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Top Kitchen Design Trends of 2024

Top Commercial Kitchen Design Trends of 2024

by Nathen Dubé

A young male chef preparing a dish in a clean, modern commercial kitchen

Commercial kitchen design continues to evolve, driven by advancements in technology, an emphasis on sustainability, and the need for efficiency and flexibility.

The latest trends reflect these priorities, offering solutions that enhance both functionality and aesthetics in professional kitchens.

This article explores the top commercial kitchen design trends of 2024, highlighting their benefits and offering practical implementation tips. Going further, I also include real-world examples of successful trend adoption.

1. Sustainability and Eco-friendly Practices

Sustainability is at the forefront of commercial kitchen design in 2024.

Restaurants and foodservice operators are increasingly adopting eco-friendly practices. Key reasons include reducing their environmental footprint, and meeting consumer demand for responsible business practices.

Key Trends

  • Energy-efficient appliances: The use of ENERGY STAR-rated appliances that consume less energy, and reduce operational costs.
  • Sustainable materials: Incorporating materials like recycled steel, reclaimed wood, and eco-friendly countertops.
  • Waste reduction systems: Implementation of composting and recycling systems to manage waste more effectively.


  • Reduce operational costs through lower energy consumption.
  • Enhance brand reputation by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability.
  • Meet regulatory requirements and green certification standards.

Implementation Tips

  • Choose ENERGY STAR appliances: Invest in appliances that are certified for energy efficiency to cut down on utility costs, and reduce environmental impact.
  • Incorporate sustainable materials: Opt for materials that are durable and have a lower environmental impact, such as recycled or reclaimed materials.
  • Implement waste management systems: Set up composting and recycling systems to manage kitchen waste efficiently.

Client Story

A farm-to-table restaurant I worked with revamped their kitchen to include energy-efficient appliances, reclaimed wood decor, and a comprehensive waste management system.

These changes not only reduce their operational costs but also enhance their brand’s commitment to sustainability, attracting environmentally-conscious customers.

2. Smart Kitchens and Technology Integration

Technology is transforming commercial kitchens, making them more efficient, safer, and easier to manage.

Smart kitchens equipped with advanced technology are becoming the norm in 2024.

Key Trends

  • Smart appliances: Ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers that can be monitored and controlled remotely.
  • Automated inventory systems: Systems that track inventory levels in real-time, reducing waste and ensuring timely reordering.
  • Kitchen management software: Software that integrates scheduling, task management, and equipment maintenance.


  • Enhance operational efficiency, and reduces labor costs.
  • Improve food safety, and quality control.
  • Streamline inventory management, and reduces waste.

Implementation Tips

  • Invest in smart appliances: Choose appliances that offer remote monitoring and control capabilities for better efficiency and oversight.
  • Use automated inventory systems: Implement inventory management software to keep track of stock levels, and reduce food waste.
  • Adopt kitchen management software: Integrate software solutions that help manage kitchen tasks, staff schedules, and maintenance routines.

Client Story

A high-volume catering QSR company integrated smart kitchen technology, including smart ovens and automated inventory systems.

The approach allows them to monitor cooking processes remotely, optimize their inventory management, and streamline operations. The result is significant cost savings, and improvements to service quality.

3. Flexible and Modular Kitchen Designs

Flexibility and adaptability are key considerations in modern commercial kitchen design.

Modular kitchens that can be easily reconfigured to meet changing needs are becoming increasingly popular.

Key Trends

  • Modular equipment: Equipment that can be moved and reconfigured as needed.
  • Multi-functional spaces: Areas that can serve multiple purposes, such as prep stations that double as serving counters.
  • Open kitchen concepts: Designs that promote transparency and interaction with customers.


  • Adapt to changing menu requirements and operational needs.
  • Maximize space utilization and efficiency.
  • Enhance the dining experience by promoting transparency.

Implementation Tips

  • Choose modular equipment: Invest in equipment that can be moved and reconfigured easily to suit different needs.
  • Design multi-functional spaces: Create areas that can serve multiple purposes to maximize space efficiency.
  • Consider open kitchen designs: Implement open kitchen concepts to enhance customer interaction and experience.

Client Story

A fast-casual restaurant redesigned their kitchen to incorporate modular equipment and multi-functional spaces. This flexibility allows the operator and their team to adapt to menu changes easily.

In addition, the change increases functional space, and streamlines their operations, leading increases in efficiency and customer satisfaction.

4. Enhanced Food Safety and Sanitation

Food safety and sanitation are paramount in commercial kitchens.

In 2024, new design trends are focusing on creating hygienic environments that minimize contamination risks.

Key Trends

  • Touchless technology: Faucets, dispensers, and doors that operate without physical contact.
  • Sanitization stations: Dedicated areas for handwashing, and sanitizing equipment.
  • Antimicrobial surfaces: Use of materials that resist bacteria, and are easy to clean.


  • Reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  • Meet health and safety regulations.
  • Enhance the overall cleanliness of the kitchen.

Implementation Tips

  • Install touchless technology: Implement touchless faucets, dispensers, and entry systems to reduce contamination risks.
  • Create sanitization stations: Designate areas specifically for handwashing, and sanitizing tools and equipment.
  • Use antimicrobial surfaces: Choose materials that are resistant to bacteria, and easy to clean for work surfaces and high-touch areas.

5. Ergonomic and Worker-friendly Designs

Ergonomic designs that prioritize the well-being and efficiency of kitchen staff are gaining traction.

These designs focus on reducing physical strain, and improving workflow.

Key Trends

  • Ergonomic workstations: Adjustable workstations that reduce strain and fatigue.
  • Improved ventilation systems: Systems that provide better air quality, and reduce heat stress.
  • Ample lighting: Sufficient and well-placed lighting to reduce eye strain and enhance visibility.


  • Increase staff productivity, and job satisfaction.
  • Reduce the risk of workplace injuries.
  • Enhance the overall efficiency of kitchen operations.

Implementation Tips

  • Design ergonomic workstations: Invest in adjustable workstations that can be tailored to individual needs.
  • Improve ventilation: Ensure your kitchen has effective ventilation to maintain air quality, and reduce heat.
  • Enhance lighting: Use ample and strategically placed lighting to improve visibility, and reduce strain.

Client Story

A large-scale restaurant redesigned their kitchen to include ergonomic workstations and improved ventilation.

These changes have resulted in a more comfortable and efficient working environment, leading to higher staff morale and productivity.

Address Your Kitchen’s Design

The commercial kitchen design trends of 2024 reflect a focus on sustainability, technology integration, flexibility, food safety, and ergonomics.

These trends not only enhance the functionality and efficiency of commercial kitchens but also address the growing demands for environmentally responsible and worker-friendly environments.

Are you ready to transform your commercial kitchen with these cutting-edge trends? Contact us today to learn how we can help you implement these designs and create a kitchen that meets the demands of modern culinary operations.

Image: Rene Terp via Pexels

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Difference Between a Plan and Playbook

The Difference Between a Plan and a Playbook

by Doug Radkey

An AI-generated image of a business plan on one side, versus a playbook on the other side

Sometimes AI comes up with impressive images. This is one of them.

You’ve likely heard that 80 percent of hospitality businesses fail within the first five years.

When you ask those in the industry the question of why there is such a high rate of failure, they reply with a fairly predictable list of factors. These tend to be location, concept or brand confusion, lack of service standards, toxic workplace culture, sub-par marketing efforts, and mismanaged funds.

Many operators who fail try to quickly blame external factors, such as the economy.

When you ask the next questionwhat are the other 20 percent of operators doing differently to surpass five years in businessyou get one simple answer. The difference between those who drive a sustainable profit of 12, 15 or 20 percent (or more) and those who don’t boils down to one thing and one thing only: they have strategic clarity.

It’s not that the successful 20 percent did not battle challenges or the same tough economy or labor struggles. What they had was clarity, and a playbook detailing how to overcome a multitude of challenges.

So how do you achieve strategic clarity? Well, it’s much more than just writingor filling out a template fora business plan.

What is Strategic Clarity?

Strategic clarity is the comprehensive understanding and alignment within your hospitality business regarding its identity, direction, purpose, and the means to achieve its goals.

It involves clear communication and consensus on key aspects of the business, ensuring that everyone is working towards the same objectives. Below, the key components that define strategic clarity.

1. Understanding Who We Are

  • Core Identity: This includes the mission, vision, and core values of your business. It defines what the business stands for, and its fundamental purpose.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses: Recognizing the business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) aids in identifying the core competencies and areas for improvement.
  • Culture: The shared beliefs and practices that characterize the business’ internal environment, and how it interacts with both staff and guest perceptions.

2. Knowing Where We are Going

  • Vision: A clear and compelling picture of what the business aspires to become in the future. It serves as a guide for choosing current and future courses of action.
  • Long-term Goals: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that outline the desired outcomes over an extended period.
  • Milestones: Intermediate targets that mark progress towards the long-term goals.

3. Understanding Why We are Doing This

  • Purpose: The fundamental reason for the business’ existence beyond making a profit. It encompasses the broader impact the business aims to have on its community.
  • Motivation: The driving force behind the business’ actions and strategies. This includes the values and principles that guide decision-making, as well as behavior.
  • Stakeholder Alignment: Ensuring that the goals and activities of the business align with the interests and needs of its stakeholders: guests, employees, investors, and the community.

4. How We are Going to Get There

  • Strategy: The overarching plan that outlines how the business will achieve its vision and long-term goals. It includes the allocation of resources and the selection of strategic initiatives.
  • Tactics: The specific actions and steps that will be taken to implement the strategy. This involves detailed planning, delegation, resources, and execution.
  • Performance Metrics: The criteria and tools used to measure progress and success. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other metrics help track the effectiveness of strategies and tactics.
  • Continuous Improvement: The process of regularly reviewing and refining strategies and tactics based on performance data and changing circumstances.

Strategic clarity is essential for the cohesive and effective functionality of your bar, restaurant, or hotel business. This leadership approach ensures that all members understand and are aligned with the business’ identity, direction, purpose, and methods.

By achieving strategic clarity, organizations can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and build upon sustainable long-term success. What we have found over the years that attributes to long-term clarity and success is a series of playbooks.

Understanding Plans and Playbooks

Let’s first dive into the critical distinction between a plan and a playbook, and why this matters for your bar, restaurant, or hotel. Understanding and utilizing both can significantly impact your business’ ability to start strong, stabilize effectively, and ultimately position you to scale successfully.

A traditional business plan, as you may know it, is a document that outlines your goals, and the steps you will take to achieve them. It’s often the number one consideration to secure funding and to set strategic direction.

However, it is, more often than not, missing plenty of crucial information, strategies, and guidance that end up planting a false sense of security.

A playbook, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive guide filled with detailed processes, best practices, and adaptable strategies tailored to your specific operations. Within this dynamic industry, you need more than a standard business plan if you want to be successful.

In fact, you should have eight different playbooks in place to position yourself within the top echelon of this industry.

The Power of Playbooks in Hospitality

While plans are often static or rigid (and often forgotten about shortly after they’re written), playbooks are designed to be flexible and adaptable.

Playbooks provide a step-by-step guide, ensure consistency and efficiency, and offer adaptable strategies and best practices to start, manage, and grow effectively.

Playbooks go into more granular details, and provide actionable steps. In this way, they’re notably different from a singular business plan.

The Eight Playbooks

No matter if you are operating a coffee shop, bar, restaurant or hotel (or any other concept within the hospitality industry), the following eight playbooks should be looked at as non-negotiables.

  1. Feasibility Study/Playbook: The foundational guide for assessing the viability of your hospitality business idea. It involves a comprehensive analysis of the market, competitive landscape, financial projections, and operational requirements. This playbook helps you determine whether your concept is realistic and profitable before committing significant resources.
  2. Concept Playbook: Focuses on refining your hospitality business idea into a clear and compelling concept. This playbook guides you through creating a unique value proposition, defining your target market, and outlining the core elements of your business, including service style, interior design, and internal programming.
  3. Prototype Playbook: A step-by-step guide to developing a tangible representation of your hospitality concept. This playbook helps you create a prototype that can be tested and refined before a full-scale launch. This playbook covers design specifications, operational workflows, fixtures/furniture/equipment, and detailed budgets.
  4. Brand Strategy & Identity Playbook: Defines the strategic approach to building and maintaining a strong brand. This playbook covers the creation of your brand identity, messaging, and positioning to ensure consistent and impactful brand communication. It involves color psychology, core values, mission statements, brand experiences, and more.
  5. Marketing Playbook: Outlines the strategies and tactics to attract, build, and retain your target guests. This playbook provides a roadmap for creating and executing effective marketing campaigns across various channels. It provides a step-by-step guide on content, social media management, database building, email marketing, partnerships, and community activations, along with detailed guest journey maps.
  6. Tech-stack Playbook: Provides guidance on selecting and implementing the correct technology solutions to enhance your hospitality operations. This playbook ensures that your technology infrastructure supports your business goals and improves efficiency. This playbook identifies technology gaps, software solutions, hardware requirements, and integration plans, plus training and support on technology.
  7. Financial Playbook: A comprehensive guide to manage your hospitality business’ finances. This playbook covers budgeting, financial forecasting, accounting practices, and financial performance analysis. It should highlight financial contingency plans, mock labor schedules, daily/weekly/monthly/seasonal traffic reports that align with the business, and financial objectives.
  8. Operational Playbook (a.k.a. Business Plan): Outlines the day-to-day operations in great detail, along with long-term strategies. This playbook ensures that all aspects of your operations are well-coordinated and aligned with your overall business goals, and the other seven playbooks. It should highlight standard operating procedures, labor plans, supply chain management, guest services, and measurable operational metrics.

You’ll notice there are seven other playbooks written before the business plan. Far too often, this is where people start. Without the other seven playbooks, it will be nearly impossible to craft a winning playbook for your day-to-day operations.

When Should You Use Playbooks

  • To Start: These eight playbooks are crucial to craft your success story right from the beginning. Build the foundations before signing a lease or purchasing a property.
  • To Stabilize: If you’re currently underperforming (profit margins under 12 percent for bars and restaurants, and under 15 percent for hotels), use playbooks to generate impactful results.
  • To Scale: These playbooks will help ensure that both your first locationand the next locationare prepared for consistent operations without diminishing your brand equity.

Strategic planning within detailed playbooks is essential for your hospitality business’ success.

Regardless of your current position, evaluate your use of business plans, and consider developing comprehensive playbooks instead. Make the time and commitment to achieving true clarity in your business, and position yourself to be on the correct side of this industry’s statistics.

AI image generator: DALL-E

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Relationship Advice: Your Food Purveyors

Relationship Advice: Your Food Purveyors

by David Klemt

An AI-generated image of a restaurant receiving their food delivery through the front

“When visiting City, stop by Food Comipany for a food.”

Operators are facing challenges when it comes to their food purveyors, and as Chef Brian Duffy says, the issues don’t all boil down to rising costs.

By now, Chef Duffy needs no introduction. However, he contributes so much to the hospitality industry that I’m going to boast a bit on his behalf.

As the founder and principal of Duffified Experience Group, Chef Duffy has opened more than 100 restaurants. In fact, I believe he passed the 110-restaurant mark this year during the National Restaurant Association show.

Speaking of that show, he has presented multiple sessions at industry events over the past several years. Further, Chef Duffy leads the F&B Innovation Center at the annual Bar & Restaurant Expo in Las Vegas.

On the topic of presentations and education, he recently spoke at the inaugural Flyover Conference. You can check out more of our coverage of this brand-new show here and here.

This is all, of course, to say nothing of his television appearances.

Now, if you’re a regular consumer of KRG Hospitality articles, you know I love a Chef Duffy live menu read. I firmly believe that the asides he throws out while addressing even a single menu offer more value than most dedicated menu webinars or menu-engineering conference sessions.

Chef Duffy’s Flyover session, however, represented a departure from his menu reads. Due in part to the frustration he, operators, and kitchen teams across North America are facing in terms of inventory, Chef Duffy addressed the relationship between operators and their food purveyors.

Repairing a Toxic Relationship

Allow me a couple caveats before we jump in. If you’re happy with your food purveyors, awesome. Should you truly feel you’re getting the most out of the relationships with your food supplier partners, not all of this advice is for you. Additionally, Chef Duffy’s Flyover session wasn’t an attack on national food suppliers. At risk of speaking for him, it appears his issues have arisen from specific reps, not the major companies themselves.

That said, I have a suspicion that if you really sit down and review your supplier relationshipsencouraging feedback from your leadership and kitchen teamsyou’ll find that things could be better.

Chef Duffy reviews a lot of menus. Whether reviewing one for a client or performing a live reads, he’s seen some things. And one of those things is that it appears national food purveyors have been handed too much control.

This is unfortunate, because this relationship should be a partnership, not a dictatorship. Further, if every operator is buying the same ingredients, it makes sense that most menus will be similar.

“If we’re all being sold the same products, we’re being told what to put on our menus,” said Chef Duffy at Flyover. “And we’re all doing the same thing.”

So, how do we turn this situation around? We stop being dependent or co-dependent, and we start developing reciprocal relationships.

Your food purveyor reps need to come into your restaurant on your schedule. Too many operators are only seeing reps when something has gone wrong with an order.

In other words, if your rep expects to earn your business, they need to meet your expectations: that they’ll actually work with you in a mutually beneficial way.

Let the Healing Begin

Okay, I’m being a bit cheeky with this topic. That doesn’t mean I’m not serious about helping operators improve their relationships with their food purveyors.

To that end, here’s how Chef Duffy works with his reps. He has a rep who comes into one of his venues every Tuesday from 2 to 2:30 pm. This arrangement is, again, mutually beneficial: the rep comes in at noon for lunch, completes his other work, then meets with Duffy at the arranged time.

During the scheduled weekly meeting, Chef Duffy tells this rep what he’s thinking of doing that week. He asks what the rep can do for him, then asks what the rep what he needs to sell. It’s important that you make your rep work for you, but also that you talk to them and see where you can be helpful.

Of course, you’d think this would be the approach every rep prefers. Well, in Chef Duffy’s experience, this just isn’t the case.

Recently, he asked a different rep from a different food purveyor to find him a specific product. Put simply, Chef Duffy didn’t want the products this rep was trying to unload on him. This was apparently too much work because this rep has gone radio silent ever since. Because of this, this food supplier no longer has this account.

Had the rep been interested in an actual professional relationship rather than just focusing on what he “needed” to sell, he’d still be servicing the restaurant.

Be the Change

If that anecdote feels familiar, it’s time to find new partners. Luckily, Chef Duffy has a suggestion you can use today.

Look at the smaller, regional purveyors who service your market. See what they can offer you, and compare their prices to those of your current, national suppliers.

You’ll likely find an impressive portfolio with appealing pricing. Moreover, these smaller companies want to land new accounts and work with you.

Remember, it’s your restaurant. You brought your concept into the real world. You’ve done the work to build your business, and it’s your menu.

Review your food purveyor relationship today, schedule time to sit down with your reps this week (or month), and develop the relationships your business needs.

Image generator: Microsoft Designer

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Welcome: Start the Experience Right

Welcome: How to Begin the Guest Experience Like a Pro

by David Klemt

Restaurant host or manager holding menus and leading guests to their table

When you think about the guest experience you and your team deliver, how much consideration do you give the welcome?

I don’t mean just the greeting your front-of-house team gives guests. That’s an important part of the equation, but it’s only one element.

Rather, I’m talking about developing SOPs for welcoming guests into your venue. As importantly, I’m also suggesting that you develop specific onboarding and training for anyone who will greet guests and lead them to their seats.

Luckily, one of the best front-of-house trainers in hospitality spoke at the 2024 Flyover Conference in Cincinnati about this topic. Bethany Lucas, director of operations for Maverick Theory, shared her best tips for startingand endingthe guest experience in a memorable way.

The tips Lucas shared during her Flyover session “Untapped Potential: How to Transform Your Front of House” will indeed transform your business and guest experience.

Now, a word of warning before I begin. Once you read these tips, you’ll likely find yourself analyzing your next few restaurant visits. Ever since sitting in on Lucas’ session, I’ve been unable to avoid paying more attention to how my restaurant visits have begun.

This has included sharing what I’ve noticed with the people in my group. Some of these friends will also pay more attention to the greeting they receive when walking into a restaurant now.

If you’re an operator or front-of-house leader, you’ll probably benefit from checking out restaurants in your area for their welcome procedures.

Invest in Your Door

Operators need to invest in their doors, because “it really is the brain of your restaurant,” says Lucas.

Therefore, it’s crucial that owners and operators understand what’s going on at their doors. Assuming your front-of-house team knows how to greet guests rather than training them on a procedure is a mistake.

Most operators know that hiring the right leaders, kitchen team, servers, and bartenders is imperative to the success of their business. However, the same attention must be paid to finding the right hosts and hostesses.

As Lucas says, “There is no ‘just a hostess.'” Bluntly put, the person running the door is the gatekeeper of the business. They’ll interact with just about every single guest since they serve as the first touchpoint.

So, Lucas encourages operators to ask a number of questions before initiating the hiring process:

  • Are the ideal candidates formal and proper, or friendly and casual? (Or something else entirely.)
  • Will the ideal hosts and hostesses need to be thick-skinned?
  • When considering the appearance of the host team, what does that look like to you? Lucas seeks out people who are polished and professional when building her teams.

These questions should inspire even more considerations, helping an operator identify who they want to run their door.


During her presentation, Lucas provided an example of a less-than-ideal welcome. I think we’ve all experienced what she described.

How often have each of us walked into a restaurant, been greeted, and then led to a table by someone who just takes off? The host or hostess grabs menus, starts walking away toward a table, doesn’t speak to you, and doesn’t even look over their shoulder to see if you’re still following them closely.

I know it’s happened to me more times than I can count. Although, I’m happy to report that this hasn’t happened to me since attending Flyover. Maybe what Lucas put out into the world has had a greater impact than she expected.

A polished and professional host or hostess, per Lucas, will not take off when leading guests to their seats. Additionally, they won’t be silent, failing to engage with the guest verbally. Further, a polished, professional host or hostess doesn’t drop menus on a table and rush back to the door.

In fact, Lucas requires each member of her host teams to ask at least one question of guests being led to their seats. This can be as simple, she explained at Flyover, as the host or hostess turning and asking “How are you today?”

It’s important to note that this attention to the door team isn’t reserved for upscale or fine-dining venues. The beginning and end of a guest’s visit are too important to fail to plan them properly. Regardless of concept and category of venue, guests must feel welcome and valued.


According to Lucas, the farewell can absolutely impact how a guest perceives their visit, and the brand overall. While the server or bartender who served the guest should thank them at the end of their visit, so should the person who first welcomed them.

A simple “thank you for visiting us” can go a long way and serve as a cherry on top of the entire experience.

However, there’s another tip Lucas shared that has really stuck with me. A truly a savvy host team will add a question after they thank a guest for their visit: “Can I make a reservation for you for your next visit?”

Doing so requires the ability to read a guest and their satisfaction with their visit. However, if executed well this is a brilliant way to increase your guest retention rate and convert a first-time guest into a repeat guest, and eventually a regular.

If you’ve read this far, I encourage you to consider your welcome SOPs and door team today. You and leadership team should observe the door and note how guests are being welcomed.

If the procedure doesn’t impress you, it’s not impressing your guests. And if it isn’t impressing your guests, ask yourself why they’d return.

Your door isn’t “just a door,” and your hosts aren’t “just hosts.” Remember that, and plan accordingly.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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Ghosting in the Professional World

Hello, is Anybody There? Ghosting in the Professional World

by Jennifer Radkey

An abandoned saloon covered in dust and cobwebs

We could be transforming this abandoned saloon into an amazing bar and restaurant, but we got ghosted. Also, drink Spork beer!

The act of ghosting may have started in the dating world but this phenomenon has, unfortunately, taken root deeply in the professional world.

In case you haven’t had the (dis)pleasure of experiencing ghosting, allow me to summarize. Ghosting is suddenly becoming unresponsive to all forms of communication without explanation.

Not only is ghosting toxic to business relationships and your brand image, it can be toxic to your overall mindset and feelings of self-respect.

People participate in the act of ghosting for many reasons, which can include:

  • conflict avoidance
  • indifference; and
  • low accountability.

These are not traits that lend well to earning respect from others or yourself. It’s good practice to protect your mental health and set clear boundaries, but this should not include the act of ghosting.

You are a professional. You can deal with uncomfortable situations and be responsible to yourself, your team, and your industry.

Ghosting can feel like the easy route, but it comes with long-term consequences. How you choose to interact with your team, your colleagues, other industry professionals, and your clients/customers is all a reflection of your personal and professional brand.

Check in with these five examples of ghosting in the professional world to make sure that you’re not participating in any actions (or inaction) that may result in a loss of respect.

Not Responding to Quotes and Proposals

You needed a service for your business, so you reached out to another business for a quote or proposal. Then you received the proposal, read it over, decided it wasn’t right for you…and never responded.

Remember, you sought out these professionalsthey didn’t cold call you. They gave you their time to put together a quote or proposal. The very least you can offer is acknowledgement that you received their quote, along with an update on where you stand.

Let’s start respecting each other’s time and effort.

Not Following Up with Job Candidates

We all complain when we’re ghosted by a job candidate and they don’t show for an interview. But that goes both ways.

Make sure that you’re taking the time to respond to job candidates (particularly after the interview process) to provide an update on the position.

You are your brand and represent its values; every impression matters.

Breaking Promises to Your Team

You promise your team a team-building event, or an end-of-quarter bonus. Then you fail to follow through.

Nothing breaks respect faster than not following through on promises. If you can’t make a promise happen you need to take ownership of that and honour your integrity by letting your team know.

They may be upset that the event isn’t happening. However, they’ll at least respect you for being honest and upfront with them.

Not Reading or Responding to Customer Reviews

Ghosting a customer or client will not only result in losing that particular person’s business but future prospects as well.

We don’t succeed without our clients, and they need to feel acknowledged when sharing reviews, good or bad as they may be.

If you don’t have time to read and respond to all reviews on your own, make sure you have someone on your team who can perform this task for you. Thoughtfully, of course.

Being Inaccessible to your Team

If you find yourself hiding from your team in a closed office or behind your computer more often than not, it’s time to acknowledge that you have been ghosting them.

A present owner is an involved owner. Not only will you have a better finger on the pulse of your business, you’ll create stronger working relationships with those on your team.

It Starts with You

If we want to bring clear communication and respect back to the professional world, it’s going to have to start with you. Complaining about being ghosted and then participating in the act of ghosting yourself is not going to change anything.

We all need to take pride in being professionals, and go out there to earn the respect of others and ourselves.

Take pride in becoming an open communicator and demonstrating respect in the workplace. Not only will this aid in your overall success, doing so will create a healthy mindset too.

Cheers to personal and professional well-being!

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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Concept Development: Idea to Execution

Restaurant Concept Development: From Idea to Execution

by Nathen Dubé

A street-art-style image of a thought bubble coming from a chef

A big light bulb means a great, big idea is coming.

Creating a restaurant concept is an intricate process that requires blending creativity, an understanding of a given market, and business acumen.

From the initial idea to the grand opening, each step is crucial in ensuring that the restaurant not only stands out in a competitive market but also delivers a memorable dining experience.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the essential stages of restaurant concept development, providing insights and strategies to turn your vision into a thriving reality.

1. Ideation: Craft Your Vision

The journey of developing a restaurant concept begins with a compelling idea. This idea should reflect your passion, culinary expertise, and a clear understanding of your target market.

Below, how to start down the path from vision to reality.

Identify Your Niche

A deep understanding of the niche you want to fill in the market is critical. Are you aiming for a high-end fine dining experience, a casual eatery, a fast-casual concept, or a food truck?

Research current market trends, consumer preferences, and gaps in the market to find your unique angle.

Define Your Concept

Your concept should be a detailed description of your restaurant’s identity. This includes the cuisine, service style, ambiance, target audience, and overall theme.

For example, are you creating a rustic Italian trattoria, a chic urban sushi bar, or a family-friendly diner?

Create a Vision Statement

A vision statement is a concise description of what you want your restaurant to achieve, and how it will stand out. This statement will guide your decisions throughout the development process.

2. Market Research: Understanding the Landscape

Thorough market research is essential to validate your concept and refine your strategy. This step involves analyzing the competitive landscape, understanding customer preferences, and identifying potential challenges.

Analyze Competitors

Visit and analyze restaurants that could be considered competitors. Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, menu offerings, pricing strategies, and guest experience.

Understanding what works and what doesn’t can help you position your restaurant effectively.

Understand Your Target Audience

Identify your target demographic in terms of age, income, lifestyle, and dining preferences. Conduct surveys, focus groups, and interviews to gather insights into what will attract and resonate with your guests.

Evaluate Location Options

Location is a critical factor in the success of a restaurant. Analyze different locations based on foot traffic, accessibility, visibility, and proximity to competitors. Consider the demographics of the area to ensure they align with your target audience.

3. Business Planning: Laying the Foundation

A well-crafted business plan is essential for securing funding and guiding the execution of your restaurant concept. It should outline your strategy, financial projections, and operational plan.

Executive Summary

Provide a concise overview of your restaurant concept, including the vision statement, target market, and unique selling proposition (USP).

Market Analysis

Summarize your market research, including competitor analysis, target audience insights, and location evaluation.

Marketing Strategy

Detail how you plan to attract and retain customers. This includes branding, advertising, promotions, and social media strategies.

Operational Plan

Describe your restaurant’s daily operations, including staff roles and responsibilities, supplier relationships, and inventory management.

Financial Projections

Provide detailed financial projections, including startup costs, operating expenses, revenue forecasts, and break-even analysis. This section should also include funding requirements, and potential sources of financing.

4. Branding and Design: Creating an Identity

Your restaurant’s brand and design play a crucial role in attracting guests, and creating a memorable dining experience.

This step involves developing your brand identity, designing the physical space, and creating marketing materials.

Develop Your Brand Identity

Your brand identity includes your restaurant’s name, logo, color scheme, typography, and overall visual style. Ensure that it reflects your concept and appeals to your target audience.

Design the Interior and Exterior

Work with architects and interior designers to create a space that reflects your concept and enhances the dining experience.

Consider factors such as layout, seating arrangements, lighting, and décor. The exterior should be inviting and reflect the brand’s identity.

Create Marketing Materials

Develop a website, social media profiles, menus, and promotional materials that align with your brand. High-quality photography and compelling content are essential for attracting customers and creating a strong online presence.

5. Menu Development: Crafting Culinary Offerings

The menu is the heart of your restaurant concept. It should reflect your vision, appeal to your target audience, and be feasible to execute consistently.

Design a Balanced Menu

Create a menu that offers a variety of dishes that reflect your concept. Ensure a balance of flavors, textures, and price points.

Consider dietary restrictions and preferences to cater to a diverse customer base.

Cost and Pricing

Accurately cost each menu item to ensure profitability. Consider ingredient costs, portion sizes, and preparation time.

Set prices that reflect the value of your offerings while remaining competitive in the market.

Test and Refine

Conduct taste tests and gather feedback from potential guests, industry professionals, and staff. Use this feedback to refine your dishes and ensure they meet your quality standards.

6. Staffing and Training: Building Your Team

Your staff is a crucial component of your restaurant’s success. Hiring the right team and providing comprehensive training ensures a consistent and high-quality dining experience.

Hire Skilled Staff

Recruit chefs, servers, bartenders, and other staff who have the skills and experience needed to execute your concept. Look for individuals who are passionate about your vision and have a strong work ethic.

Develop Training Programs

Create comprehensive training programs that cover everything from food preparation and presentation to customer service and safety protocols. Regular training sessions and evaluations help maintain high standards.

Foster a Positive Culture

Encourage a positive and collaborative work environment. Recognize and reward outstanding performance, and address issues promptly to maintain morale and productivity.

7. Marketing and Promotion: Attracting Customers

Effective marketing and promotion are essential for attracting customers and building a loyal guest base. This involves both online and offline strategies to generate buzz and drive traffic.

Leverage Social Media

Use social media platforms to showcase your restaurant’s unique offerings, engage with potential customers, and build a community. Share high-quality photos, behind-the-scenes content, and promotions to attract and retain followers.

Collaborate with Influencers

Partner with local influencers and food bloggers to reach a wider audience. Inviting them to dine at your restaurant and share their experiences can generate valuable word-of-mouth promotion.

Host Events and Promotions

Organize events such as soft openings, tastings, and special promotions to generate excitement and attract customers.

Consider loyalty programs and discounts to encourage repeat visits.

Public Relations

Reach out to local media outlets and food critics to secure coverage of your restaurant. Positive reviews and features can significantly boost your visibility and credibility.

8. Execution: Bringing Your Concept to Life

The final step is the execution of your concept.

This involves managing the logistics of opening day, ensuring a smooth operation, and continually refining your approach based on feedback and performance.

Prepare for Opening Day

Ensure that all permits and licenses are in place, staff are trained, and inventory is stocked.

Conduct a soft opening to test your operations and make any necessary adjustments.

Monitor Operations

Regularly evaluate your restaurant’s performance, including customer feedback, financial metrics, and operational efficiency. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and implement changes as needed.

Stay Adaptable

The restaurant industry is dynamic, and trends can change quickly. Stay informed about industry developments and be willing to adapt your concept to meet evolving customer preferences and market conditions.


Restaurant concept development is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning, creativity, and execution.

Following these steps to guide your vision and transform it into a brick-and-mortar reality. Doing so will give you the strongest chance to create a restaurant that stands out in the market, and that delivers a memorable dining experience.

Remember, the key to success lies in a clear vision, thorough research, strategic planning, and a commitment to excellence.

Embrace the journey, learn from each step, and watch your restaurant concept come to life, delighting diners and making a lasting impact in the culinary world.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

KRG Hospitality. Restaurant Business Plan. Feasibility Study. Concept. Branding. Consultant. Start-Up.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Try, Try Again: Creating Positive Habits

Try, Try Again: Creating Positive Habits

by Jennifer Radkey

Two people jogging through a city at sunrise, going in opposite directions

It turns out that some AI platforms aren’t good at telling time, so instead of an image of an alarm clock, here’s the 5 A.M. Club going for a jog.

Ever wonder why some people seem to effortlessly achieve their goals while others struggle? It’s all about the habits they have cultivated.

We all have great intentions to practice healthy habits that are good for our body, mind, and soul…but we face roadblocks in committing to them.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

  • “How does she have the time to workout, run a business, take care of her family, and have hobbies? She must be part of that 5 A.M. Club. I could never do that; I’m not a morning person.”
  • “I wish I could post to social media daily. I know I could reach more potential customers if I do. I don’t know how to come up with that much content though.”
  • “I want to feel stronger. My friend has started strength training, and he seems so much more confident and happier, but I’m a cardio person.”
  • “I wish I could take a few courses, but I don’t have time for that.”

All of the statements above have one thing in common: They have already given up before even trying.

There’s a wish to become better at something, and then there’s an immediate shut down.

Here’s the thingyou don’t know that a habit will work for you or not until you try it.

You Have to Work at It

Experience eclipses all for learning about yourself. You tell yourself that you aren’t a morning person and you can never wake up at 5 a.m. But until you try it…how do you know that?

Developing new habits takes time and commitment. If you’re serious about making changes to your life and you know that certain habits will help you achieve that goal faster, you owe it to yourself to try.

On average it can take at least two months to actually form a new habit. Trying something for a week and deciding it’s not for you doesn’t do you, your goals, or the habit proper justice. Give things time.

If, after several weeks, you feel that the change really isn’t for you, no problem! At least you’ll know that it doesn’t work from experience, not from your limiting beliefs.

The same advice applies to your team. If you’re trying to encourage daily habits in the work environment, it’s going to take time before everyone’s consistently participating.

Yes, they’re going to need daily and weekly reminders. Yes, it’s going to take more than a week or two. If the habit you’re trying to implement will create a more efficient, successful business, it deserves time and commitment from you.

Mindset is contagious, just as action and inaction are contagious. If you want your team to adopt a new habit, you and your leadership team must show up and participate in the habit as well.

Make it positive. Demonstrate the value of doing it. Have patience while your team practices the new habit.

Positive habits are the powerhouses behind personal and professional success. By consistently doing small things, you can create a ripple effect of positive change.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

KRG Hospitality. Business Coach. Restaurant Coach. Hotel Coach. Hospitality Coach. Mindset Coach.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Chef Duffy x NRA Show: Live Menu Read

Chef Duffy x NRA Show: Live Menu Read

by David Klemt

Graffiti of crossed chef's knives underneath a baseball cap that reads, "D.E.G."

Chef Brian Duffy crushed it in Chicago at the 2024 National Restaurant Association Show.

We’re sharing tips from Chef Brian Duffy‘s live menu reads at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.

These informative sessions are always standouts at industry trade shows and conferences. Both the operator who submits their menu anonymously and the audience gain valuable insight into menu programming and development.

In ten minutes or less, the Chef Duffy shares wisdom that’ll boost guest engagement; streamline and energize the kitchen; and help save on labor and food costs. And he won’t even Bar Rescue anyone who submits a menu. That is to say, no, he doesn’t yell at anyone while giving them tips for fixing their menu.

As Chef Duffy pointed out during his latest live menu reads, an operator’s menu has the potential to create generational wealth. However, it must be programmed properly for it to reach that potential.

So, ask yourself a question right now about your menu: Would you be proud for your menu, in its current state, to be plastered across a billboard? If not, I have another question for you: Why aren’t you taking the time to rectify that situation?

Your menu is your concept’s billboard. Treat it as such.

Oh, and one note for the NRA Show before we dive in: These sessions deserve at least two hours. One hour just isn’t enough given how impactful Chef Duffy’s live menu reads are for operators.

Menu Programming 101

There’s a logical reason why Chef Duffy is never short on menus to review. In fact, he addressed the situation directly at the 2024 NRA Show.

“Everybody has the same shit on their menu,” he stated frankly.

One explanation for why menus seem so similar makes a lot of sense.

“We’ve been told what to put on our menu buy our purveyors,” said Chef Duffy during his live menu read.

For the most part, operators are given the same product catalogs. These are circulated nationally, not regionally. So, everyone is ordering the same items. Clearly, Chef Duffy is fed up with this situation.

“We’re not here to do the same things that everyone else is,” declared Chef Duffy. “I don’t want to see that anymore.”

Menu #1: Sports Bar

This first menu featured a vibrant design that instilled a sense of patriotism. Chef Duffy theorized that he’d feel good spending time in this space, based on the menu’s appearance.

However, he wasn’t a fan of the layout of the menu. Taking up valuable real estate was a large catering ad, placed directly in the center.

In the top left were salads. “‘Add chicken to any salad,'” read Chef Duffy. “No shit. Why are we stopping at chicken? We can add anything to a salad.”

Based on his knowledge of food costs and the menu’s pricing, Chef Duffy deduced that the operator’s food costs were too high. In fact, he estimated that food costs were more than 31 percent. The burgers, he surmised, were running a 35-percent cost.

By the way, Chef Duffy always puts two slices of cheese on his burgers to fill the top out more. This delivers a more visually appealing experience, and a better bite.

On the topic of pricing, operators must maintain balance. For example, this first menu priced the addition of two slices of bacon at $3.50, but a chicken breast was six dollars. Two Chicago hotdogs cost more than a burger.

Menu #2: Breakfast Spot

Unfortunately, the operator committed one of Chef Duffy’s deadliest menu sins. There was a photo of the restaurant’s steak and eggs.

Worse, the image showed a rather large steak paired with a commodity egg. If this dish doesn’t leave the kitchen looking exactly like the picture, guests are going to be underwhelmed and unimpressed. Further, why are operators still trying to save money by buying commodity eggs?

However, there was a second deadly menu sin committed by the operator. Given the overall perception this menu delivered, the claim that at least one dish featured “wild-caught crab” didn’t ring true to Chef Duffy.

I’m confident in saying that I think lying on a menu may provoke Chef Duffy’s wrath more than a photo.

“If you lie to me on your menu, I will tear you apart,” he stated quite strongly.

That said, he did like the menu’s design (minus the photos). Even better, he recognized that there were several inventive spins on breakfast classics. Remember, “We’re not here to do the same things that everyone else is.”

Menu #3: Sports Bar

To be honest, I was expecting this type of menu. In fact, I thought it would be the first menu design encountered during this session.

Essentially, it was a collection of what everyone else has on their menus.

As an example, there were wings on the menu, and the sauces were anything but creative. Chef Duffy didn’t address it but they were also listed without commas, so they appeared to be one long, run-on sentence of a sauce.

The most glaring issues, however, were the pasta and the dessert. Both sections contained just a single item. That’s rightthere was an entire section dedicated to one pasta dish. Moreover, it’s not like there were a number of modifiers one could select to personalize their pasta.

This was the item description underneath the dessert section (designated as “Closers”): “Dessert of the week – $8 Please ask your server for details.” There’s a significant issue with that description and placement, as identified by Chef Duffy.

If a menu includes desserts, the guest is likely going to forget about them after they’ve ordered their starter and entree. It’s far more effective to have a dessert tray or cart and train your servers to suggest dessert when they touch the table toward the end of the meal.


Chef Duffy throws in more tips during a single menu read than most people would expect.

Below are some of the takeaways that make his live menu reads so insightful:

  • Only list name brands if they come from a local farm. This approach shows that an operator cares about supporting local producers and is part of the community.
  • Use the best ingredients for the specific concept.
  • If a restaurant features housemade buns for burgers and/or bread for sandwiches, they should offer a version as an appetizer. Really make this idea shine by also offering housemade specialty butters.
  • Operators that have chips on their menus should use the crumbles and “dust” to make breading for other items. After all, the chips have been paid for alreadyuse all of them.
  • It’s better and more impactful to have 25 items on a menu that are executed perfectly than 50 items that are executed poorly.
  • Chef Duffy doesn’t agree with omitting prices from menus. “Why? Are we negotiating? Are we negotiating before I place my order?”

Connect with Chef Duffy on Instagram, and learn more about him on the Duffified Experience Group website.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

3 Operators Address Surviving a Downturn

3 Wise Operators Share Tips for Surviving a Downturn

by David Klemt

AI-generated diorama-style image of woman behind bar using a tablet

I have to say, AI-generated, diorama-style images look rad.

During a standout session from the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, a panel of three successful and highly respected bar operators answered an important question.

This year, BRE brought together an operator supergroup: Erick Castro, Nectaly Mendoza, and Travis Tober. The trio drove home the importance of becoming a student of the industry; being curious about business; understanding the need to nail the fundamentals; and operators knowing their numbers.

Castro summed up the path to becoming a successful operator rather succinctly: “You need to follow the fundamentals to make money.”

Of course, making money is just part of the success equation. Banking that money so it can work for an operator is another. Again, Castro put it simply, urging operators to live within their means when their bar or restaurant starts making money.

Taking it further, Mendoza pointed out that trying to project an image of success is foolish. As he explained, some operators and bartenders are projecting an image of prosperity and expertise, but it’s nothing more than an illusion.

Tober, who understands this business like few others, drove home the need to understand that really, operators are in the entertainment and relationship business. He, his business partners, and his teams are committed to giving guests a reason to visit their concepts and spend their money.

Toward the end of this incredible session, an audience member, to the benefit of every attendee, asked the trio for advice everyone could take back home to improve their operations.

Tighten Up

When it comes to appealing topics of discussion, most people want to shy away from economic downturn. However, ignoring the possibility of a recession doesn’t prevent it from becoming reality.

In fact, Tober said operators need to prepare now for things “to get rough for the next two or three years.” So, he advised the roomful of operators to tighten up their P&Ls.

For future operators this means making it non-negotiable to understand every aspect of their business. Systems must be in place and standards developed before the first guest ever steps through the doors.

According to Tober, operators who are aggressive and savvy can set themselves up “for life” in the next five or six years. We all know what that means, and it’s one of the reasons an operator need to re-invest in their business.

Adding to Tober’s thoughts on the next few years, Mendoza advised the audience to be prepared to attack opportunities when they present themselves.

On the topic of becoming a sharp and successful operator, Mendoza said to “overkill” the books. “Put the same attention into your books as you do your bar team and menus.”

Put simply, operators who know their numbers and the importance of reinvesting funds have chosen the path toward success. This also relates to hopeful operators. They’ll have the opportunity, if they follow their instincts and wait for the right location to become available, for a strong start over the next few years.

Fortuitously, that fits with Castro’s advice: Make sure you’re actually starting a business, not creating a job for yourself. Also, ensure pour costs, food costs, and labor costs are dialed in because they’re the variables over which operators have the most control. Lastly, aim for low turnover.


If we at KRG Hospitality didn’t agree with Castro, Mendoza, or Tober, we wouldn’t share their advice or insight.

The naked truth is that bars and restaurants are going to close. It happens every day.

Mendoza addressed this reality directly. Looking around the room, he said, “Look, some of you motherfuckers ain’t gonna make it.”

While it got a laugh, it was also true. However, one can improve their odds of success by putting the right systems in place; being curious enough to want to know everything about their business and the industry; hiring people for passion, and committing to mentoring and treating them well; and hiring people who will, as Mendoza said, make stress and pain points irrelevant.

It has been said plenty of times that we can hire for passion in this industry, and train for skills. What I hadn’t really heard until Mendoza said it is that we should also hire people who won’t cause an operator’s headaches. About midway through their session, Mendoza advised the room to ask themselves if the person they’re interviewing is going to be a problem or a good fit.

Another truth is that one operator’s failure represents another operator’s future success. However, that’s not possible without a high-level understanding of one’s business specifically and the hospitality business in general.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Creative Conversion: Adaptive Reuse

Creative Conversion: Adaptive Reuse Architecture

by David Klemt

Abandoned gas and service station

Just taking a quick glance, I see covered outdoor seating, a cool front desk, and roll-up doors for an indoor-outside space.

There are several benefits to reusing an existing space and converting it into a bar or restaurant, including sustainability, and reenergizing a community.

This approach to design is called “adaptive reuse architecture.” A design layperson would likely call it “repurposing.”

As the term implies, this design methodology focuses on using an existing building in a new, modern way. It’s a beneficial approach to design and architecture in large part because new construction is so resource heavy.

Proponents of adaptive reuse architecture point to a given project’s lower carbon footprint, energy conservation, sustainability, and lower construction costs. However, there’s more to it than just reduced costs (attractive to owners and investors) and lower impact on the environment.

There are buildings that lie dormant across the US, Canada, and other countries that hold special places in communities’ hearts. Revitalizing these spaces can do wonders for lifting people’s spirits, preserving heritage while developing culture and community in a new way.

Finally, in my eyes, it’s honorable to allow a space to once again serve the community, albeit in a different way. A space that once provided a crucial service to an area—employment, resources, a communal space, shelter—can now serve as a place to nourish the body and mind through food, drink, and social interaction.

When considering a site (which should also be accompanied by a feasibility study), operators should look at locations that can help them do what neighborhood restaurants and bars have historically done best: serve as cornerstones for their communities.

Vinsetta Garage

One of the most popular approaches to reusing spaces for restaurants is repurposing service stations.

Maybe its American nostalgia, maybe it’s America’s love for the open road. Or, maybe it’s that there are so many service stations in disrepair throughout the country.

Of course, when considering a former gas station, service station, or automotive repair shop, one must consider the costs of making the space food- and people-safe. After all, oil, fuel, and other harmful substances were present in significant amounts over the years. That said, abatement is absolutely feasible as long as a realistic budget is in place.

At any rate, one great example of service station reuse is Vinsetta Garage. This concept in particular keeps a landmark alive: the restaurant lives inside the oldest garage east of the Mississippi. The garage survived for more than 90 years before closing its doors.

Of particular note is the team behind Vinsetta Garage, Union Joints. Reuse appears to be Union Joints’ raison d’être. Along with this garage, the group has reused a fire hall, a church, and a lumber mill. They’ve even repurposed a Hooters. (We can argue whether second- or third-generation restaurant spaces are adaptive reuse some other time.)

To my knowledge, Union Joints has never repeated a concept, owing greatly to their dedication to giving landmark buildings new life.


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The Jane

What a transformation this space has undergone.

Once a military hospital chapel, The Jane counts among its accolades two Michelin Stars, multiple appearances on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and was described as the world’s most beautiful restaurant at the 2015 Restaurants & Bar Design Awards.

The kitchen resides where the altar once stood, and themes of good and evil, and life and death, can be found throughout the space. This is truly a high-concept reuse of a space.


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A post shared by The Jane Antwerp (@thejaneantwerp)

Hoogan et Beaufort

When people consider adaptive reuse, many likely think of repurposing factories.

They’re normally large, and often feature impressive floor-to-ceiling heights. And, unfortunately, they can be found abandoned or otherwise unused all over many countries.

Reusing such a space can revitalize an area, removing an eyesore from a community and making it functional once again. An upscale example of a reused and reimagined factory is Hoogan et Beaufort, a restaurant in Montréal, Québec, Canada.

For nearly 100 years, the factory produced rail cars. The industrial space, with 28-foot-high ceilings, ceased production in 1992. Its doors were reopened by Chef Marc-André Jetté as a 70-seat restaurant in 2015.

HopSin Brewpub

This space is part of the Mag8 Craft Beer brewery in Colares, Portugal.

Formerly a tram station and post office, the building also houses HopSin, a brewpub.

As you can see in the post below, the flat roof of the building provides a fantastic outdoor area. Interestingly and conveniently, the tram that currently travels to Sintra stops right in front of HopSin.


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Trinity Place

Located in New York City, Trinity Place reuses a bank vault. However, it’s not just any bank vault.

Diners have the opportunity to grab a bite and drink in a vault tied to industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

In partnership with New York Realty Bank, Carnegie commissioned the bank vault at the turn of the 20th century. And 120 years ago, it was said to be “the largest and strongest bank vault in the world.” It was so big that the building, the Trinity and US Realty Building, was built around and atop the vault in 1907.

Other than restoring it to use as an actual bank vault, what could one really do with this space? Well, two creative restaurateurs, Katie Connolly and Jason O’Brian restored the vault…and turned it into a bar and restaurantcomplete with a 40-foot mahogany barin 2006.

The Ordinary

Speaking of bank vaults, there’s a kitchen behind bank vault doors inside The Ordinary.

The team behind FIG, a James Beard Award-winning restaurant operating in Charleston, South Carolina. Also in Charleston, The Ordinary reuses a bank space.

The bank itself has quite a history. Interestingly, considering the focus of this article, the former bank stands on ground that was once a factory. However, that building was not reused; it was torn down to make way for Peoples-First National Bank, which opened for business in 1928.

Looking at that year, some of you may know what happened next. The Great Depression descended upon the world, and Peoples-First survived as best it could until closing its doors in 1933. Occupied for a time by a bakery, the building became Citizens & Southern National Bank in the 1940s, and operated as such for nearly 50 years.

Citizens & Southern National Bank became NationsBank at the start of the Nineties. Then, just before the turn of the century, the space transformed into a Bank of America branch. The bank closed in 2006.

In 2006, FIG’s owners bought the bank, reusing the space as best they could to reimagine and reopen it as a restaurant. The vault was, unfortunately, removed, but other elements of the former bank remain.


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Image: Jason Mitrione on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality site development. Site selection. Restaurant. Bar. Cafe. Lounge. Hotel. Resort.