Planning food services spaces in a museum environment
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Planning Food Services Spaces in a Museum Environment . Benefits of Food Service. Is an expected amenity Can increase length of stay Can positively impact gift shop sales and membership Employee/volunteer convenience and morale Events can introduce individuals to the facility

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Benefits of food service l.jpg
Benefits of Food Service

  • Is an expected amenity

  • Can increase length of stay

  • Can positively impact gift shop sales and membership

  • Employee/volunteer convenience and morale

  • Events can introduce individuals to the facility

  • Can generate significant earned income

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Visitor Food Service

  • May be a café, restaurant, or kiosk, or a combination thereof

  • Serves museum visitor, employees, and potentially outside patrons

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External (Third Party Catering)

  • Food and beverage supplied to groups of diners in conjunction with an event

  • Frequently occurs when the facility is closed to the public

  • Is generally the economic driver of the food service equation

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Planning Visitor Food Service

  • Level of service (kiosk, café, restaurant) is frequently dictated by annual attendance

  • A museum with attendance of less than 50,000 may get by with a kiosk or small coffee bar

  • A museum with attendance of 1.5 million will likely have several outlets with different price points

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Factors that Impact Demand

  • Length of Stay

  • Presence of Children

  • School Groups

  • Good Wayfinding Signage

  • Competitive Establishments

  • Ease of Re-entry

  • Member and Employee Discounts

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Production Methods

  • Commissary Support

  • Full Cooking or Production Kitchen

  • Catering Pantry – different from a Café Production Kitchen

  • Production may be different for visitor food service and catered events

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Factors Influencing Production Choice

  • Space Availability – if space is limited a commissary support approach might be best

  • Menu Concept – a menu with grilled or fried items will require a full production kitchen

  • Operating Hours – an operation serving dinner or seeking to be a destination will likely need a full production kitchen onsite

  • Catering Community – is commissary support approach supportable

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Café Size (Seating Capacity)

  • Visitation is frequently seasonal, weekend oriented, or exhibit driven

  • Size to average (non blockbuster) peak day

  • Determine average number of visitors arriving from 10 am to 1 pm

  • Consider outside visitors and museum employees

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Café Size (Seating Capacity)

  • If peak attendance is 3,000 visitors with 50% arriving between 10 am and 1 pm assume 15% - 30% of the 1,500 visitors will dine for lunch in the facility

  • This translates to 225 – 450 diners which requires seating capacity of 75 -150 (three turns for a café)

  • Assume 12 – 15 square feet per person for seating depending on local fire code

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Space Requirements - Kiosk

  • Limited to kiosk space and some storage

  • Average kiosk 10 – 12 feet long and requires 6 feet of depth

  • 60 – 100 square feet with electrical access is generally sufficient

  • Dry and refrigerated storage and hand washing sink are required nearby

  • No food is prepared on site

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Space Requirements – Small Cafe

  • Small café with front serving counter and back service counter could measure 20 feet long with 10 foot depth = 200 square feet

  • Assumes primarily ambient temperature items with limited re heating

  • Additional storage of 60 -100 square feet needed

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Space Requirements – Larger Cafe

  • Full service scatter servery (multiple stations) allocate 16 square feet per person front and back of house

  • 6 square feet servery, 5 back of house, 5 storage

  • Café seating 200 would require 5,600 square feet total (3,200 BOH/Servery, 2,400 seating)

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Support Spaces to Include

  • Managers Office

  • Cash Room

  • Secure Liquor Storage

  • Lockers and Changing Rooms

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Other Considerations

  • Will café or restaurant be located in a free zone?

  • An outside entrance to a free zone café or restaurant can double sales

  • Identify space for school children with bag lunches – do not want them sitting in cafe

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Additional Destination Requirements

  • A separate dedicated ground floor entrance with street presence (signage)

  • The ability to be open for lunch and dinner and operate independently of museum hours

  • Activity generators in the near vicinity

  • Operator needs full control over the environment (hours, pricing, menu, décor)

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Sample Destination Space Requirement

  • Restaurant seating 100 open for lunch and dinner

  • Seating 1,800 square feet

  • Back of House/Kitchen 1,100 square feet

  • Hostess/Bar/Entry 400 square feet

  • Restrooms 200 square feet

  • Office Lockers 200 square feet

  • Total 3,700 square feet

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External Catering

  • Museum generates income from venue fee and percentage of catering food and beverage

  • Includes corporate, social (weddings, bar mitzvahs) and not for profit

  • Each type of event has different space needs

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Planning Considerations

  • If event space is dedicated a slightly off the path location that allows early set up is ideal

  • Consider type of events and plan accordingly

  • Social events typically require a separate pre function space

  • Weddings need a small bridal suite with adjacent restroom

  • Conferences need breakout space

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Space Requirements

  • Cocktail receptions generally require 7 -8 square feet per person depending on fire code

  • Seated dinners generally require 15 square feet per person depending on fire code

  • Sight lines are important for a seated dinner

  • A 3,000 square foot lobby with no permanent exhibitions could accommodate about 400 people for a cocktail reception or 200 for a seated dinner

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Sizing Event Spaces

  • Research capacities of other cultural institution event spaces

  • Find the hole in the market and size accordingly if possible

  • Sizing to the Museum Gala may not be realistic

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Support Requirements

  • Most caterers will produce off site

  • Catering pantry requirements are 15-20% of net front of house

  • A 6,000 square foot event space requires a 900 - 1,200 square foot catering pantry

  • Space cannot be laden with equipment

  • Support for each event space should be identified along with transport routes

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Other Considerations

  • Identify the serving path and confirm it does not conflict with guest path

  • A busy catering pantry needs two doors (in and out)

  • Ideally restrooms are located in sufficient quantity on the same floor as the event

  • Will the museum purchase tables and chairs? If so allocate 12% of net front of house space

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Other Considerations

  • A dedicated event space can significantly increase demand and earned income potential

  • If earned income is important be sure there are appropriate spaces for simultaneous internal and external events (inventory)

  • If the caterer is exclusive and does significant business add a meeting/tasting/conference room

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Final Thoughts for Success

  • Prepare a feasibility study/business plan before beginning schematic design so the range of possible outcomes is known during planning

  • Gain consensus among stakeholders regarding concept early on

  • Develop institutional policies that support food service goals