What trends are you seeing in the foodservice industry with flexible spaces?
Heather Bender: When indoor dining was shut down during COVID, restaurants with outdoor seating could stay open and not rely solely on takeout. Operable glass doors were taking off, as restaurants were expanding footprints outdoors. Once dining rooms reopened, operators continued to open up seating to the outdoors to gain more real estate. This was often accomplished by using either products that weren’t intended for hospitality applications or expensive custom glass solutions.
What challenges were operators facing?
HB: Restaurant designers loved glass solutions but were running into issues. The most significant challenge was mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting, heating and cooling sources. Plumbers needed to move sprinklers or work around the ceiling components. Operators needed to create inside space to accommodate accordion doors, which took away from valuable real estate. Then there was concern that door tracks could be a trip hazard and accumulate food and dirt. There also were aesthetic issues. Sectional doors typically have an exposed track and hinges on the inside, which negatively impacts the restaurant’s aesthetics.
How was Clopay able to develop a solution for operators?
HB: We needed to find a way to take the sectional glass door off the ceiling and make it more visually appealing. The VertiStack™ Clear Door is compact with vertically stacking sections that provide a clear, open ceiling. Because it is hidden in a header, the ceiling can be utilized as a fifth wall, maximizing aesthetics. This solution also is more operationally sound than typical sectional doors, which use loud motors or chains that are visible to diners. Instead of cables, VertiStack Clear uses a strap to ensure quiet operation as well as a modern, clean appearance. Intermediate hinges have been replaced with built-in gaskets between the sections and a weatherproof vinyl seal that clips into the guide channel.
What are the biggest benefits with VertiStack Clear in making spaces more flexible?
HB: VertiStack Clear can melt into a building’s overall design, allowing for free flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. Its construction maximizes aesthetics, with a covered track to obscure the inner workings of the door, multiple motor mounting location options, and even the ability to have the top of the door recessed into the ceiling.
What types of options can operators choose from?
HB: VertiStack Clear offers plenty of customizable options to suit different spaces. It can be sized to fit openings up to 14 feet wide and 14 feet tall. From an aesthetic perspective, we offer a variety of anodized finishes, such as clear, black, bronze and dark bronze in addition to powder-coated paint finishes in white, chocolate or bronze. Also, the type of glass and glass colors can be changed out, depending on an operator’s preferences and the restaurant’s aesthetics. VertiStack Clear has been tested to ASTM E283 standards and meets the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requirements for air infiltration, making the door energy efficient.
Learn more at clopaycommercial.com