Restaurant Renovation: Ideas for remodeling and re-adapting your restaurant after Covid-19

Covid-19 took a heavy toll on the food industry. Not only was there a temporary closure of restaurants and commercial facilities worldwide, which left many out of business, but also new mandatory measures were enforced to control the health crisis. Not everything is lost and the panorama is more hopeful than ever. And because change demands creativity, here we are to offer you some creative ideas for you to incorporate to your business to get things back on track.

How to re-adapt your restaurant after Covid-19

Check the current health measures

Your restaurant should be equipped to protect both your staff as well as your customers. Hence, the front, or dining room, and back of house, or kitchen, require equal structural reforms to abide by the new Covid-19 regulations. As an initial step, checking state and local health measures should easily guide you through this re-adaptation.

Keep everything clean

It’s especially important not only to clean surfaces, equipment, utensils, and tables, but also all groceries and food. Furthermore, you should ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitizer and to clean their hands frequently. Hence, the installment of hand sanitizers ensures the hygiene of both staff and customers.

Provide adequate ventilation

An adequate supply of fresh air to indoor spaces where there are people present is also a way of preventing the spread of the virus. This doesn’t necessarily entail buying new ventilation equipment. Natural ventilation such as opening windows, doors and vents, can be a solution. If your space is not fully ventilated, you can acquire mechanical ventilation such as fans and ducts, or a combination of both. Some places have a CO2 monitor that controls whether the space is poorly ventilated or not. It’s important you frequently check for any poorly ventilated spaces in your premises and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas.

Use of masks

Workers should wear masks at all times when manipulating food, both at the back-of-house as well as at the front-of-house. In regards to customers, you could install signs indicating the applicable health rules at your establishment, such as the use of masks, especially if customers are getting near a pick-up point or the cashier. Masks should cover both nose, mouth and chin for its appropriate use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends masks for the general public.

Distance and pick up stations

A safe social distance is one of the main preventive measures against Covid-19. Tables in the dining room should be separated by at least 3 feet apart, as well as between customers and employees, so as to avoid people being clustered against each other and reduce the chance of contracting the virus. Also, a pick-up station can serve as a way to sell more food if your indoor space is limited and/or crowded because of the implementation of these regulations.  

Care about your employees’ health

Workers who have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, nausea, loss of taste and/or smell, among others, or have a positive test result, should follow the public health advice to stay at home and avoid contact with other people by not attending to work.  

If you need help redesigning your space to fit any new Covid-19 measures, get in touch with us, Protech Facility Services, one of Houston’s most experienced contractor services with 35 years of experience on installation, cleaning and maintenance of commercial kitchens.

Our 24/7 response team will be happy to help, just contact us!

Ideal Restaurant Construction timeline: How long should it take?

Embarking yourself into the odyssey of restaurant construction can be frightening. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect when facing challenges and time constraints such as bad weather or a delay in the delivery of your kitchen utensils. However, many of these variables are foreseeable to reach the perfect timeline.

Tips and information to mitigate possible issues ahead

Good preparation and planning

Probably the core element of any successful project is good preparation and planning. After defining what type of restaurant you would like to open, whether it’s a small take-out place or a big, fancy restaurant, knowing what you want and envisioning that is key for your future business.

Restaurant construction implies a team effort. Keep this in mind when you’re creating your vision board or writing down ideas. You must remember you’re working alongside multiple teams of engineers, contractors, architects, and designers, also with limited budgets and resources. That means there are multiple factors that may affect the time and trajectory of your project. Create a timeline with all these variables in mind and with the understanding that things may not go exactly the way you want.

Think ahead. Ask yourself the important questions: during which season am I planning to construct my restaurant? Who am I working with? What’s my budget and how am I going to spend it? Which paperwork do I need to fill out first? Questions are really useful to the designing of back-up plans, which can aid to respond quickly when problems present themselves.

What to expect then?

As stated above, the type of restaurant you’re planning to construct is going to define your time schedule. A takeout-style restaurant generally takes about 2 months to build out and install materials. A fast-casual restaurant can take up to 3 or 4 months. A full-service casual or fine-dining establishment can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to complete. In general, you should expect no more than 6 months in total.

The restaurant construction timeline may vary due to some of the following issues:

  • Site Specifications
  • Permitting Process
  • Weather Conditions
  • Project Size or Degree of Difficulty
  • Complexity of Architectural Plans
  • Availability/Delivery Time of Finishes, Furnishings, Kitchen Equipment, Flooring, HVAC Units
  • Knowledge & Experience of Contractor, Subcontractors & Respective Crews

Follow health and fire regulations

Restaurants need to abide by many health and fire regulations that have to be satisfied both pre and post-construction. Check which are the necessary licenses and permits to open your restaurant before starting your project. Following all regulations on infrastructure and food is necessary to prevent you from receiving heavy fines. 

This area of expertise might be tricky. If you are in need of some good advice on the matter, Protech can provide you with all the necessary information. We have an experienced team that can guide you through this process. We have 35 years of experience in commercial construction of restaurants, whether it’s about maintenance, installation or reparation in Houston and across the estate of Texas.

Don’t hesitate and contact us!

Commercial Construction Trends for Restaurants

Change is a constant in the restaurant industry as business owners continuously look for new trends that yield better responses from the public in terms of popularity and sales. 

This leads to innovative designs such as open kitchen layouts, beverage rooms, separate kitchens, and outdoor dining space that meet the guests’ desire to have a complete, distinctive and appealing experience together with quality food. 

 

Some Design Ideas and Trends on 2022

Coat Check Area

This old custom has turned into a trend once again. Restaurants are able to make their guests feel comfortable and taken care of right from the start by hanging their coats in a room designed specifically for this purpose.

Open Kitchen Layout

Connecting the center of the restaurant (the dining room) to the heart (the kitchen) allows guests to feel part of the preparation process. Visitors can learn about the dishes and interact with the staff as the food is being prepared, which gives a never ending topic of conversation and a source of entertainment during the whole evening. 

Outdoor Dining Space

This trend had been accentuated due to pandemic regulations in the last years, but it stuck because of the great appeal it found among guests. Restaurants also use outdoor spaces as a way to display their unique identity with creative decor. 

Outside Kitchens

This trend goes hand-in-hand with outdoor spaces. Outside kitchens allow staff to work efficiently and serve guests outside while allowing them to have the same source of entertainment open concept kitchens provide indoors. 

Craft Beer or Wine Storage Room

Nowadays, people go to restaurants in search of a new experience. Restaurants that brew their own beverages or allow visitors to go through their wine cellar to select their drink are more attractive.

Private Dining Rooms

Select groups of people enjoy having dinner in private suites that oftentimes have exclusive dinner options and integrated technology into the design.

 

If you are looking for the best and the most reliable company in Houston to help you design and build your kitchen, put your trust in ProTech Restoration. We are an experienced company that has been offering installation, cleaning and maintenance to commercial kitchen owners for 35 years. 

Our 24/7 response team will be happy to help, just contact us!

 

Which Commercial Kitchen Layout is Right for Your Restaurant?

To work at full speed, a commercial kitchen must be designed in a way that compliments both the unique infrastructure of the building and the requirements of the restaurant and the team working there. A layout where efficiency meets safety will improve overall operations of your business while simultaneously allowing the employees to feel comfortable and safe while working. 

While looking at the blank slate of what is soon to be you dream restaurant, take these tips into account and choose the right kitchen layout:

Get the best advice from your cooking team

Trust the most specialized people on your team to select the necessary appliances and design the kitchen layout accordingly, as well as the appropriate position to maximize the work flow. The best design will be the one that allows the team to store, prepare and serve the food more easily and thus, more efficiently. 

Space is an important aspect to consider. The standard ratio for front-of-house to back-of-house is 60 to 40, depending on the dimensions of the dining room, it’s important that you plan for enough space in the kitchen to keep things running smoothly.

A complete, efficient kitchen layout must serve all the basic functions of a kitchen such as:

  1. A loading area: ample parking space to receive fresh ingredients and products.
  2. Storage space: enough to store not only ingredients (pantry for dry goods and commercial fridge for perishables), but to place cooking utensils, plates, glasses, linens etc.
  3. Food preparation areas: the amount of space allotted to these areas will depend on the type of food on the menu, and need to have appropriate counter space and room for cutting, and cooking utensils. Special preparation areas must be conditioned to prepare food for guests with dietary restrictions and allergies, and don’t forget to plan enough space for washing areas.
  4. Cooking: according to the volume and type of food prepared at your restaurant, this area may vary in space and appliances. Nowadays, a cooking station is not complete without a Kitchen Display System, which allows cooks to see upcoming orders and plan ahead to prepare the required dishes. 
  5. Service: an area designed to plate and garnish every dish before it is handed off to servers. 
  6. Cleaning: washing areas, adequate waste disposal and tools and products for the kitchen equipment.

 

Comply with safety regulations

Start your business on the right foot by going over your local health and safety regulations and the necessary licenses and permits to open your restaurant. Violation of these policies can lead to expensive fees. 

If you’re uncertain about this step, it’s always better to seek advice from the experts. ProTech has a team dedicated to demystify your doubts and guide you through all the paperwork.

If you are looking for the best and the most reliable company in Houston to help you design and build your kitchen, put your trust in ProTech Facility Services. We are an experienced company that has been offering installation, cleaning and maintenance to commercial kitchen owners for 35 years. 

Our 24/7 response team will be happy to help, just contact us!

Building your first commercial construction: a quick guide to boost your design

As decades pass, new trends arise in the design of all kinds of commercial buildings with the goal of attracting more customers, creating enjoyable environments while expressing a brand’s identity in order to produce a full sensory experience for guests to enjoy. 

Selecting and developing a style is not only helpful in terms of clientele, but to generate a space where employees feel comfortable to work in. This boosts morale and productivity, and increases an owner’s chances to recruit and retain workers.

Believe it or not, efficiency is intimately linked with the right design; one that allows ease of movement and an open concept, provides comfortable work tables and seats, grants employees with a stylish environment and pleasing spaces to rest they can enjoy while doing their tasks.

Innovation and collaboration are key concepts nowadays that intelligent owners and managers try to promote by all means necessary, starting with the design. These trends, first used by companies like Google, have proven to emphasize the sense of belonging and teamwork among all members of the company’s hierarchy. 

All these advantages start at the very beginning of a commercial construction. These are some of the aspects that any owner should take into account in the planning phase of their commercial construction:

Open work spaces

An open floor plan will reinforce connection and collaboration among coworkers, which for many companies is a necessity as they attempt to cultivate a culture of teamwork and bonding. 

Flexible areas to work or rest

Depending on the type of the commercial construction (restaurants, lodging, office, retail, etc.), an owner can introduce several areas where the staff can work or relax. A change of scene can help boost the creativity and efficiency of any employee. 

Appropriate lighting and an ‘outdoorsy’ feel

Natural light, low walls to section spaces and the addition of plants, fountains or other decorations that bring the outdoors in as much as possible allow employees to feel energized and less disconnected from the outside world.

Whether an owner is building a restaurant or planning a renovation, taking these considerations into account in the building process will improve the workflow and overall efficiency of the business. 

A reliable contractor is key to ensure the success of the project you have in mind. ProTech technicians and contractors are trained and certified to create an efficient and beautiful space for your workers and clients.

Call us now to schedule an appointment and discuss your project, its design and construction in Houston, Texas.

Commercial Construction vs. Residential Construction

As readers dive into the internet in the hopes of finding information that will set them in the right direction of their dream construction project, doubts arise regarding the differences, requirements and regulations of every type of construction

Commercial and residential constructions are usually the most common projects. In both cases, they are private construction infrastructures, but the main differences reside in their financing, the construction equipment, and the sizes.

Residential Construction

Residential Construction covers the development of houses, townhomes, condos etc., belong to this category. These buildings, once completed, are used for residential living and their design and features are oriented to this purpose. This type of construction is funded by homeowners or by developers, and they usually require small to medium-size equipment to be completed. 

The construction materials vary, as well. While commercial constructions, especially restaurants, hospitals or industrial facilities, are built using non-combustible materials, residential projects usually use wood for smaller structures and steel beams for condominiums. 

Commercial Construction

Commercial infrastructures imply a wider range of buildings: hospitals, offices, lodging, retail, athletic structures, just to name a few. In these cases the funding comes from private investors or commercial construction developers. The worksites can vary from small to large in size and the equipment required is usually heavier. 

These buildings usually have to meet more strict regulations, which has an impact on the materials chosen for their construction. They are built from non-combustible materials and, depending on the type of building, can offer a 2-to-3 hour window of fire resistance. Poured concrete and steel framing are commonly used in this type of construction, which are often very large.

Budgets are usually bigger and city regulations are more rigorous. Depending on the building’s ultimate purpose, they may require fire inspection, food permissions, and special equipment to be taken into account in the initial design. 

Defining the type of construction a client wants is the first step of the project. Hiring a responsible, experienced contractor team like ProTech is the second step.

Call us now to schedule an appointment!

Commercial Construction Classifications: What else do I need to know?

Commercial Construction projects can fall under many classifications: 

  • According to the construction materials used, they can be classified from type V to type I. 
  • According to its final purpose, they can fall under medical buildings, restaurants, lodging facilities, athletic buildings, among many others. 
  • A more ample classification divides construction projects in general in three categories: private construction, state construction and federal construction
  • According to the scale of the project, it can be divided into small, medium or large scale. 

Defining your desired project in the planning stage according to all these classifications is necessary to be able to plan your budget.

After finalizing these decisions, it’s time for your contractor team to get the job done, but different projects call for different construction types that your contractor team must work around:

Renovations

Renovations are often the least demanding type of construction. Also called ‘retrofitting’, these projects involve an existing structure that must be improved. These upgrades can be aesthetic only, for example, when owners are looking to modernize their existing brand image. On the other hand, some renovations are for practical purposes – for instance, installing more efficient appliances, materials or technology. Lastly, a renovation might adapt a commercial construction to certain needs, such as making a store become more eco-friendly.

Build-Out projects

The most common examples are stores in a shopping mall, where the construction project is designed to fit a pre-existing space, usually rental or leased. In these cases, the space must be conditioned to fit the new tenant’s business needs. Depending on the project, a landlord might even contribute financially to the build-out. Learn more about these ones here.

Expansion

The need for an expansion surges when a business wants to retain its location but it’s in need of larger facilities to operate in. It’s commonly the case of growing, successful businesses that wish to upgrade their stores with the least amount of disruption to their day-to-day operations.

New commercial construction

This project starts from a blank sheet. This is a challenge that will require the entire design and construction of a building to start from scratch, limited only by your design and the size of your budget.

The type of commercial construction you have in mind and your budget will determine the whole scope of the project. What can never be up for discussion is hiring a responsible, experienced contractor team in Houston, Texas, like ProTech to bring that project to reality. 

Call us now to schedule an appointment!

Remodeling your Restaurant: An Opportunity to Grow

Food is only part of the reason why customers choose to go to a restaurant. An experience that combines pleasant aesthetics and ambiance with delicious food and top-quality service is what attracts more customers to any establishment. 

The looks of your place are fundamental to remain a leader in the restaurant business, and as all entrepreneurs know, staying relevant is the primary concern. Keeping your restaurant up to date and maintained with the latest trends in design and appliances yields many advantages that make the investment dramatically worth it. 

For example, remodeling can offer our clients a cost-saving solution to increase sales, and a reopening will always bring excitement among communities, catching the eye of new customers or renewing the interest of old ones. In many cases, this is more effective in achieving an increase in sales than just advertising. Furthermore, uplifting the employees’ morale with new exciting features and a bright, shiny, new working environment is another way in which restaurants increase their income and consolidate their internal culture and operations.

Brand recognition is a decisive part in many remodeling projects. The appearance of your store – both interior and exterior design – leave a lasting impression on all customers and allows them to recognize your brand among the crowd. Aligning the overall design of your business with your main objectives as a company is another important point to consider: using the right design to associate your brand with feelings of positivity, happiness, warmth or even hunger may boost your operations and attract more customers.

On the other hand, the appearance of a restaurant can also have a direct impact on the way your service is perceived. Worn-out surroundings, for instance, may have a negative impact on customers by associating it with low-quality food or lack of hygiene. 

By choosing to remodel, clients can custom-tailor their improvements without paying the costs of a full-blown construction project, including specific areas that need renovating, or excluding areas that don’t. When the remodel is complete, the overall look will tie in seamlessly.

Not only restaurants, but all kinds of businesses may benefit from remodeling, such as:

  • Grocery & retail stores
  • Restaurants
  • Apartments 
  • Hotels & lodging
  • Office buildings

Covering the specific needs of each type of business to boost their operations and increase their income is our specialty.

ProTech Construction professionals can assist with analyzing and assessing different opportunities to make the biggest impact for your business. Factors such as budget, layout, and time frame of the project will be considered. Thereafter, a remodeling schedule is proposed to ensure minimal interference with your operations. ProTech construction professionals will then execute the construction plan with an emphasis on craftsmanship and quality.

There is no substitute for experience. 

Contact us to find out more here.

Restaurant Construction: The Perfect Kitchen

The design of a restaurant’s kitchen is a major factor to determine the efficiency of its operations. The very core of a restaurant lies in its kitchen: the food preparation and the staff that make it possible. It is also one of the biggest investments of a new restaurant, so the kitchen needs to function efficiently in order to quickly generate the return on your investment

The staff must be able to have easy access to all required appliances, exactly where they need them and when they need them, and the implementation of Kitchen Display Systems is a newer feature that can greatly improve efficiency.

Here are some design tips that can help achieve the maximum potential of your kitchen When you dive into the restaurant construction:

  • You must follow restaurant regulations

All safety protocols must be thoroughly met in order to avoid penalties and provide a safe, quality product for your guests. These regulations might change by region -here you can find the FDA food code by state to help you out.

  • Think about your menu before you start

The specific ingredients and forms of preparation are the perfect guidance to acquire and place appliances in your kitchen in a coherent way (for example, place heat sources away from cold storage to avoid energy overconsumption). Aim to have everything you need, but refrain from buying equipment that’s going to have little use or its function might be conducted by other appliances you already have.

  • The most important input comes from the people that prepare the food

The chef is the right person to listen to while designing the kitchen. In order to boost efficiency, you must receive advice from the people that are directly in charge of the food -they’ll be able to tell you what equipment will be required and where to place them in order to achieve the right workflow, as well as the overall space needed to comply with the demands of the restaurant.

  • Think about other operations that require space in the back of the house

It’s not just food preparation. Storage, cleaning, waste disposal, enough space for the chef to supervise and train new staff, an appropriate exhaust system and air ventilation -all must be set in a consistent way that allows easy navigation and efficiency. Modular kitchens pose an advantage in this front, allowing owners to change the setting of the kitchen according to their needs.

  • Choose the kitchen layout that suits you the most

According to your staff and customers’ needs and the available space, you can determine the right layout for your kitchen: Center Island, Assembly Line, Open Kitchen, Zone Style and Ergonomic are the most popular concepts. Assess the advantages that each layout provides along with your chef, consultant designer and restaurant construction team to create the perfect design for your restaurant. 

Once the kitchen’s design is all set is when heavy-duty starts. The kitchen or “back of house” will usually require a full scope of mechanical, electrical and plumbing as well as other specialty trades. This area is the heart and soul of restaurant operations and will be heavily utilized and cleaned. As such, it is important to ensure that walls and floors are water-tight with the proper moisture barriers and sealants, that the whole room is properly fire-rated and that all appliances and installations are properly placed. 

Remember that any mistake in the restaurant construction and design can be changed with more or less difficulty, but changing kitchen installations like water or gas supply, drainage and electrical wiring can be a pain and very costly. These must be planned to detail and conducted by experienced teams to deliver professional results, and a long-lasting kitchen that will back up every need your restaurant has. 

Here’s a list of the most common Kitchen Scopes of Work. These are just the basics to keep your kitchen running:

  • Grease Trap 
  • Gas & Water Heater
  • Three Compartment Sink
  • Fountain Drink System
  • Kitchen Exhaust Hood System
  • Make-Up Air System
  • Ansul System
  • Fire Sprinklers
  • Walk-In Cooler and Freezer
  • Ice Machine
  • GFCI Outlets
  • Dedicated Circuits 
  • Commercial Equipment 
  • UPS Back-Up Battery
  • Data & Networking POS

Along with all the necessary installations in a restaurant construction, there are Kitchen Finishes that are immensely useful in terms of sanitation, durability and practicality, such as:

  • Kitchen Walls made of Fibre-Reinforced Plastic (FRP) or Stainless Steel Panels.
  • Kitchen Floors made of Durable Quarry Tiles or similar.
  • Acoustical Ceiling Tile & Grid.

The restaurant construction team that carries out your dream project must be well-prepared, experienced and mindful of details in order to give you the kitchen that you want. 

Check out ProTech Commercial Construction services in Houston. We have over 35 years of experience in the field. Our experts will provide a high-quality service that includes coherent and efficient kitchen planning, installations and room finishes that take your restaurant to the next level. We also have kitchen vent hood cleaning services in Houston so you can mantain your restaurant at the very top. Our 24/7 response team will be happy to help, just contact us.

Building a great restaurant: Dining Room

A Restaurant Construction Project, especially if it is your first one, might be a daunting process. Extensive work must be done in both the dining room and kitchen, so this kind of task calls for a more thorough process with high attention to detail and more extensive security measures than other construction projects. There are a lot of steps to get done before the big opening and every aspect, from the design to the final decoration, has an impact on your future income.

The restaurant dining room, known as the “front of the house”, is the most important area. It sets the stage for the customer experience and its design determines the ambiance you desire for your restaurant. The dining room’s purpose is not only aesthetic, though. Setting the tables and chairs sounds easy but there’s a lot to consider before that.

To create an appropriate floor plan, the first step is to consider the physical space of your restaurant and assign a proper space to every operation. Take into account spaces allotted to wait for stations, storage, POS system –all of which must be out of sight for customers-. Creating a dining room where there’s ease of movement, includes social distancing and biosecurity barriers and is still capable of hosting as many guests as possible has a direct impact on the overall efficiency and profit margins. 

Naturally, detailed finish work is important to brand image. However, the restaurant Dining Room must also be durable and built for longevity as it must be able to withstand the rigors of heavy customer foot traffic.

As you see, excellent floor planning and design don’t solve the entire equation. If the construction process is not carried out with both aesthetics and durability in mind, you might experience that income doesn’t fulfill your projection, or you might find yourself doing repairs and replacements much sooner than anticipated.

Among the common dining room finishes that ProTech provides, you can find the perfect combination between looks and quality: 

  •       Level 4-5 drywall finishes.
  •       Wall Coverings, whether in vinyl or graphics, with the design of your choice.
  •       High-Quality Wainscot and chair rails.
  •       Durable, non-slip Flooring, with high-finish materials.
  •       Concrete core-drilled posts to support furniture.
  •       Open or acoustical Ceiling and Ceiling Mounted décor.
  •       Custom-made brand-identity décor to solidify your brand image and upgrade the guest’s experience.

 

Check out ProTech Commercial Construction services. We have over 35 years of experience in the field. Our experts will provide a high-quality service that includes coherent and efficient floor planning and room finishes that take your restaurant to the next level. Our 24/7 response team will be happy to help, just contact us.