As Outback Steakhouse continues to expand throughout the Northeast, parent company Bloomin’ Brands, one of the world’s largest casual dining companies with more than 1,450 restaurants, selects sites that can accommodate its 5,000 to 6,000-square-foot restaurant footprint. These sites are new-build pad-style locations, locations that are renovations of former restaurants, or renovations of existing in-line retail space.
The widespread locations of these projects required expertise in understanding and designing for varying municipal energy codes. Over the course of more than 116 projects for Bloomin’ Brands, Erdman Anthony guided the client in MEP best practices; Including providing a better understanding of energy ratings, how they differ among municipalities, and how the differences impact the company’s restaurant build-outs. Converting the models to full LED lighting, for example, has realized energy-efficiency goals and related costs savings; utilizing LED has also provided the brand with more creative ways to impact customer experience.
The challenge posed by renovating existing in-line retail for restaurant use is due to those spaces not having been originally designed for high-demand water requirements. Our solutions included designs that adequately provided water service without upsizing the utilities of the entire building. We achieved this by designing with more efficient fixtures in the kitchen, bar area, and restaurants.
In the case of renovating a ground-floor space in a multistory building, creatively routing grease hood exhaust to an acceptable location, finding ways to meet ventilation requirements, and/or dealing with humidity concerns in a crowded dining area have proven to be challenging but achievable.
Erdman Anthony provides ongoing MEP design for Bloomin’ Brands as it continues to grow its restaurant portfolio.