect can do all this for you, but you want to be sure to hire one that has experience in restaurant operations, restaurant equipment, flow and layout of restaurants. There are many architects with this specialty. So what's the difference in that case? The fee. Bottom line is the fee.

The architect has expertise in designing structure, which the foodservice designer does not. If that is not an issue, for instance if you are going into a space that has already been built or is already designed by an architect then you will save money going to an independent foodservice designer and consultant for the foodservice layout of the space designed by the architect.

If you still have questions about the difference I'd be glad to try to answer them.

Best to you on your restaurant venture! I wish you all the success.

- Frank Stocco, Foodservice Consultant and Designer


Michael said...

Hello, I enjoyed your article. I have interest in preparing my own kitchen floor plans and am in search of a restaurant design or layout software that that provides actual square footage and equipment icons.

Would you know of a economic software that I could purchase for this purpose?

I have 14 years as a chef but am not sure what software to look for.
Or what key words I need to search for.

Ive seen smart draw, easy blueprint on a search but cannot find anything worth really trying out.
Seems to be to much time wasted with no real results. I have also looked in the restaurant assoc. and couldn't find anything either.

I would like to create my own template. Without spending a lot of money in software what are the options?

Thanks for you help.

Frank Stocco said...

Hi Michael,
I can appreciate what you are trying to do. I used to think I could make the computer layouts of my kitchen design or restaurant design ideas before I became a professional designer. What I found out is that if money is an issue, it's far cheaper to enlist the services of a professional restaurant designer than purchase the expensive software they use and then take classes as they have to learn it. Furthermore, the expertise and free consulting you get from a layout professional can save you a ton of money and eliminate costly mistakes. They have the knowledge and expertise in code issues, flow and efficiency (which you probably know well), and can prepare a computer layout that is exactly what the equipment companies need to bid your job. With the proper layout you will save money on mistakes and you can shop around and compare equipment bids, even get the best bid out there. Plus, there are the contractors which need a very detailed and precise layout for their job.
If you want to try it yourself you certainly can. But from experience it's worth the money to hire an independent consultant and designer. You can shop around for them too. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the article. I do believe that it depends upon the type and quality of the restaurant.

The value of the architect does not stand simply with sound structural judgement and the ability to coordinate multiple trades into a cohesive whole. Talented architects, of which there are many these days, possess an aesthetic judgement that rarely can be found elsewhere.

Who to hire depends primarily upon the restauranteur's goals, and of course the pocketbook.