Managing the fizz

When Northampton-based distributor, Dine By Design, was approached in April 2014 to fit out a kitchen ventilation system for the Coca-Cola Enterprises office in Milton Keynes, little did it realise this was the start of something much bigger.

The tender from the construction contractor initially only specified an extraction system design and installation. However, the builder soon turned to Dine By Design to explain what would be required for an entire air conditioning system in a catering area.

The builder was intending to project manage the creation of the new onsite staff canteen itself. The area earmarked for the new canteen was an extension of the office space into the distribution unit and warehouse area. The canteen required a server point, with a self serve area so staff can bring their own food in as well.

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When Dine By Design saw the whole kitchen specification, it believed it could offer its expertise to assist with the task. After a tendering process and nearly six months of discussions, the distributor duly won the contract in September 2014.

“We could take their mind off worrying about the project,” said Dine By Design’s then kitchen development manager, Stephen Ryan. “They could consult us about the legislation they were required to meet.”

Straightaway the firm discovered several elements in the design which would benefit from adjustment, particularly with the ventilation and air conditioning system.

The distributor offered other advice to help refine the original tender too, such adjusting the specification for the flow of the counter. “The issue was that some of the design would not have met regulations,” Ryan described. “So the builder and end user loved that we were providing an advisory service and taking all that stress off their hands. They also liked the fact that I used to work in these kitchens, so I know what I’m talking about.”

With a project that generated up to £5 million in outlay, Coca-Cola Enterprises was trying to ensure costs were kept to a minimum. As it was relocating another site to the Milton Keynes technical and service centre, it wanted to re-use some of the existing equipment. This included heated ceran display units.

“We advised them that they would not be able to take the ceran glass out of the existing counter, as they were secured and the glass would have cracked,” said Ryan.

“That would have added another six weeks to the project. We also convinced them that new cerans would look much better in a new counter, and so the new equipment was approved,” he added. [[page-break]]

Dine By Design also managed to obtain approval to install some new Foster refrigeration, but another existing fridge was still brought over from the old site – though Ryan reports this is due to be replaced. “We weren’t allowed to wander from the specification too much,” commented Ryan. “At one point we suggested moving the undercounter fridges to the middle because it would be easier from an electric point of view, otherwise we would have to drag power all the way down. But we could not do that in the end because that was how the design had been specified.”

Furthermore, a dishwasher moved from the previous site arrived broken, which Dine By Design’s engineers assisted with fixing onsite.

The distributor found the project challenging, as there were many different parties involved. Dine By Design therefore shouldered a lot of the project management to ensure that the kitchen was successfully completed. Ryan said: “Although we had to get approval from several other project partners, we took on various revisions and said we’d do it for them.”

Dine By Design’s total project scope ended up being the installation of a full servery counter, gas interlock, some fabrication elements, the design and build of the extraction system in the back of house, plus installing the refrigeration units and an Amerex fire suppression system and relocating some existing equipment.

The timeframe was also tight, with just three days allocated for the installation at the end of January this year. “We had to create harmony between the old and new elements and everything had to be right on time,” recalled Ryan. “The challenge was the project management: double checking and reporting everything and undertaking risk assessments. All the equipment had to be delivered on a certain day at a certain time.”

Dine By Design’s managing director, Stephen Crouch, commented: “It is much easier to put in a completely new kitchen, where everything is bespoke, made to fit.”

He credits the company’s three experienced service engineers as being instrumental to the project being finished on schedule.

Ryan added: “The highlight was seeing the area go from just being a floor space to a working kitchen. But all the building and installation teams were happy with the result and thanked us for all our help.”

The kitchen now caters for hundreds of Coca-Cola Enterprises staff, serving a wide range of home-made food freshly prepared onsite – anything from cottage pie to fajitas. Dine By Design is on hand to provide further advice and manage the maintenance of the kitchen.

 

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