If you are planning to build a restaurant in the Vancouver area, one of the first steps you need to take is to choose a location and a team.
In this post, we will offer you some recommendations and perspective based on our experience building more than 50 restaurants and entertainment venues throughout the Lower Mainland.
Please note that we are a contractor, not an architect or municipal authority, and this article is our opinion only.
If you have not yet, be sure to read “How to Build a Restaurant in Vancouver, Part 1” for a basic introduction to the challenges unique to building a restaurant and the importance of working with a contractor early on.
To start, let’s discuss the location for your new restaurant. Both the requirements of your restaurant and the restrictions and nuances of a location are vital to consider when determining an affordable and profitable site.
One of the most important things we can do for any client is to help set realistic expectations with respect to:
Location will have a major impact on all of the above. Indeed, the location you decide to lease can make a difference of many thousands of dollars in costs for your project.
A key advantage of bringing your building contractor into the process early on is that you can consult with the contractor about the location or locations you are considering.
Indeed, the contractor may help you to narrow down the possibilities before you pay to bring an engineer or architect to a potential restaurant site. That can save you even more money.
When we visit a potential restaurant site for a client, here are the three key factors we assess:
• The restrictions around the ventilation capabilities based on the food you plan to serve and the type of kitchen you need.
• How the electrical supply will restrict what you can do from an equipment and ventilation standpoint.
• Along with the ventilation and electrical requirements, another major consideration is grease interception. As grease drains, you need to be able to capture it below your building.
In fact, ventilation and electrical alone can account for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost savings when you choose the right location.
Otherwise, you are going to be pouring major funds into outfitting the site with the capabilities you require. We have seen this happen far too many times.
Some clients may choose to go with a location despite such hefty additional costs. But others simply do not have the budget to consider such a route.
That is why it is essential to make sure that minimal adjustments will be necessary to make a restaurant location work with respect to the three factors we just discussed.
Once you finalize your choice of location, it is time to start bringing onboard the personnel you will need to make your new restaurant a reality.
☑ Electrical engineer
☑ Mechanical engineer
☑ Structural engineer
☑ Interior designer
As the overseeing authority for your project, the architect will sign off on all of the elements of your new restaurant. Examples of these elements include:
☑ Wheelchair accessibility
☑ Occupancy load
☑ Fire safety
☑ Other operational considerations
Not every engineer or architect has the specialized knowledge necessary to bring a restaurant concept to life affordably, efficiently, and successfully. For that reason, it is critical that you choose the right team.
Over the twelve years we have worked on projects throughout the Vancouver area, we have put together a reliable team of engineers and architects specifically for restaurants.
Not only do these professionals know what it takes to build a restaurant, but they also excel with teamwork, work flow, and timeliness. We look for a combination of professionalism and cost-efficiency, and tailor each team we assemble to the individual client based on similar projects we have worked on in the past.
We mentioned that a designer is one of the key personnel you will need to build your restaurant. We want to spend a little extra time discussing the selection of this critical team member.
You might think that if you have an architect, you do not need a designer. In some cases, that may be true—the architect may also have the design skills you require. But in many cases, you may want to bring a separate designer into your project, one who you feel can capture the look and ambiance you are striving to achieve.
Choosing a designer presents a challenge when it comes to experience. You might think that you should try to choose the most experienced restaurant designer out there, but that is not necessarily the case.
You could discover that the designer that has the right vision for your project is not one who has extensive experience with restaurants and all of their regulatory and code requirements. It could even be an entry-level professional.
At Mercury Contracting, we can work with any designer regardless of their experience level. If they do not have ample experience yet with restaurants, we can guide them and provide them with the resources they need to make the leap into this sector.
If there is a particular designer a client wants to use, we will work with that professional. If a client does not know who they want to help them design their restaurant, we can point them in the direction of skilled local professionals.
Now you know how choosing the right restaurant site can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you have learned more about recruiting architects, engineers and designers to your project.
Check in with us again soon for the next blog post in our series on how to build a restaurant in Vancouver, or give us a call today at 604.757.9495 to discuss your project.