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Missy Robbins

Ep. 5: Elements of Restaurant Design & Buildout with Missy Robbins

Guest Missy Robbins discusses her approach to designing restaurants.

Opening Soon is a weekly show about the journey of opening a restaurant featuring conversations with some of the world’s greatest chefs, restaurateurs and the vendors that help take their business from an idea to opening soon. Opening Soon is hosted by the founders of Tilit NYC, Jenny Goodman and Alex McCrery, who bring their unique perspective as hospitality industry insiders and many questions as the former proprietors of a now shuttered restaurant. Each week we'll extract the strongest takeaways from our guest interview so that if you don't get the chance to listen you can still get the drop.


 Special thanks to Missy Robbins of Lilia and Misi for her design & buildout insight.

1. Work the aesthetic into the parameters of the building. Look at the potential of the location. You should celebrate the original details of the space but make sure that it is still functional to your needs.

2. Bring your designer or architect with you when looking at potential spaces. They can see the things that you might not be able to, as well as offer a financial perspective on costs. Additionally they will have access to records of past applications of the space, so you can learn from the previous business’ mistakes. This is also a good method of interviewing potential architects, since it’s a good way to understand how they approach projects and what their ideas are. 

3. Keep space parameters in mind. It’s hard to gain perspective from a 2D blueprint. An office that looks large enough on paper might hardly be big enough for one person in reality; you’ll have to find the right balance of space between, for example, seating and back-of-house prep space. Some things you won’t be able to fix once they’re done, but it’s ultimately a matter of making it work.

4. When you have to make cuts for the sake of budget, do it in a way that doesn’t sacrifice your vision or aesthetic. Usually only you and your designer will notice certain changes, like switching out an expensive light fixture for a cheaper one, or changing an element for functionality purposes. Your designer will know what changes will really affect a space or not, and can help you make the best decisions to stick to your overall vision.

5. Some of your branding might change in the process, and that’s ok. Choosing the right building and designing the space is the first priority. Through the building process you’ll gain a better understanding of the space which will guide your decisions for smaller aspects of branding, like tableware.  


You can find Opening Soon on iTunes, Stitcher, or anywhere else you get your podcasts. Also visit us on Heritage Radio Network, we're live every Tuesday at 2pm EST!
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