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Restaurant Solutions: Prototype Development Overview

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



Thus far, we've discussed new construction, renovation / build-outs, customer satisfaction in a post-COVID19 environment and kitchen design considerations. The next topic in our "Restaurant Solutions" series is Prototype Development. For national brand restaurants, the prototype design becomes one of the most essential aspects of their expansion plans and business model. So let's dive into the details.




What is a prototype and what are the benefits?

The main purpose / benefit of a prototype is to have the ability to site adapt for future sites in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. A prototype is a consistent design for your restaurant and brand that is used when constructing and opening new locations. It can be adjusted to accommodate the new site; however, the majority of design is already there and only site specific modifications generally will be necessary for permitting and construction. Furthermore, with a prototype in place, national brands have the advantage of learning from previous prototypes and gaining feedback from everyone involved (Ops team, A&E and constructions team, client vendors). You can continually optimize the customer / employee and operational experience to establish the best environment possible. In summary, establishing a prototype allows national brands to always monitor costs / maximize investments and find ways to simplify construction and material lead times.

Here's a brief overview of what Prototype Development looks like:



A look into Phase 1 - Schematic Design



  • During the Schematic Design Phase, your architectural and engineering partner uses information from the feedback from the client's design and ops team, construction team and client vendors to create a floor plan.

  • These beginning stages also result in the creation of exterior and interior designs that align with brand standards. Mood boards are presented to the client to make sure design is heading in the right direction prior to the Design Development Phase.

  • It's important to note that your design partner should provide multiple floor plan and interior/ exterior design solutions during schematic design because this will ensure standards and operations needs are being incorporated.

  • Your design partner should have strategies for coordination with your kitchen equipment consultant and vendors during this phase. This eliminates confusion and big changes to the floorplan because equipment considerations are already included within the proposed prototype floor plan.





A look into Phase 2 - Design Development




  • Your design partner will create a design development package, including floor plan, exterior and interior elevations, reflected ceiling plan, interior perspective color renderings and material boards and site plan with the following considerations - drive-thru, outdoor seating, parking, lighting, signage, etc.

  • There is extensive client & vendor coordination during this phase prior to construction Documents Phase because your design partner will be including all essential mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems to accommodate operation of equipment and entire location.

  • Your design partner should work with the MEP+FP engineer to determine which design strategies will create the most efficient and cost-effective solution.

  • Once this design development package has been finalized, it is recommended the package be sent to construction team to get preliminary pricing as well as pricing from vendors for their specific products being supplied.

  • Any final updates needed to be made to the design based on budget feedback will be done now and approved by the client prior to the drafting of construction documents.




A look into Phase 3 - Construction Documents



  • Based on approved Design Development Package, a construction drawings template is generated to provide more detailed drawings and information for proper bidding and construction.

  • The drawing template is designed based on most current IBC Code and ADA codes which cover most US requirements.

  • It is recommended to have a final meeting with client, vendors and engineers to discuss, as a group, the construction documents prior to releasing the drawing template.

  • Engaging an experienced restaurant general contractor or 3rd party estimator at this stage is recommended for a more finalized budget.




A look into some final details



  • The completed prototype package will be utilized to site adapt the restaurant to fit existing development constraints.

  • This saves time and $ for the brand as you are able to make changes without having to establish an entirely new design.

  • Prototypes are essential for any National Brand - looking to expand with multiple locations.



The right design partner will work alongside your brand to create an efficient and effective solution that elevates your restaurant into a future where you thrive and expand. JP Architects, Ltd. can help your brand establish a new concept or refresh an existing. Let's talk Restaurant Solutions - 708.907.3651.


Until Next Time,

Ariel Delao | Vice President



JP Architects, Ltd. is a full-service architecture firm specializing in restaurant design, public planning projects and commercial architecture. We have a young and vibrant team led by leadership who is progressive in their management style. We serve Chicagoland and North & Central Illinois and are licensed in multiple States. We bring sound principles of design, creativity, innovation, resourcefulness, reliability, quality, and functional architecture and interior design to each project. At JP Architects, Ltd. we REALIZE. the Possibilities, DESIGN. Your Reality. & INFLUENCE. Your Life and Community.