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