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Every new QSR or Fast Casual restaurant that gets constructed is typically operating under a tight timetable and a limited construction budget – with the success of a new restaurant at stake, there is little room for error or delay. River’s Edge Project Management is a construction consulting firm specializing in managing the build-outs of QSR and Fast Casual franchise locations. River’s Edge Project Management represents both franchisors and franchisees and supervises construction projects throughout the United States.
Franchisees hire River’s Edge Project Management to handle the details of managing the construction process – contracts, contractors, building permits, and many other complex and potentially costly details that can derail or delay the best-laid plans of a QSR or Fast Casual franchisee waiting to open for business in a new location.
“Opening a new restaurant franchise can be an emotional rollercoaster, and we try to alleviate the day-to-day headaches that go with opening a new store,” said Matt Vetter, President of River’s Edge Project Management. “The biggest advantage in hiring a restaurant construction consultant is that we will help you get the front door unlocked and the Open sign turned on sooner. We can help you avoid cost overruns and construction delays, and achieve quicker profit turnaround.”
The River’s Edge Project Management Advantage
There are several benefits that go with hiring River’s Edge Project Management to supervise a restaurant build-out.
- Serve the interests of the franchisee: “Most restaurant franchisees do not have the knowledge and experience needed to successfully run a normal construction project,” said Matt Vetter. “In addition, with QSR & Fast Casual build-outs, there is almost always an expedited project schedule. It’s worth having experienced construction professionals who can serve the interests of the franchisee throughout the project.”
- Keep the franchisee focused on the business: “Many franchisees tend to undervalue their own time,” said Vetter. “They try to do too many things themselves – instead of managing the construction project, they should be focused on marketing, staffing, budgeting, and all the other details of actually running the restaurant once it opens.”
- Get the restaurant open sooner: “A typical average sized in-line QSR build-out runs about 8-9 weeks from permit pickup,” said Vetter. “We have successfully reduced standard build-out scheduling down to 5-6 weeks. This can afford the client 2-3 potential ‘extra’ weeks of added profit.”
- Cost control: While some franchisees might be reluctant to pay added fees to a construction consultant, Vetter says that his firm often saves money for their clients. “With every restaurant build-out, there are often various cost savings that can be achieved if you know where to look,” he said. “We provide an objective, professional perspective on the construction process – we can help with bidding, negotiating, reducing or eliminating change-orders, and other ways to find savings and avoid cost overruns. These cost savings often surpass the upfront costs of our consulting services.”
- Objective counsel: River’s Edge Project Management is unique in its focus on consulting and project management – not on construction and design. (Many construction and design firms offer project management for an additional fee.) This means that, when supervising restaurant build-outs, River’s Edge can serve as an objective advocate for the interests of each client, since it doesn’t have a vested stake in any particular construction budget or design choice. “We have the added benefit of complete objectivity,” said Matt Vetter. “We do not partner with contractors or architects, and we do not offer to do any building or design work. With every build-out, we are totally focused on representing the best interests of the client and achieving the best possible result.”
Construction Challenges: Knowing the Code
One of the biggest challenges that is frequently encountered during a new store development process is dealing with city codes, regulations and permits. “We’ve encountered many times with our clients where the store owner is being faced with demands from local level city departments that may not entirely be based on fact,” said Matt Vetter. “Often times, building officials are so understaffed and overworked that they do not have the time to research and investigate every concept that is applying for a permit. Most owners don’t know where to turn to for advice and assistance, and many contractors either don’t care enough or don’t know the codes well enough themselves to make a productive difference.”
River’s Edge Project Management prides itself on thorough, diligent research into local city codes, ordinances and permitting processes. “We thoroughly research the codes and ordinances affecting the success of our clients’ projects,” said Vetter. “Sometimes it is necessary to challenge a city government department’s initial decision – and we always advise our clients that the key is to handle the situation with knowledge and integrity – show them the facts, and calmly state your case.
River’s Edge Project Management has saved many clients $5,000-10,000 per project by simply digging into the city codes and interpretations and presenting a carefully crafted case to the most influential parties involved. “Often after thoroughly discussing our position with a city official, we’ll receive a complete reversal of the initial determination,” said Vetter. “More often than not we get favorable results – and the savings can be substantial when you’re looking at a typical build-out budget of $100,000.”
Future Trends in QSR and Fast Casual Restaurant Construction?
Matt Vetter sees a continued increase in new store numbers nationwide, but with more of a focus on boosting store numbers without drastically increasing project budgets. “Real estate negotiations are going to play a more pivotal role now in keeping costs down,” said Vetter. “I expect we’ll also see much more remodeling of existing locations instead of investing in new construction. Construction bidding is likely to stay extremely cut-throat and competitive for these types of projects while the economy is still recovering.”
About River’s Edge Project Management
River’s Edge Project Management is a construction consulting firm based in Hamburg, Michigan, providing owner representation to QSR & Fast Casual franchisees in the new store development phase. They also provide construction consulting services to franchisors.
The firm prides itself on delivering personal, attentive service and becoming highly familiar with the fine details of each client’s restaurant concept, layouts, equipment, and processes. River’s Edge Project Management offers customizable programs based around the client’s needs, from a fully-featured turnkey project to more simple advisory services during certain phases of the construction process.