you first contact Design & Layout Services, we will
be anxious to hear all about the exciting details of
your new café or coffee shop. We can also explain
how our services can
help you get off to a great start by
saving you time and
money. Below, you will find some of the most
common questions that have been asked by new coffee
retailers about opening a new cafe or starting a new
coffee shop. Give yourself a head-start by reviewing
the following information and avoid mistakes that
others have already made.
Why should I use Design & Layout
Most new coffee
retailers can visualize how their café will look and feel
when a customer walks in the door. However, they have
difficulty finding a company that can help them design the
employee areas of the café, such as the storeroom, kitchen
and service counters. This is our expertise. We have
completed over 700 projects and have the most experience in
the industry. Our functional and efficient
floor plan design
will help reduce labor costs and increase your seating
capacity. Many of our
customer testimonials claim that our services made the
contractors job much easier, saved them money on the
build-out, minimized mistakes and allowed them to open
sooner. In addition to our design services, we can also
provide the food
service equipment and the
for your café.
How long will it take to open my café?
Once a location is found and
the lease is signed, a total of four months is a typical
time frame to open your café. This allows four weeks for the
plans, four weeks for permits, six weeks for the build-out
and two weeks for the installation and final inspections.
Your landlord will often
allow two or three months of free rent after the lease is
signed. This is not enough time to layout your café, get
your permits, hire a contractor and complete the build-out.
Start your design process early so you can negotiate into
your lease an additional restroom, a larger HVAC unit or an
upgraded electrical panel if required. Sign the lease only
after you are comfortable with the floor plan and have
reviewed it with the building inspector, the health
department and your contractor to ensure codes are met and
bids fall within your budget.
Who will handle the health department
You will complete the plan
review application and submit any fees directly to the
health department. Design & Layout Services will provide you
with an extra set of plans,
sheets to include with your submittal. We are very familiar
with health department codes across the country and are
available to answer questions to assist in this process.
Some parts of
the country will require an architect to obtain a building
permit. However, if you are not making any structural
changes to the building, an architect may not be needed.
Many customers will have the general contractor provide the
architectural work as part of their bid. Design & Layout
Services is not licensed as architects. The documents
provided by DLS are not intended to replace architectural or
engineered plans that may be required by the local building
department. The documents we provide should compliment those
of the architect and not duplicate their services.
Do you need to visit my site?
All of our
services can very easily be accomplished by phone and email.
Once we receive your
wall dimensions and discuss your menu,
we will design a floor plan to specifically match your
concept, menu and space. The preliminary floor plan is
emailed for your review in a PDF format. We will then
discuss the layout, traffic flow, various employee stations,
and equipment selections on the phone. From this discussion, DLS will make the necessary changes and continue to make
additional revisions until a final floor plan is reached for
your new café. Our proven processes have allowed us to
complete hundreds of cafés, tea houses and smoothie bars
across the country without ever traveling to the job site.
Once you have decided on a
potential location, we should begin the process of designing
a preliminary floor plan. This allows you to visualize how
your concept fits into the space you are considering. You
will be able to see the kitchen areas and service counters,
the flow of the customer traffic and your seating capacity.
More importantly, you can show the plan to the local
building inspector to verify that your café will have the
proper parking, restroom and fire exit requirements. Once
the lease is signed, these issues become very costly when
they need to be upgraded at your expense. By retaining our
services early in the process, we can help you detect these
serious issues well in advance.
When should I place my equipment and
Equipment and cabinetry lead
times run about eight weeks and should be ordered just
before the general contractor starts the build-out. We will
consolidate your equipment and cabinetry package in
Minneapolis, MN and deliver it to your site when the
contractor is ready. It is advantageous to have the entire
order arrive at your site on one truck at the same time.
This will minimize items getting lost or damaged due to
multiple shipments from several different equipment vendors.
The general contractor is
best suited to do the installation. This typically takes two
days with two workers to complete. You can also do your own
installation with the help from our 75 page installation
manual. Each page has four color photos that illustrate how
to unload the truck, uncrate the equipment, and assemble the
cabinetry. Once all the equipment and cabinetry is set in
place, the plumber and electrician will then make the final
How can new coffee retailers avoid
It is critical
that a new retailer research the local health and building
codes to avoid delays in getting a permit. Also, hire a
company with experience to design your café to ensure that
the employee areas are functional and labor costs are
minimized. Provide the plumber and electrician with very
detailed plans and specifications to eliminate mistakes.
Obtain very specific estimates on all costs involved so that
your financing is adequate. Develop a strong relationship
with a local roaster or espresso dealer that will help train
and educate your employees. Become a member of the
Coffee Association of America, subscribe to the various
coffee trade magazines and attend a
Coffee Fest trade show
to further your knowledge about the coffee industry.