Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Building Your Own Restaurant

When we found our space at 33 Union, we knew the location was perfect for us. The downside was that it wasn't an existing restaurant space. It was retail. Which meant we had to build out.

There are definite pros and cons of building a restaurant space, rather than using an existing restaurant.

Pro- Designing the restaurant to your specific needs. Our kitchen is designed for our menu and cooking needs. Our food has a definitive flow through the restaurant and our kitchen and prep kitchen were designed to make that food process as efficient and safe as possible. Saus has a truly made-to-order kitchen for our frites and waffles.

Con- Building a restaurant. That may sound silly and obvious, but more goes into a kitchen than we ever imagined. We had to hire a contractor, electrician, plumber, etc for building and installations. Then there are separate systems that have to be installed for safety and regulation purposes- specific systems that come with their own installers. Some systems overlap. The fire prevention system and the ventilation system for our fryers are connected, for instance. And of course where overlap happens, gray areas occur where each party says they are not responsible for XY and Z. Which leads to things missing. (This is difficult to write about without getting too specific.. haha. Bear with me.)

This is what we are dealing with at the moment. We are trying to get things ready before all our inspections and learned (through pestering people- us-"Is this all set? Meaning- if this is inspected as it is right now, will it pass? No? Why- what's missing?" them-"We put this in for you, but these people need to hook it up to their system. You need to buy XYZ to connect it. They do that work for you, not us.") that we were missing some vital parts.

Lesson? Don't feel bad about pestering people. They will tell you you are all set to go. This doesn't mean what it sounds like. It means, they have finished what they will do for you. Ask ask ask if it needs to have ANYTHING else done to it before inspections. Chances are- it will.

Pros VS Cons. If you are a pro at opening a restaurant, it's still a lot of balls to juggle turning a retail space into a restaurant. But you get exactly the right restaurant for you. We learned a lot doing this and are still learning a lot. Mistakes are made. Mainly because we don't know all the right questions to ask. But I think when we finally open, we will feel that much more proud of what we accomplished.

Home-stretch hopefully! (As long we don't discover more that's missing...)

1 comment:

mhklikecrazy said...

Sounds like a fuckin' pain in the ass. I hate regulations that don't mean shit, just so people can have a job and sit on their low-skill, high horse position and tell you what you can and can't do.