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Restaurant Solutions: New Construction Restaurant Design

REALIZE the Possibilities. DESIGN Your Reality. INFLUENCE Your Life and Community.



A new construction restaurant contains many moving parts and design elements that can become tedious and overwhelming. The right architectural partner will manage these considerations, guide you through the process and ensure your project runs smoothly. From beginning to completion, this 'Restaurant Solutions' discusses the most important aspects of new construction restaurant design.






Site Selection / Side Adaptation

Having your architectural partner with you during site selection is recommended, and here's why. Your architectural and engineering partners will help you understand how to adapt your program to the site. They'll be able to point to a variety of factors that affect new construction design, including site specific elements (entry, exit, parking, traffic flow, building & site lighting, drainage), development design criteria and new construction building requirements. We dive deeper into these throughout this blog.







Site Feasibility Study & Code Analysis for MEP+FP, ADA, New Construction Building Requirements

You're A/E partner should perform a site feasibility study prior to a decision on whether to purchase / lease a site. You'll gain insight into the new construction building requirements the city / municipality requires and also understand the how the site will affect construction. This is an important first step in new construction restaurant design because it will allow you to make an educated decision to set the project up for success from the beginning.

An example of some information that may come to the forefront is whether the municipality has specific exterior finish ordinances / expectations or if the building can be a different type of material.


Once the site is selected, your architectural partner should perform a code analysis to determine the MEP+FP, ADA and site standards / regulations.











Required Utilities, Water, Sewer, Grease Trap - Cost of Tap Fees?

For every restaurant new construction, you must 'tap into' the municipalities utilities (think water, sewer and grease trap). There is a fee to do this; it varies and your architectural partner should inform / guide you through this process. This fee can get expensive; therefore, it is a critical piece of information, as it relates to overall project budget. It should be explored early on in the design process so adjustments can be made, if necessary.









Wood or Steel Frame

What material will you use to construct your building? There may be local and state building requirements that provide guidance on this topic. At JP Architects Ltd., we inform our restaurant clients of their options and discuss what will be better for their specific situation.

FYI...Steel framing improves design efficiency, saves time, and reduces costs. Steel framing provides a significantly greater strength-to-weight ratio than wood. Steel framing allows for larger bays and wider frame spacing than wood construction. ... Steel structures perform well during earthquakes and other extreme events.









Engineering Coordination (Civil, Structural, Geo-Technical, MEP+FP, Landscape)

For new construction, engineering coordination is key. There are many moving parts, and your architectural partner should organize this to be worry-free for you. At JP Architects Ltd., we coordinate all communications and scope with the engineering team. Simply put, it is removed from your plate and our relationships with engineers allow us to work as integrated team to bring your project to completion.









Program Considerations

Your program is the most important aspect of design. Will the site you selected accommodate your program or will your design partner need to make changes to the design? Is your location going to have drive-thru, mobile order pick-up lanes? Are there specific elements of your restaurant that will need to change to accommodate the constraints of the site (outdoor seating, flexible seating, outdoor bar, drive-thru, mobile order pick-up and takeout)? The likelihood is that you already have a prototype or expected program / design that needs to be site adapted, and your architectural partner will be able to adjust and adapt your design.









Development Design Criteria

Are you building within an existing development? What is the design criteria for that development? Your design partner should inquire about these details, inform you about them and include them within the design documents. Your design and material selections may need to change depending on these criteria. Furthermore, any exterior landscape may need to adhere to the development design criteria.









Finishes / Material Selection / Interior Design

Your design partner should guide you through finish and material selection. There are multiple options, and they do affect cost / budget. At JP Architects Ltd., we can provide you with 3D renderings that show what the space will look like with your finish selections.










Technology is constantly changing in the restaurant industry. Are you instituting touchless systems? How about pay by phone, self-serve kiosks and electronic menus? These are elements that can enhance your customer experience.









How Big of a Facility?

How large is your new construction? Multiple floors? Will you need an elevator? These are questions your architectural should be asking so they can ensure all building and health requirements are accounted for within the design.









Capacity Size = Restroom and Parking Considerations

If you have a large capacity, you're going to need more ADA compliant bathroom space and parking. Your design partner should inform you on what will be required based on the size of your space.









Outdoor Seating

Will you have outdoor seating? Is it heated? How will it be accessed? Will there be fire pits, water features? Outdoor seating adds another element to your space that can enhance customer experience and give your restaurant a unique feature. Your design partner can guide you on what's possible within the design on your site.






As part of the design of your new construction, landscape is essential to make the site look complete. Additionally, there may be landscape required for the outdoor seating area of your restaurant. What type of plants / greenery / foliage will make your new construction stand out / look inviting? Are there requirements under the development design guidelines?











Site Signage - Pylon / Monument Sign

What signage is needed for your new construction? Does the development have one overall large pylon sign or will a monument sign be part of design? How about wayfinding throughout the restaurant? Parking signage? Drive-thru? Menu? These are all items that should be coordinated by your design partner.






Ah the most important aspect that leads to successfully opening. With new construction, there will be multiple inspections from the building and health department that will be required in order to open. Your design partner should make sure the construction documents account for all inspection areas and building and health requirements. Through construction administration, your design partner will be there to answer any questions your GC has during construction to ensure the building is constructed per approved plans and passes inspections.











The Final Word

To wrap this up, a new construction restaurant design and construction is a project with multiple moving parts. Having the right architectural partner on your team will maximize your opportunity to stay on budget and within timeline and result in the proper management of the project.


Don't go at it alone. JP Architects, Ltd. can help you navigate the complex nature of restaurant new construction design. Let's talk Restaurant Solutions - 708.907.3651.



Until Next Time,


Ariel Delao | Vice-President

JP Architects, Ltd.



JP Architects, Ltd. was founded in 2015 by Jose R. Pareja, AIA. We specialize in and are passionate about residential design, commercial architecture, restaurant design and public sector planning / capital improvement projects. Located at 7250 College Dr., Palos Heights, IL 60463, we serve Chicagoland, North & Central Illinois and multiple states. We complete hundreds of projects per year and bring sound principles of design, resourcefulness, reliability, unmatched quality, enthusiasm, creativity and functional design to each project. JP Architects, Ltd. realizes the possibilities, designs your reality and influences your life and community.