6 Headache-Saving Tips for New Restaurants and Remodels

1. Consider ALL of Your Wiring

Before you're "set in stone" (concrete or asphalt), consider any underground work or wiring needed like loops for speed-of-service and drive-thru detection, concrete pours for speakers, menu boards, order confirmation units, signage, etc. Check how long of a hose or extension cord you will need after open. It may make sense to add additional spigots for watering and power washing, or outdoor outlets for power tools and new signage or technology.

2. Power Planning!

Outlets are valuable in restaurants. It may look like your plans have enough drawn in, but consider your point-of-sale system, printers, lit display cases, under-counter refrigeration, blenders, coffee equipment, and all the new technology ahead. Plan for quad outlets or greater in the early stages. (Plugs and adapters may take up or cover more than 1 outlet as well.) You may need to power a kiosk, delivery terminal, or cash machine. Don’t forget your customers and employees that will want to charge their phones—you may want to include USB ports, too.

3. Plan NOW for Additional Drainage

Before you're in TOO DEEP, make sure you are satisfied with drainage. Whether you are deck-scrubbing, power-washing, or cleaning up after a faulty sprinkler or a pulled fire alarm, does water have a place to go with a proper slope to get there? Do your coolers, convection ovens, or steam cabinets need to drain? Planning now could avoid unnecessary expense if new equipment is added and needing drainage.

4. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

While in the early stages of development, consider your neighborhood and security needed. Do you need to consider bulletproof windows, a modified drive-thru window--maybe smaller, or with a security drawer feature, panic buttons or alarm close by, or digital surveillance? Also be sure to check for any permitting or variances you may need for outdoor seating.

5. Take Notes Beforehand

If you have ever tried to search for a serial number or make and model of something, you know how hard it is at times to reach those pesky numbers. Making a list of those numbers, adding when the warranty expires and who to call for repair will save time and frustration later. 

6. Back Up!

Even when you do everything right, things can still go wrong. Consider back-up systems, supplies, and plans. You may want to consider back up for your exhaust, including extra belts, CO2, refrigeration/freezer, cooking equipment, POS, drive-thru headsets, drive-thru back up system, and other essential back-up, should a piece of equipment fail or in the event of a full power outage.

Meet: Mary Beth Baum

Mary Beth Baum

"I started in the restaurant industry at 15 years old as an employee. Before my 16th birthday I had the safe code, store keys, ran shifts, recruited, hired, and trained/cross-trained. I had already been in the QSR industry for over 30 years when I resigned from my director of operations position. What I loved most was opening new stores and remodels. Now, I am on the other side of the counter, helping RF customers with their new stores and remodels. I am proud to represent a company that I chose to purchase equipment from and call for service for over 20 years and find it rewarding to use my past experiences to assist RF customers!"

Your Drive-Thru & Surveillance Consultant