Wolgast Blog

You Have Construction Service Options

Posted by Cory Anderson on 7/6/2021

constructionWhich construction delivery system is best for your project?

There are several unique and distinctive methods for providing construction solutions. As a business owner you have the luxury of selecting the most beneficial and appropriate delivery system for your type of project.


The Owner hires one firm to provide architectural design and construction services in a phased approach.  The design/builder becomes the single-source that is responsible for designing the building, estimating the budget, hiring the subcontractors and coordinating the schedule to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.

It’s the design/builder’s sole responsibility to complete the project to the client’s satisfaction.  The architect and contractor are the same entity, which eliminates misunderstandings as they collaborate throughout the design process.  The design/builder becomes the owner’s advocate securing multiple bids for each trade and leading them through site planning, permitting, design, value engineering and construction.  The phased approach provides economical/budget information early for the owner to decide if the project is a go or no-go.

Design/build is suitable for busy owners who don't have the time to oversee construction.  It’s also a fast-track method or a fast construction process for projects with a tight schedule.

Construction Management

A construction manager’s (CM) role as part of the project team is to provide estimating and constructability review during design, and cost, time and quality control during construction.  The client establishes their team of architect, CM and owner’s representative at the onset of the building concept.  The architect is responsible for defining the building through drawings and specifications while the CM regulates and monitors the schedule, budget, materials and performance of the subcontractors.  The owner thoroughly informed by these professionals, can then make educated decisions about his or her project.

The owner must be willing to be involved in the process because by using the CM method each trade contract is signed with the owner.  The CM method is most suitable for those who construction is a recurring activity and/or their project is very large, like schools and retail chains.

General Construction

Considered the design/bid/build method, the owner typically already has plans which were prepared by an outside architect/engineer when they seek a general contractor.  They choose their general contractor by one of three methods, 1) negotiating with one or more contractors of their choice, 2) selecting a group of contractors to bid and then accepting the lowest bid, 3) advertising for a broad variety of bids and accepting the lowest.

For clients who have a simple construction project, general construction is likely the appropriate construction solution.  It’s also the right choice when it’s necessary to bid and then build a project based upon completed plans and specifications.  However, this method leaves little room for correction of design or programmatic errors, if any exist.


The contractor finances, builds and leases a new facility back to a qualified owner, allowing him or her to focus on his or her business.  This is the best option for businesses that are faced with the need to expand their floor-space while at the same time minimize the risk involved with tying up capital in construction costs.

Business owners who qualify and currently have all their working capital in their business without a budget for building their new space are candidates for leaseback.  By choosing leaseback, they can move their business to a prime location and get the space tailored to their design needs.  The owner has the option to purchase at a future date when the business warrants the investment.

Still not sure which one works best for you? Call us to discuss your options.  At Wolgast Corporation, all systems are in place to provide the most appropriate delivery method. 

Tags: Medical Office Construction, Design/Build, Professional General Contractor, Schools, Construction Management, the Wolgast Way, Restaurant Construction, Leaseback, Dental Office Construction, Manufacturing Construction

How Can Restaurant Brands Drive Business Thru Their Parking Lots?

Posted by Cory Sursely on 2/16/2021

side-by-side-drive-thru2Covid-19 has impacted many industries, but the restaurant industry could arguably have had the biggest impact to their operations. Especially in Michigan, with dine-in shut down longer than any other state. Most of those restaurants near our office with drive-thrus were backed up to the road before, during and following peak times. Should national restaurant brands of quick serve (QSR), fast casual, and casual dining restaurants be planning for a future with less dining-in and more business taking place in their parking lots due to societal shifts and the convenience of third-party delivery? Some brands are ramping up with multiple drive-thru windows to filter through customers even more quickly. If they don’t have space for a drive-thru or a drive-up/pick-up window, they have set up their parking lot for pick-up service or a walk up area inside the door.

According to NRN Magazine in their article, “COVID Is Forcing Restaurants to Rethink, Modernize Drive-Thru Lanes” from 10/5/20, “For decades, drive-thru lanes have been the main driver of sales at fast-food chains, generating anywhere from 60% - 70% of sales.” They were speaking specifically about QSR, but there could be value in investing in renovated or added pick-up service for many fast causal or casual dining service types.

Double or triple-drive thrus are good for filtering a lot of customers through for those restaurants that have the room and technology to organize distribution this way. Some QSRs are even considering if they need as big of dining room going forward, thinking it may be more effective to take that space to add an additional drive-thru. However, if operations aren’t set up for taking orders through a speaker, as most Casual Dining restaurants aren’t, a drive-up window for picking up orders (no on-site ordering) may be a lucrative addition and safer for servers so they aren’t trying to match a car with an order while diners without a parking spot circle the drive during busy peak times. Otherwise, labeling parking spots for pick-up distribution will set up a restaurant even when dining rooms can open back up. We don’t know how the pandemic will effect dining once it’s considered over or how much third-party delivery will continue to grow.

What is involved with creating your own drive-up or drive-thru window? We would have to consider the site, the space available, and municipal regulations to create a design and then construct. Chiptole’s CFO stated in “Chains Find Drive-Thrus Worthy Investment” article on restaurantbusinessonline.com that it costs $70,000 to invest in their drive-thrus, but they generate 10-15% higher volume at each location. For them the expense is worth the investment.

Working with a general contractor, like Wolgast, that is experienced with prep and installation of single or double-drive thrus, will help you to quickly get set-up with very little, to no, down time. Wolgast is the Premiere Restaurant Contractor in Michigan having worked with numerous national brand corporations and franchisees. There is a learning curve for a contractor who hasn’t worked with drive-thrus before. Our Director of Restaurants, Eric Schwartzly, said, “operationally, it takes some time to understand the flow through the traffic lane and picking up the food”, but we can help you figure it out. Additionally, we can help with site selection for future locations or designing added drive-thru operations to meet municipal regulations and corporate’s guidelines.

Your Turn: Restaurant Operators, between delivery service popularity and a shift toward convenience for families, could parking lots and pick up windows become as important as dining rooms? What kind of questions do you have regarding enhancing your restaurant’s parking lot delivery?

Tags: Restaurant Construction

How to Franchise a Restaurant from a Construction Perspective

Posted by Cory Sursely on 10/7/2015

FranchiseFranchising a new business is exciting, but it also requires a significant amount of forethought to prepare for a variety of scenarios that a franchisee could encounter. Obviously, your lawyer and consultants can provide the legal and contractual elements of franchising, but as a restaurant construction specialist, we’re more versed with the building design and construction details that you’ll need to establish. Below we offer advice for you to consider during franchise development.

The cost of construction changes in each market. Larger markets obviously cost more for land and construction services. Taking into consideration your business forecast and break even analysis, some markets may not be a good return on investment due to the cost of construction. Break even information and estimated construction costs will help you determine which size markets will be lucrative and which to avoid.

Next is the standard building design. You’ll want to have a uniform look and feel to your restaurant for branding purposes, so you’ll need to establish your approximate square footage, floor plan, number of seats, décor colors, materials, decorations, kitchen equipment and whether or not to use a drive-thru.

Furthermore, if you’re planning to lease your building, it’s best to share your lease agreement with your architect and contractor prior to signing it. Doing so can save you frustration, time and money. Most lease hold requirements involve design and construction provisions that may restrict you from keeping your new space uniform to the brand. Also, your architect can design more efficiently when they know what the requirements are for a space and your contractor can provide value engineering to save money. Or you can search for a new space if you’re unable to do what you want.

Finally, when you establish how many locations you’re going to franchise, you can take advantage of bulk buying power to save money on construction materials such as carpet, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, cabinetry, etc.

Pleas call Michael Shepard, Business Developer, to get your questions answered or to learn more about our franchising and construction expertise. mshepard@wolgast.com, 989-790-9120.

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Tags: the Wolgast Way, Restaurant Construction

More to Franchising from a Construction Stand Point

Posted by Cory Sursely on 9/27/2011

Bob Evans in Petoskey, MIIn the August 2011 edition of the Michigan Restaurateur, there was a question posed in the “Ask the Expert” section regarding preparing a concept for franchising. While we understand that there is limited space in the publication and the question was asked of a qualified lawyer, we feel that there is more to add about franchising from a construction stand point.

How to Franchise a Restaurant

Being one of the largest restaurant contractors in Michigan, we have experience helping new and established franchises plan for growth. An additional key element to add to the trademark discussion in the article is to establish a standard building design including approximate size, floor plans, number of seats, drive-thru needs, kitchen equipment and décor.

Additionally, market size and cost of construction in certain markets should be taken into consideration while planning your growth. Some markets may not provide a good return on investment because of the elevated cost to construct there.

Furthermore, sharing your lease agreement with your architect and contractor before signing can save you time and money with each new restaurant. Many leases hold requirements involving design and construction provisions. Your architect can design more efficiently when they know what the requirements are for a space and your contractor can provide value engineering to save money.

Finally, when you establish how many locations you are going to franchise, you can take advantage of buying power to save money on carpet, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, cabinetry and other equipment or materials.

Wolgast Corporation provides expertise when it comes to working with varying municipality and health department regulations as well as cost effective design of a restaurant. Not only have we worked with McDonald’s and their franchisors for over 30 years, but have also built restaurants for Tim Hortons, Bob Evans, Applebee’s, Biggby Coffee, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Uno’s Pizzeria to name a few.

Call Michael Shepard, Business Developer, to learn more about our franchising and construction expertise. mshepard@wolgast.com, 989-790-9120.

See more about our restaurant construction projects.

Tags: Professional General Contractor, the Wolgast Way, Restaurant Construction, Good for Business