Hiring a designer for a new build or renovation is a big decision, and while the onus is on the candidates to deliver great ideas that fit the concept and the budget, restaurateurs need to do their part, as well. Here are a few tips from designers on how clients can make the hiring process go more smoothly and help lay the foundation for successful projects.
1. Have a vision of what you want, and ideas. "No designer designs a project by himself. It's a team effort and if you can get an effective team together, designer and client, you have a good project." — Tom Mahaffey, design architect, senior project manager, Larson & Darby, Rockford, Ill.
2. Do your due diligence, including researching the designer and his or her firm. "I like a client who sends me some questions or issues to think about prior to an interview, such as 'How do you approach your design?' or 'Why do you think you're the right guy for the job?' I love it if they've seen some of the work we've done. No one wants to be picked randomly out of the Yellow Pages." — Mahaffey
3. "Ask yourself basic questions: What do you want to achieve? What's driving this? Why are you coming to a designer? What do you want to change? What are your business objectives in doing this?"—Howland Blackiston, principal, King-Casey, Westport, Conn.
4. Know and share your budget. "It can be a waste of time if restaurants refuse to say anything about their budget when you put all that time into putting together a proposal." — Blackiston
5. "If you're concerned about one designer costing more, ask why he or she is more expensive." — Mae Brunken, Mae Brunken Design, Los Angeles
6. "Be sure you know what your menu is going to be." — Brunken
7. Allow enough time for the project. "Some clients have brought us in even before they have a location, which allows us to test their concept in a space. This helps to evolve the concept to one that may have more earning potential." -- Daniel Scovill, principal, Arcsine Architecture, Oakland, Calif.