Posts Tagged ‘restaurant renovations’

Grease Trap or Grease the Wheel- NBAT-The Kinder, Gentler, City Agency Offers Help for New Food Businesses

December 29th, 2010 No comments

The daunting task of negotiating the maze of city agencies has gotten easier. As reported in the New York Times article of December 28, 2010, before opening, a new food business might have to face up to 11 different departments, and secure up to 30 different permits, registrations, licenses, and certificates, and pass 23 inspections. The New Business Acceleration Team helps new restaurateurs through the jungle of the permitting process.

According to administration officials, the 200 establishments serviced so far, have opened, on average, 10 weeks faster than planned. Nice, considering how little free time is often offered in a new lease. Currently the team is comprised of four inspectors, plus supervisors from agencies that issue permits, like the Depart of Health, Department of Buildings, Fire Department and Landmarks. The hope is that at one point there will be a single restaurant license that would replace all others. A long range goal is something like a Mayor’s Office of Hospitality.

NBAT works with qualifying businesses to schedule and coordinate most required inspections and, when appropriate, to schedule multi-agency inspections on the same day. For example, NBAT works with the Bureau of Fire Prevention to ensure the timely submission of plans and equipment documentation as well as provide inspections regarding range hood devices and other hazardous installations. NBAT inspectors are also trained to conduct Department of Environmental Protection grease interceptor inspections ensuring that grease traps are correctly sized to handle grease discharged by cooking and kitchen equipment. NBAT works with the Depart of Health to ensure that all food service establishments are properly permitted and operating safely. NBAT, and the Department of Buildings, work together to ensure the safe and lawful use of buildings and properties while facilitating the issuance of Certificates of Occupancy and Place of Assembly permits.

The ideal participants in this program are generally; new restaurants, bars, bakeries or butcher shops seating 50 people or less. Qualifying bars must serve food. However Batali’s mammoth Eataly found a way to be serviced. While a new venture, it is hardly a small place, and ownership is hardly inexperienced. As always, there is a way around certain limiting requirements. Therefore I suggest all who are opening a new food business to seek this valuable help. For complete information, as well links to the specific city agencies involved, go to:

Good luck- get picked and get open quick.


October 2nd, 2010 No comments

Gossip and half baked notions about government rules and regulations run rampant in the restaurant business and restaurant brokerage. The inability to cipher truth from tall tales is often a recipe for ruin. Installing venting is a prime example. On average, for a five story building it costs $30,000, and a month or two for permits. The permit time is often absorbed within the rent concession period, so it is generally not a factor. Believing horror stories, tenants are often willing to pay $1000 a month or more in rent, to avoid putting in their own venting. Rent is the most critical factor for success at retail. Finding the right space in the right neighborhood at the right price is a difficult task in any economy. Only a limited number of landlords allow cooking in their buildings. This loss of logic in excluding a large swath of potential locations is inexplicable. A simple consultation with a kitchen engineer can result in massive savings in rent, and a much more expedient search for space.