by Lee Simon

After several months of planning for your new restaurant concept, you find yourself in a meeting with your kitchen designer. It is time to select the equipment for your restaurant. Suddenly you find yourself buried under 47 catalogs and a list of options that, if stretched out completely, would circle the globe two and half times. This process can be a daunting task, unless you know how to proceed. This month, we will look at some of the important issues to consider when selecting the foodservice equipment for your facility.

by Lee Simon

In the previous installment, we discussed the popularity of display kitchens and the many issues that should be considered to determine whether a display kitchen is desirable for a given operation. For argument's sake, let's say that you did your homework and have determined that a display kitchen is the way to go. You did do your homework … right? Now we are going to look at some of the features of a well designed display kitchen.


As you enter the dining room, fully anticipating a memorable dining experience, it is not long before your expectations are met. The individual showing you to your table marches you past an extraordinary display kitchen. Flames are flaring, chefs in custom uniforms are bustling about, and the aroma from the kitchen is enticing, to say the least. A true feast for the eyes.

Display kitchens are popular. If properly conceived, they can truly enhance your operation. If designed incorrectly, they can be a nightmare. Don't be fooled however, production in front of the guest has a unique set of requirements. Accommodations in cooking methods, as well as operational procedures, may be required in order to achieve the desired presentation. In this installment, we will look at some of the reasons display kitchens have grown in popularity. We will also look at some of the key factors one should consider when determining whether a display kitchen is the right choice for a particular operation. The next installment (Part II) will address some of the key planning issues related to display kitchens.

by Lee Simon

There is no doubt about it … we are a society that focuses on the bottom line. Be honest. When you read a menu, which side ultimately affects your decision most of the time? When you are at a car dealer, how long is it before you look for the sticker in the window? This constant obsession with the bottom line is present in every consumer's decision making process, including the design process.

Unlike purchasing a standard, off-the-shelf product that has a set pricing structure, the design process is significantly influenced by budgets and cost estimates that occur during the development process. In the early stages of design, the details of the facility are rather vague … and so is the budget. Despite the absence of detailed pricing, decisions are made based on best information available. For example, if the budget is too high, modifications are made to bring the budget back in line.

Challenge Your Design Team
by Lee Simon

When you hire a design professional, what are you really hiring? Well, you should be hiring experience, creative solutions, contacts, and a variety of other resources, all in the form of a partner who is going to commit to you and your project. It is natural to assume that anyone who presents themselves as a design professional would, in fact, have the necessary expertise to execute his or her job effectively. But expertise alone does not guarantee that your designer will be able to develop and implement the best solution for your unique scenario. Like it or not, you need to play an active role in the design process. If you are not familiar enough with plan reading and standard design practices, you can make a very costly mistake by trusting misguided advice.