Exploratory layout for a Portland restaurant - 2013


An out-of-state restaurant owner was asked to consider a failing Portland location as a second location for his popular Spokane steakhouse.  He was in town for only one day and the only resource available was the convoluted equipment/furnishings plan in the middle, which seemed to be designed by a restaurant equipment company, not an architect.  No wonder that earlier restaurant failed: three separate food preparation areas; wasted circulation and useless back-of-house areas; a split operation due to the existing hotel lobby requiring food service across the lobby; and all resulting in spotty and diminutive seating areas.

His concept required more spacious and dignified dining areas [such as the photo of Keefer’s in Chicago].  Yet, ironically, his simpler food concept allowed for considerable consolidation and centralizing of the kitchen areas and back of house, thereby more-logically serving both the formal dining room and the bar dining rooms without requiring food delivery across the lobby. 

To validate the design assumptions, the restaurant owner provided a list of seating sizes and types and a target seating capacity for the formal dining room and for the bar and its dining areas.  All this was accomplished in about 2 hours of effort.  And even though this location has not been selected by the restaurant owner [at least not yet], it gave him enough information in terms of total floor area, area to be renovated and potential seating that it allowed for an informed business decision.