Start on the right path with a designer

Your opening date is right around the corner, but the lease hasn’t been finalised, the plans aren’t ready, and the design is over budget. Sound familiar?

Planning a restaurant or cafe doesn’t just happen. Having the right team to support you from the outset will ensure every milestone is met & every box is ticked, keeping you on program and on budget. I love every opportunity I have to create unique projects for my clients.

It is essential that the designer knows the intended budget. In my experience, clients often don’t want to let a designer know how much they can afford to spend. There is the impression that we will just go out and design for the sake of it, without regard to being realistic about cost and the bottom line. I have worked at both ends of the spectrum, on luxury projects, and small budget restaurants. A good designer will be familiar with the cost of products they are specifying, and be able to work creatively and to a budget.

An Interior designer will help you plan your layout & select the furniture, but our skills don’t end there. I will work with you from the start to plan the right layout, creating a balance between maximising customer seating and tightly coordinating back of house facilities for seamless functionality and minimising space requirements.   An attention to detail & understanding of how all elements fit together is the key.

For first time restaurant owners, do not penny pinch when in comes to the kitchen, and be realistic about the cost of commercial kitchen equipment and air-conditioning services. I advise adding a kitchen consultant to your design team. A consultant brings to the project advise on selecting the right equipment for your planned menu & number of customers and analysing work flow for seamless service. They are also independent; they will not try to push you to buy their own product.

One hot topic is that clients don’t often realise the full range of skills a designer brings to a project. An Interior designer’s role has evolved over time, and is now considered an all-rounder; from site analysis to planning, interior architecture, establishing your own unique Brand Architecture, managing consultants, Council planning & building permits, construction site meetings, etc. I work closely with a kitchen consultant and an engineer to coordinate the kitchen layout and services with the overall design for a seamless finish.

I can assist a client with council liaison for Health and safety, making sure all the boxes are ticked on the design to meet Health requirements, and planning in the mandatory Health inspector visits at the right times during construction.

“It’s vital to get this right, whether the project is $100,000 or $1 million; that bit of extra attention to detail to ensure the services fit in well with the architectural elements. It makes for a more streamlined build, less questions on site during construction; and therefore less unexpected surprises and variations.

I hope owners planning to open a cafe or restaurant who have taken the time to read this article take some useful information away to assist in their planning.

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