fbpx
Category

Blog

Reimagining the Restaurant Week: 3

By | No Comments

COVID Edition

September 2020

Hello Again! We’re in week three of our blog series “Re-imagining the Restaurant”. This series starts with the premise that changes in customer attitudes and habits have been accelerated by the pandemic. Then we ask our designers to imagine a facility around those future trends. This week imagines one way a facility could become more flexible.

What will the future look like?

As we said last week, These are not necessarily ready-to-ship solutions but what-if scenarios meant to build a bridge between where we are now and what the future may hold.

Idea #4

One Covid trend we’ve seen is people like going out, but prefer to have their own space.  Consider the dining tents in parking lots or recently the NFL games with separated groups of fans (Go Chiefs!) Combine that with the VIPification of entertainment spaces and the culinary rise of the open-show-kitchen…voila, you have a new idea.

This restaurant concept starts with the kitchen and plugs in different size dining suites.  The goal here is to flip the script on social distancing.  Instead of awkwardly spaced tables, this concept creates an upgrade: the VIP dining suite and gourmet open kitchen.

Each dining suite has it’s own entrance and dining pod.  Spaces are cozy and private but still within view of other diners and the kitchen. Server’s connect with customers directly from the kitchen.

This concept restaurant is a bit of an all-in scenario, but one thing is certain.  If you can find ways to frame the upcoming changes brought about by the pandemic as upgrades, you’re more likely to build loyalty and thrive.

Steven Dragan


Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.


For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com

 

HVAC Best Practices: Explained

By | No Comments

HVAC Best Practices: Explained

COVID Edition

September 2020

The hottest amenities, in commercial building design, are indoor air quality and touchless design. Technologies and design approaches that were on the fringe are now being pushed to the forefront. Now, let’s talk about air quality and ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers:

ASHRAE leadership has approved the following TWO statements regarding the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the operation of HVAC systems during the COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely or likely enough, that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.

  2. Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air. Conversely, unconditioned spaces can cause thermal stress to people that may be directly life-threatening and that may also lower resistance to infection. In general, disabling of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems is not a recommended measure to reduce the transmission of the virus.

On August 6, 2020, the NATO task force and Cinema Safe, published a resource for exhibitors that included FIVE HVAC topics:

  1. All HVAC Systems should be in working order with increased ventilation whenever possible.

  2. Upgrade the building’s air filters consistent with CDC, state, and local guidance to the extent possible.

  3. Whenever possible, increase the quantity of outside air.

  4. Consider the use of portable high-efficiency air cleaners.

  5. Consider hiring an HVAC expert, such as an industrial hygienist, to assess and optimize airflow and air exchange.

*REFERENCE: National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) COVID-19 GUIDANCE 8.6.2020 (emphasis by TKA)

1. VENTILATION DISCUSSION

International Mechanical Code (IMC) definition, Ventilation is the natural or mechanical process of supplying conditioned or unconditioned air to a space or removing such air from any space. We understand this guideline to be referring to ‘total supply air’ from your HVAC equipment. To increase ventilation, the supply air fan speed must be increased which includes adjusting belts and, in some cases, increasing fan motor size. This work can generally be done by an HVAC contractor that has the ability to test and balance the system. Benefits and concerns include:

BENEFIT

  • An increase in total ventilation reduces the time to exchange the volume of air within a space, thus improving filtration rates.

CONCERN

  • Increasing fan speed will increase cooling coil velocity which can adversely affect the ability of the coil to remove moisture from the air, a concern in humid conditions. A typical Air Handling Unit will operate at between 350-425 CFM per Ton. (An existing 10 Ton unit is likely operating from 3,500 – 4,250 CFM.)
  • Increasing air volume in the auditorium space can increase noise (NC) from the existing duct and supply/return outlets. The minimal increase can usually be made with undetectable noise increase. Perhaps additional system balancing may help to remedy detectable sound.

2. FILTER DISCUSSION:

Air filtration is required by the International Mechanical Code (IMC Section 605).  Minimum filter efficiencies are not referenced in the Code, however, the referenced standards include:
  • UL 586 which refers to requirements that cover high-efficiency, particulate, air-filter units (HEPA filters) intended for the removal of very fine particulate matter (not less than 99.97 percent of 0.3 micron diameter particles) from the air of industrial and laboratory exhaust and ventilating systems.
  • UL 867 which refers to requirements that cover electrostatic air cleaners.
  • UL 900 which refers primarily to combustibility and smoke generation of filter media.

BENEFIT

  • An increase in room air filtration may decrease the airborne concentration of the virus and may reduce the risk of transmission through the air.  This is one of the primary goals as noted in ASHRAE Statements.

STATEMENT OF FACT

  • Pre Covid-19 minimum standards for filters is MERV 6. Typical commercial specifications are MERV 8, 2” pleated panel filters.
  • Current ASHRAE recommendations for School Reopening are MERV 13 or higher.
  • SARS-CoV-2 virus is reported by the CDC to be between .06 and .13 microns in size.
    • MERV 8 is rated at 20% efficient on particle size of 1.0-3.0 microns.
    • MERV 13 is rated at 50% efficient on particle size of 0.3-1.0 microns (85% on 1.0-3.0 microns).
  • While the filters cannot remove particles the size of the virus, the CDC states that the virus is thought to transmit on respiratory droplets, (aerosol) a size that is much larger. ASHRAE states these droplets can be collected on sub-HEPA filters such as MERV 13.
  • Choosing a filter rating will be limited by physical size and static pressure drop across the filter relative to the capacity of the existing fan motor.
  • Most filter media is susceptible to UVC damage. Avoid UVC lights from hitting filters.

3. OUTSIDE AIR DISCUSSION

In the International Mechanical Code, there is a definition, Ventilation Air is the portion of supply air that comes from the outside, plus any recirculated air that has been treated to maintain the desired quality of air within a designated space. There is a NATO/Cinema Safe guideline that proposes an increase to that portion of supply air from the outside. Typically, all auditorium air handling systems are designed to incorporate a minimum level of outdoor air. This rate of outside air is typically based on the occupant load. The adjustment can generally be done by an HVAC contractor that has the equipment and training to test and balance the system.  Benefits and concerns include:

BENEFIT

  • An increase in outdoor air will decrease the airborne concentration of the virus and may reduce the risk of transmission through the air.  This is one of the primary goals as noted in the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Statements.

CONCERN

  • For summertime (cooling) operation, an increase in outside air can overwhelm the capacity of the equipment to cool and/or remove moisture from the space.  In more humid climates, this could lead to a loss in room relative humidity affecting occupant comfort.
  • For wintertime (heating) operation, an increase in outside air can not only overwhelm the capacity of the heating unit, but excessively cold air can damage the heat exchanger.
  • Typically units are set to a ‘Night Time’ or ‘Unoccupied’ setting after hours. This setting typically shuts down the unit fan and outside air damper and therefore ASHRAE recommends expanding start and end times of building ‘Occupied’ mode of the HVAC systems by 2 hours.

4. PORTABLE EQUIPMENT DISCUSSION

Various high-volume high-efficiency portable equipment offerings are being introduced into the market.

  • Equipment tends to create quite a bit of noise.
  • Where UVC is employed it can be dangerous to occupants so it is recommended for non-occupied times.
  • Power requirements need to be considered.
  • Maintenance (cleaning) of contaminated filter media protocols are required.

5. ASSESSMENT DISCUSSION

Consider a building assessment that would include a team of an Engineer and Mechanical Contractor/Air Balance technician. For existing facilities, the first step might be to review available Mechanical Construction Drawings followed by existing systems testing.  Testing should include:
  • Verify thermostat settings and occupancy controls.
  • Document nameplate make and model data for the equipment.
  • Overall supply airflow (CFM)
  • Document motor nameplate amp data and current loading
  • Rate of total supply airflow and total static pressure.
  • Rate of outside airflow during normal operations
  • Outdoor air accessory summary including size (capacity) and control of outdoor air damper.  Damper control may include motorized damper or fixed damper.
  • Record type of filter currently installed including width capacity
  • Measure static pressure drop across the existing filter.

Industrial hygienists are described by OSHA as dedicated engineers whose job is to analyze, identify, and measure workplace hazards or stresses that can cause sickness, impaired health, or significant discomfort in workers through chemical, physical, ergonomic, or biological exposures.  The TKA discussion does not address recommendations that may come from this profession.

SUMMARY POINT

Decreased Occupant load will automatically increase room ventilation and outside air based on a ‘per occupant’ rate.  Where Recliner Seating Retrofits have been installed, maximum occupancy has already been reduced so original outdoor ventilation rates likely exceed Code minimum.  Since outdoor air is known to be a large portion of the unit load, outdoor air dampers may have been adjusted down, below design minimums to save on operating costs.

Germicidal Ultraviolet Light and Ionization Remedies
ASHRAE is recommending the installation of UV-C lights and/or ionization in air handling equipment for General School Design Guidelines.  We are continuing our research in these areas and will provide follow up.

Mechanical/Architectural Engineers will be very familiar with the ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook that contains the principals that are the basics of design for the Air Conditioning Industry.

Please note published ASHRAE guidelines and building codes should be referenced for any recommended changes to existing building HVAC systems.

On July 17, 2020, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force released a Reopening guide to Schools and Universities:
https://www.ashrae.org/file%20library/technical%20resources/covid-19/ashrae-reopening-schools-and-universities-c19-guidance.pdf

Brad Reynolds, PE


Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.


For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com

 

THE NEW NORMAL: Design With a Spritz of Sanitizer

By | No Comments

September 3, 2020

The ‘New Normal’

Gloves, a mask, and a pocket full of sanitizer, “Business as usual”, is a common phrase that describes anything BUT the landscape of the industry in 2020. With the world on high alert, it seems nowadays, ‘normal’ is something we no longer have access to. Instead, business continues, but under a new set of rules. An environment of uncertainty, but surreptitiously presenting an opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to define, ‘new normal’ and thrive.

From creative economical design to luxurious VIP concepts, here at TK Architects International we help clients worldwide establish and execute their brand and style. Our focus is entertainment architecture and engineering including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers. We work to develop solutions for the new normal and create a safe and clean environment for our clients’ customers, without sacrificing design, or experience.

A Virtual Sit-down with Tamra Smith of Lucas Flooring

Earlier this month one of our own, Melissa Miller was interviewed by Lucas Flooring, a full-service commercial flooring provider owned and operated locally here in KC. Melissa talks about the impact of COVID-19 and how it has affected the way that the interiors team specifies materials for projects while staying on the cutting-edge of design.

QUESTION: What new material trends do you see in the theater/hospitality segment?

ANSWER: Before the virus, we were seeing arcades, bars, and restaurants becoming more experiential in design.  Incorporating the use of materials to define spaces.  Those materials became more natural like woods, stones, and other similar textures.  On another note and due to the pandemic, we may see the idea of social distancing in public change how we create experiences. How do we use techniques and materials as semi-natural barriers to create that separation of space and maintain an experience for the customer?

QUESTION: Do you have a personal favorite new trend?  If so, what?

ANSWER: Love that color is making a comeback.  The cinema industry took a turn toward hospitality design a while back and everything became very neutral. Now we are starting to see pops of color come back in our designs. It’s more fun, and it feels more designed.

QUESTION: Are any types of materials now being avoided?  If so, why?

ANSWER: Durability was, and will always be key, but now we must consider cleanability and anti-microbial content due to COVID-19.

QUESTION: What new color trends are you seeing?

ANSWER: Greens of every color, and pops of pastel pink.  Last year’s deep blue is still very prominent as well.

QUESTION: What impact is COVID-19 having on your projects?  What about how you engage clients?

ANSWER: Our clients have started getting creative in how they operate. One client started rigging movie screens on their building exterior to turn their parking lot into a drive-in.  Likewise, contactless delivery is changing how food is handled.  More and more apps for ordering are being used instead of a traditional concessions counter.  Within our office for example, we are doing a lot more Zoom/MS Team calls, while still continuing to use our phone to communicate with our clients.

QUESTION: How about on material selections?

ANSWER: We are going to see a turn towards anti-microbial.  The materials still have to be aesthetically pleasing, but also very cleanable in order to make the customer comfortable.  Educating the customer on these non-visible issues is equally important.

QUESTION: What is the most difficult thing about designing for theaters today?

ANSWER: There is the constant battle, “… how do we get families out of their homes and back into the theatres…?”  With so many choices for the entertainment dollar, cinema operators must try to reinvent the movie-going experience. And maybe it’s not for just movies. It might now be E-gaming events, concerts or TV series finales instead. There are innovative opportunities for expansion when it comes to big-screen cinemas.

QUESTION: Anything else you would like to add, or want people to know?

ANSWER: The biggest thing is that a lot of cinemas are starting to turn into family entertainment centers, to create a one-stop full-day experience, instead of a two-hour event. Cinemas are not spaces where people think of social distancing. Therefore, our challenge is how to make semi-natural barriers that allow customers to enjoy their visit without feeling uncomfortable or crowded.

Cleanliness is King

Durability is key. We do not want to specify a product if it will not last the test of high traffic. Our clients want their theatres to be classic, not trendy, so the materials need to last, but with the added in coronavirus pandemic at the forefront of people’s minds, cleanliness is king. materials need to be easily cleanable and need to last through constant and consistent cleaning.

How is COVID-19 affecting your business/industry and what are some things that have become the new normal for you? Let us know in the comments and most of all, wash your hands and stay safe out there!

Jack C. Muffoletto


Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.


For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com

 

Reimagining the Restaurant: Week 1

By | No Comments

DESIGN IDEAS FOR OUR NEW REALITY

 

August 17, 2020

The table was draped in caution tape, chalk marked the floor, and people roamed about in gloves and masks.  Is this a crime scene?  No crime, just the inside of a restaurant in 2020.  

For the restaurants bold enough to attempt a grand reopening, inventiveness is the name of the game.  Strategies are varied from the fake crime scene described above to creative and inviting transformations.  Hopefully, these solutions are temporary, but the jury is still out.

One thing that is not temporary is the change in customer attitudes and habits which have been accelerated by the pandemic.  Restaurants and businesses of the future will need to adapt accordingly, which leads us, designers, to ask questions like:

What will the future look like?

The exercise of ‘designing the future’ is part of our design culture at TK.  We brainstorm year-round to come up with original and creative ways to solve new and old problems.  Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of our ideas. 

These are not necessarily ready-to-ship solutions, or are they?  They are definitely what-if scenarios meant to build a bridge between where we are now and what the future may hold.

Idea #1

Consider the rise of off-site, ghost kitchens, food trucks, and robust delivery services like Uber-eats.  Even before COVID, the distance between the restaurant kitchen and the dining experience was growing.  The last three months have only sped up that trend.  Some of the businesses who fared best were the ones who had already invested in off-site food production.

For many people, having restaurant-quality food in their own home is not enough.  They want to get out!  Their favorite part about dining out is the atmosphere and service.  This concept focuses on creating a great place for dining and connecting it with remote kitchens. 

Functionally, this concept does three things: first, it takes the kitchen out of the restaurant and gives 90% of the space to dining.  Second, it connects this premium dining experience with a remote kitchen…or kitchens through ordering apps.  And third, it reverses the idea of the drive-thru.  Rather than food going out the pick-up window, it’s being delivered in, plated and staged, and served to customers. 

From a practical point of view, this idea allocates more space for seating.   It also uses the majority of the prime high-exposure real estate to be front-of-house, while locating the kitchen in lower-cost rental space.  Alternatively, completely eliminate the kitchen, and only rely on third party off-site to deliver. In this situation the facility is primarily about providing an experience and atmosphere.

Idea #2

Things have changed, people order online, uber-eats accounts for a growing number of pick up orders, and smart POS can coordinate orders better than the traditional first-in-first-out organization.  

This concept imagines an improved drive through that can handle increased volume while accommodating varied types of order placement. More ordering, more pick up. Additionally, it designs around the new businesses and ordering habits by separating ordering, from online, from delivery partners. From an experiential level, it elevates the drive-through experience with design, which may be key for brands exploring drive-through at higher price points, or just more brand loyalty.

A concept like this is aimed at meeting future demands, increasing volume, decreasing wait times, and wrapping that all up in an improved aesthetic experience.

Well, there you have it.  Two ideas.  I hope you enjoyed thinking about the restaurants of the future.  Did this spark any ideas for you? Perhaps you know how we can improve one of these…we’d love to hear from you!

More of our concepts for the restaurant of the future will be coming soon.  Whatever you decide to do, the key is to create something that endears customers to your brand for years to come!

Steven Dragan


Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.


For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com

 

Reimagining the Restaurant: Week 2

By | No Comments

DESIGN IDEAS FOR OUR NEW REALITY

 

August , 2020

Hello Again! We’re in week two of our blog series “Re-imagining the Restaurant”. This series starts with the premise that changes in customer attitudes and habits have been accelerated by the pandemic. Then we ask our designers to imagine a facility around those future trends. This week imagines one way a facility could become more flexible.

What will the future look like?

As we said last week, These are not necessarily ready-to-ship solutions but what-if scenarios meant to build a bridge between where we are now and what the future may hold.

Idea #3

If the pandemic has taught us anything its that adaptability is key. More than that, maintaining a brand experience as you do it is the difference between “sorry it has to be this way” and “look at this premium upgrade we’re giving you”.

This idea focuses on flexibility; one restaurant that can transform to deliver three distinct customer experiences.  The main design move here takes an existing restaurant and adds on a flexible porte-cochere.  Consider this the super-structure which different elements can be plugged into, enabling it to switch between normal mode, expanded dining mode, or luxury pick-up mode.

Mode 1: Double the dining.  Create an intentionally designed covered space with premium pavers as flooring, heating elements for comfort through the seasons.  Thoughtful layout and lighting can make this feel like an extension of the dining area.  Ultimately, this mode is aimed at increasing capacity while providing distance. 

Mode 2: Premium Pick up.  Perhaps your brand has $$$ or $$$$ on yelp, should pick up need to become the primary means of revenue,  a premium pick-up zone can preserve your brand prestige by elevating the experience.  Something to differentiate your experience from fast-food, and remind your customers that you pay attention to detail, atmosphere, and customer service even as you pivot from one mode to another.

Mode 3: A “normal” restaurant with a premium drop off and modest patio.  This mode is the business-as-it-used-to-be version.  The porte-cochere remains, the premium paver tiles remain and create an upgraded arrival, even some covered parking. However, the more important aspect is that it is ready to switch to the other modes if needed to continue to deliver a premium experience

I hope you enjoyed this week’s idea about the restaurants of the future. Did this spark any ideas for you? Perhaps you know how we can improve one of these…we’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned!

Steven Dragan


Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.


For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com