10 Tips for Working with a Restaurant Design Firm October 20, 2017 by Nancy Wood Ready to design your own restaurant? Here’s what you need to know before you even get started. 1.Find your designer early in the process. Spend time vetting the person orfirm. Most designers will provide a free consult on a particular space. 2.Prepare to spend a lot of time sharing visions and concepts. Successful projects run on a timeline. Owner’s tasks must be completed before a designer can do their part. 3.Designers are not contractors or kitchen designers. …or lighting designers, electricians or plumbers. 4.Experienced designers can assist in business plans and budgeting. Budget realities can shift and tighten concepts. 5.Allow about 10 percent of your budget for design services. Most of your cost is behind the scenes. 6.Don’t shortchange the kitchen. Be thorough in equipment specifications and purchasing. 7.Expect at least three options for designs. Designers are there to provide advice and solve layout, traffic flow and food service issues. 8.Expect creative solutions. Custom furniture and details aren’t unusual and can solve spacing and layout issues. 9.Listen and learn when it comes to permitting. All locations require various types of permits. 10. Consider acoustics. Different types of spaces need different types of acoustics. The Optimist in Atlanta. Restaurant interior designed by Smith Hanes Studio.