E&S Extra

Editorial Director Joe Carbonara provides insights and commentary on the state of the foodservice equipment and supplies marketplace.


Kitchen Renovations Remain Top of Mind

Planning to renovate a commercial kitchen? Here are four steps critical to the success of any project.

That the topic of commercial kitchen renovations seems to keep coming up organically in our editorial coverage these days should not come as a surprise. In a mature a mature and competitive industry such as restaurants, operators find themselves needing to renovate a kitchen for a variety of reasons. These reasons range from the desire to refresh an existing concept to introducing a new concept and service style to an existing location and countless other reasons in between.

No matter the reason a commercial kitchen needs a renovation, project teams should resist the urge to cut corners. That was one of the key takeaways from a panel discussion I had the chance to moderate during HX: The Hotel Experience, a tradeshow in New York City’s Javits Convention Center. The panelists represented members from four of the industry trade associations, including Joe Ferri of Pecinka Ferri, representing the Manufacturers Agents’ Association for the Foodservice Industry; Kevin Fink, president of the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers; Kirby Mallon of Elmer Schultz Company, representing the Commercial Food Equipment Service Association and Ken Schwartz of SSA, representing the Foodservice Consultants Society International – The Americas Division.

Here are several other key points raised during the panel discussion.

Look at the project holistically. Think of every project as a series of dominos. It’s important to understand the objective going in to a project. The project’s goals will shape every subsequent step. And cutting corners to meet an unrealistic deadline or budget will only cost the operator more in the long run. All of this boils down to communication. This is a sequence of dominos. Otherwise the whole thing falls apart.

Every discipline as a role in the success of the project. It starts with the operator and their vision for the kitchen but they can’t go it alone. A successful kitchen renovation project will also require expertise that only a consultant, dealer, manufacturers’ rep and service agent can bring to the table. Invest in assembling a solid team that will work collaboratively to ensure a project moves not only effectively and efficiently but also has the chance to deliver a positive return on investment.

Understand the state and limitations of the facility’s infrastructure. Today’s foodservice equipment offers a lot in terms of firepower, the ability to reduce energy consumption and more. But none of this matters if the building’s infrastructure can’t keep up with the equipment. Project teams should assess the state of the building’s electricity, gas and water lines, ventilation and even sewer to make sure any new equipment items can live up to their promise.

Proper equipment installation remains critical to the success of any project. This ensure that the equipment not only runs properly but that it also runs safely. Proper installation also saves on costly downtime.

There’s lots more that can go into a successful commercial kitchen renovation but these four issues should be central to any project.