How to manage multiple renovations at once

renovation

This past summer was a busy one at Hernando County School District in Brooksville, Fla. The district was faced with the task of renovating four cafeterias within the 10-week break.

“Foodservice had excess funds that needed to be expended, and I knew that at a couple of the schools the work was a little less extensive,” says Lori Drenth, director of food and nutrition services, on the district’s reasons for tackling four cafeterias at once. “Additionally, with a larger scope of work (and much of it using similar trades for each school), we expected to have more vendors bid on the project.”

Organizing a team, applying for permits and keeping track of deadlines can be a daunting task for just one renovation, let alone several. Here, operators share how they and their teams stay on track while tackling multiple renovations.

1. All hands on deck

all hands on deck

A quality construction crew wasn’t the only key to keeping Hernando’s projects on track. “The most important thing was to have the contractor and superintendent on every site every time a subcontractor was working,” says Project Manager Jill Edwards. With those decision-makers on-site, she and Drenth could get up-to-date information at the drop of a hat.

At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., last summer’s projects weren’t quite as straightforward: A coffee shop was relocated, an on-campus food court was renovated, a former Cosi was transformed into a new sandwich concept, and a two-story eatery was converted into a split all-you-care-to-eat/food hall concept. With so much work happening, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services Joelle Wiese says it was sometimes difficult for the team to stay focused.

“When we’re in a meeting and we’re talking about one specific area, it was hard to not divert and all of a sudden start talking about the project that we’re going to talk about in the next hour,” Wiese says.

Wiese says that along with taking the time to step back and regain focus during meetings, assigning a separate manager to each project helped make sure people weren’t stepping on each other’s toes.
 

2. Staying on top of deadlines

deadlines

Renovation projects aren’t just about the actual renovating work. Edwards says her biggest challenge was getting team members to understand the real time constraints behind completing four simultaneous projects.

“A lot of people on the design side tend to forget about [time]. They forget about board approval time and permitting,” she says.

To help overcome skewed perceptions, Edwards asked her team for constant updates and made sure to enforce the schedule, which she printed out and taped to her desk.

3. Planning starts now

planning

While the Georgetown team was dedicated to keeping the projects flowing, Wiese says other components beyond their control, such as the waiting process for permits, still made timing a challenge, even though they were able to finish the projects on time. Her advice to other operators tackling multiple renovations: Start earlier than expected.

“If you think you’re going to get something in six months, add three more months to the planning,” she says. “You can never start early enough.”
 

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
management team

Last week’s NACUFS National Conference proved to be a treasure trove of management and staffing takeaways. Here are a few we noted at the annual event , held this year in Providence, R.I.

1. Make it scalable

When explaining something new to staff, instead of asking, “You got it?” or “You with me?” have employees rate how well they understand the new material on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ron Paul, a senior consulting partner for Partners in Leadership, during a session on building accountability in the workplace. People are likely to say yes even when they don’t fully grasp what you’...

Ideas and Innovation
song break

Once per month in a daily huddle, we dedicate a few minutes for the staff to sing a short song. The staff has responded so positively to this. They now bring costumes and other props. It's a few short minutes, but the payoff has been tremendous.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Ideas and Innovation
plastic straws

An item about the size of a pencil has become the latest target in foodservice operators’ sustainability plans. Though small, plastic straws are said to have a large impact on the environment, with Americans using approximately 500 million straws each day, according to a release from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, which temporarily ditched plastic straws as part of an Earth Day promotion this year.

In recent months, a growing number of eateries and cities across the United States have scrapped plastic straws. In July, Seattle enacted a ban on plastic straws and utensils, requiring...

Industry News & Opinion

Medford High School in Medford, Mass., is looking to add an orchard to its campus, Wicked Local reports.

The idea for the orchard was brought forth by students looking to help combat food insecurity. They are working with the school’s nutritionist to make the orchard a reality.

If planted, the orchard would be located inside the school’s courtyard and would grow fruits such as apples, paw paws, blueberries, peaches and plums. It would also include an outdoor classroom space.

The school committee signed off on the project last year; however, some administrators are...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code