Now that you have your location and you are looking into hiring a restaurant designer to design your restaurant interior and to possibly get your new restaurant building permits… how do you proceed? It’s easy if one of your friends have had a great experience with an interior designer or an interior architect, but what if you don’t know anyone with similar experience or skills? Here are a few things to look for before hiring a restaurant designer:
1. Your new restaurant’s brand and image are as important as your menu and your vision. Will the designer you want to hire understand the importance of your new brand? Or will you have to hire a separate company to create your logo, do your graphics, pick your branding colors and coordinate all those together? Will your interior designer pick finishes and materials that relate to your brand and philosophy? It is much easier if the company you decide to go with can create a branding package which may include: logo, business card design, menu board design, wall graphics and overall interior concept reflecting your restaurant philosophy and menu.
2. When opening a new restaurant you are required to get a few permits. Two of your permit applications will have to include architectural drawings which will be provided by your designer. When pricing your interior designer or interior architect make sure you will receive, in addition to architectural design drawings, electrical, mechanical and plumbing engineers’ drawings that you will use for your Health and Building permits. You can not apply for your permits without those.
3. Sometimes it is very difficult to express verbally to your designer what exactly you are looking for in the interior of your new restaurant. Or maybe what the designer has in mind doesn’t match your goals. Don’t be shy, ask your designer if they will work with you to correct the design ’til your are satisfied. Or to at least have 3 free design revisions included in your package price.
4. When you are done with your design and have received your permits the construction phase begins. This is when your contractor may uncover some unexpected conditions on the site unaccounted for in the design. These usually get uncovered during demolition of existing walls or equipment. When talking to your potential restaurant designer make sure you receive an ongoing support during construction of your restaurant. It will save you lots of headaches and money if you have your designer make corrections and send you updated details, instead of trusting your contractor’s design skills.
5. The last thing to look for raises a question of whether you want to go through the process without huge surprises or not. If you are trying to save money on your project and looking for a deal you probably will be hiring someone without much experience in restaurant design. This can bring unforeseen problems later in construction or even earlier during your permitting process. Most of the time saving money upfront doesn’t mean you will be saving overall. One little mistake can end up costing thousands of dollars later on. Saving on a well designed ambiance for example can backfire even if you picked a great location! Try looking for a restaurant designer with some experience in design and permitting process. Good restaurant designer will let you know what you can save money on in your design and what should be your priority.
Also, take a look at “Branding By Interior” e-book, the only book written on this subject at this time. It brings insight on how you can turn your business into a market-dominating competitor by using human cognitive responses.