Our Time Gaining Perspective and Cultivating Relationships

Some foodservice design consultants walk into a custom fabrication shop . . .

. . . no, this is not the beginning of a really great joke, nope, just another day at the office for some members of Team Rippe.

Thanks to Brandon Hansen and his crew at Albers Commercial Kitchen Services, we were welcomed into – or invaded (however you want to look at it) – their shop last week. Members of our team had the opportunity to see custom fabricated pieces, in progress, from projects they had drawn. They also discussed various construction methods, asked questions about our standard details, and gained a better understanding of the fabricator’s job and perspective.

Zach wanted to go to Albers in an effort to “better understand the inner workings of a counter. It’s one thing to see something in 2D on a computer, but it always helps to see it in person.”

Rippe Touring Albers

Mark and Brandon discussing construction while others look at the in-progress cabinets.

You see, occasionally, we must admit that what we thought would work in our heads and on paper, doesn’t necessarily translate into real-life the way we envisioned. Having a positive relationship with Albers, helps us to do our job better. When we do our job better, Brandon, Jason, Tom and the team at Albers are better able to do quotes, produce accurate shop drawings, and build the final piece from our construction documents because they are clear and reliable.

While at the shop, the group was able to take a few measurements and photos of the framework for the counters he draws in Revit. “It was also helpful to understand the restraints and capabilities of their equipment because it will help to think ‘can this be done’ during design.”

Rippe Touring Albers

Serving counter in progress.

Our project managers also value having a good relationship with the fabricators we recommend and work with during the construction administration phase of a project. Getting a phone call with a problem AND potential solution is always preferred. “I’d much rather have a fabricator call and say, ‘Your drawings say you want this, but that doesn’t work because of this site condition. If I do this other thing instead, you will end up with a very similar result. Is that acceptable?’ It doesn’t serve anyone well when they don’t call at all and I see something that is unusable or detrimental to the efficiencies of an end user when I show up at the punchlist.” says Jill

During the visit, Ashley wanted to see the fabrication process and while there was unexpectedly able to “learn more about muffin fans than I ever thought I needed to know.” Which, some people may just get a confused look on their face, while others will be elated that foodservice design consultants even CONSIDER muffin fans!

Rippe Touring Albers

Check out these muffin fans!

And while we like to stay on-task and all business, we did learn that the team at Albers does have a sense of humor!  You see when the inspector came through and said they had to label ALL of their buildings (some of which seen in the picture below) they decided to name one of their buildings the White House!

Rippe Touring Albers

Millwork, Stainless Cabinets . . . where’s the White House?!

Thanks again to the Albers crew – I’m sure we’ll bother you again soon!

~Team Rippe

Kitchen Circulation: Reflections of a Foodservice Designer

When I was in 6th grade I was assigned the greatest project ever – to design and draw my dream home! What could be better? As I start to think about this dream home of mine, I know that it’ll be nothing like my parent’s house. . . it’s so tiny and doesn’t even have a pool! My house is gonna be HUGE! And it’ll have a movie theatre, a mini golf course, a roller rink, a trampoline room and of course, a swimming pool.

I sit down and start to draw my dream home, and it looks a little something like this. . .(only not nearly as nice because I was using colored pencils and a giant piece of poster board).

Dream House

Well, then I grew up, became a foodservice designer and realized that I would never live in said dream house. Looking back, I have to laugh at my design skills at the age of 12, because I included absolutely zero corridors or hallways! Just a room connected to a room connected to a room connected to the POOL!

It’s funny because today when I start to lay out a kitchen, I begin by thinking about traffic patterns and corridors. In the world of hospital foodservice design, there are four main traffic patterns.

  1. Deliveries entering the kitchen
  2. Tray carts to patient floors
  3. Soiled tray carts to the dishroom, and
  4. Staff/visitors to the retail serving area

These traffic patterns have a major impact on the overall foodservice layout, as well as the inter-department corridors.

If you think about all of the activity that’s happening in a kitchen, it’s a lot. People are not only working within their assigned work zones, but they are traveling to storage areas or walk-in boxes to gather ingredients/supplies and collecting soiled pans/utensils and dropping them in the dishroom. They need a way to travel about the department without disrupting the work of others. They need circulation . . . they need corridors!

That said, we do aim to utilize space in an efficient manner by dedicating as much as we can to the actual functions of the kitchen. Even still, we typically figure a 30% circulation factor on our kitchen designs. That means that just about 1/3 of your kitchen will be dedicated to circulation. The reason being is that we want to make sure that we create a distinction between “traffic aisles” and “work aisles”.

A traffic aisle is utilized for just that – traffic. It should not be an area where people are working. From a safety perspective, it’s dangerous to work in a traffic aisle, which is why we also include work aisles. Work aisles are used for working – slicing, dicing, assembling, cooking, baking, brewing, etc., not for pushing or parking carts.

Bottom line here is that, when designing a kitchen, it’s important to consider the corridors – the circulation required for employees to move around to complete their work. In addition, it must include both traffic aisles and work aisles to promote employee safety and efficiency. Unlike my dream home, a kitchen cannot be laid out as a room connected to a room connected to a room.


Christine Guyott is honored with FER’s 2017 Industry Service Award

In February, Christine Guyott was honored with Foodservice Equipment Reports’ Industry Service Award. On the eve of the ceremony, she spoke about her career and why healthcare will always be her professional passion. Enjoy this FCSI Interview with Michael Jones.

FCSI Interview w CG-TakingCare_2017-2-cropped Read interview

“It takes a long time to learn how to be a consultant. And it’s hard to be the expert in the room until you have the experience behind you.”

FCSI-The Americas 2016 Project Showcase Features Two Rippe Projects


It is always an honor to be included in the annual FCSI Showcase publication. This year’s edition features two Rippe projects– Surly Brewing Co. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights, Illinois. These projects were selected not only for their excellence in commercial foodservice design and operational functionality, but also for their clever solutions to a range of challenges on the road to meeting their client’s goals. Read more about these two projects and see some great photos.

150323_006_tiny pizzaoven-3_palos_pch91815-1378-tiny                                                  Surly Brewing Co.                     Palos Community Hospital

Dining Experience Transformation at UND Wilkerson Commons

FE&S Feature Project September 2016

UND Grand Forks – Wilkerson Commons transformed the dining experience with a culinary support center and contemporary food-themed platforms.

wilkerson-dining-center-garden-greens_smWilkerson Hall was the largest dining center serving five surrounding residence halls housing 1,300 students, but it had the lowest participation. One of the challenges facing the design team was to enhance the perception of food at Wilkerson Hall which was previously seen as not equal to other venues on campus. The foodservice design needed to be impactful enough to change the students’ minds. This was accomplished with display cooking at each station and by giving each individual food station its own identify based on the menu items being served.

Another challenge was that, given the significant investment, the university wanted to maximize flexibility of spaces to provide a variety of functions beyond dining. One of the ways this was accomplished was by designing parts of the building, such as the kitchen and serving area, to be shut down at certain times while other areas, such as seating, could remain open. The stone hearth pizza concept in the main serving area was designed to support this flexible use by incorporating an after-hours serving window that faces the dining room. Read more here…

Key considerations for not using used equipment in a new project

By Steve Carlson with Trish Jass, Senior Equipment Specialist

As food service designers and consultants, we are asked frequently about the possibility of using used equipment as a way to save money and meet project budgets. Related questions that come up during these discussions include: What happens to the equipment in restaurants that go out of business? and What types of foodservice equipment are “better bets” when it comes to buying used foodservice equipment? Since we don’t always have ready answers to these questions, some research was in order to formulate more accurate and less biased answers.

Consider the following:

  1. The best used equipment is equipment that you already own, because you know the service history and the condition of that equipment better than anyone else.
  2. Internet sites that sell used equipment (such as eBay) generally have no guarantee if the equipment is in good working order, no verification of service history, and no warranty.
  3. Used refrigerators may have refrigerant that is no longer available or that may soon be obsolete.
  4. Used equipment will not give the value of current Energy Star benefits such as better energy efficiency and lower utility and maintenance costs.
  5. Used equipment may not have important safety features found on newer models such as a volt release (required restart) for slicers during power interruption and mixer bowl guards for operator safety.      Hobart Mixers new vs old
  6. If you need to operate the equipment 24 x 7, you will surely need reliable equipment to help maintain a high customer satisfaction rating.
  7. If your facility performs its own maintenance on equipment, it would make sense to standardize manufacturers and model numbers, so the maintenance staff is trained on how to repair this equipment and can stock needed parts.
  8. It may be difficult to find used equipment with the preferred electrical configuration.

What types of equipment are “better bets” when it comes to buying used equipment?

We consulted a number of foodservice equipment suppliers to help answer this question. It’s not uncommon for equipment suppliers to use used equipment in some projects, the usual instances for this would be in a small independent restaurant and not in facilities that operate 24 hours per day. All the equipment dealers agreed that the fewer moving parts, the better. Mobile equipment such as dish racks, shelving, or stainless steel worktables are best, since they have few movable parts or mechanical/electrical requirements. Equipment suppliers do, on occasion, use used cooking equipment, provided it is a national brand, and they get it from someone they trust. However, all agreed that they avoid using used refrigeration equipment and ice machines, because generally when these end up on the used market, it is because they aren’t functioning or are near the end of their life.

What happens to the equipment in restaurants that go out of business?

In many cases, the landlord has made the investment in the restaurant equipment and will keep the kitchen equipment in place, hoping to lease the space to another restaurant operator. In other cases, used equipment ends up on an Internet bid site.

Keep options open through design and bidding

If you are considering using used kitchen equipment for a new project, we suggest completing the design work with the assumption that any equipment that is not existing would be new. When the equipment is bid, we would ask the bidders for voluntary alternates including any used equipment they may have that they could propose as a substitute for some of the specified new equipment.

What do you think? We welcome your thoughts and comments.