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Bonchon Chicken Comes to Grand Rapids

Bonchon Chicken Comes to Grand Rapids

Bonchon Chicken, Korean Fried Chicken & Wings, is an established restaurant franchise in many metropolitan cities around the U.S. Now West Michigan has one right here in Grand Rapids!

Pinnacle Construction, in their retail development of Knapp’s North on the East Beltline, attracted Michigan franchise owner, Randell Ganchua. Randell was looking to open his first of many Bonchon restaurants on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids.

Pinnacle Construction engaged r.o.i. Design to help design the exterior façade of the retail development as well as coordinate the interiors for Bonchon. Using established standards, r.o.i. Design created furniture plans, lighting design, finish selections, construction documents, coordination with kitchen designers and advocacy for the owner.

Bonchon had their soft opening in mid-November, and the reviews are great. We look forward to their continued success and expansion.

For more about Bonchon, go to bonchon.com/grand-rapids-mi.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery Moves Across the Parking Lot

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery Moves Across the Parking Lot

Breweries and their eateries often want their space to feel like their guests are joining them in the warehouse while they are brewing beer. But Gravel Bottom Brewery Ada, MI had to move to a brand-new storefront to allow for the downtown Ada development project to put in a street.

All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery

First Companies’ Craig Schroeder called r.o.i. Design looking for design help to make the new space feel more like a brewery warehouse.

Owner Matt Michiels really liked his existing space and was hoping to re-create the look and feel. To r.o.i. Design that meant a warm paint scheme, industrial warehouse lights, reclaimed wood and vintage looking brick. We asked them to hang used wood pallets from the ceiling to add texture and hide some acoustic treatment.

All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery

Matt added an amazing concrete bar top to his new bar, as well as some incredible beer.

Congratulations to Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery and First Companies for making a place that looks like it has been in Ada for decades!

From 13 “On Your Side”, May 11, 2018 edition.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery in Ada is reopening after moving to a new location.

The brewery moved into a larger space as a part of the Ada Village redevelopment project. But, the company says that the new location still offers a familiar, cozy feel that it has become known for as the neighborhood brewery.

“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making this feel similar to what the other Gravel Bottom was: welcoming and comfortable,” said owner Matt Michiels…

For more about Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery visit: gravelbottom.com


All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery

GVSU’s Fresh Food Co. Commons “Re-Freshed”

GVSU’s Fresh Food Co. Commons “Re-Freshed”

GVSU’s original “cafeteria” was built more than 40 years ago and is still the largest food service facility on campus. It feeds a lot of people but needed to respond to the changing campus and its customers. More seating capacity at Fresh Food Co. and upgraded finishes meant planning for a 2016 summer remodel.

r.o.i. Design, who also designed the GVSU Laker Store in 2014 and its adjacent food court, was engaged by the University through Preferred Construction to create the design.

Einstein Bros. Bagels was moved out to a different location giving the Commons a fourth dining room.

GVSU-Commons_0028The design team, which included Campus Dining, GVSU Facilities, Preferred Construction and r.o.i. Design, looked at the trends in college dining and the recent building projects on campus along with their customer’s preferences to create a design criteria that could be executed within the budget and timeline.

“GVSU has more than 25,000 students and commensurate staff, so a lot of food service customers who have a variety of preferences. In order to create options in dining, it was agreed that the four rooms would each have a unique feeling so guests could have different experiences within the same facility. We agreed to organize the room designs around four ideas, one per room: water, earth, fire and wind,” says Mary Witte, President of r.o.i. Design. “The dining rooms already had some features that lent themselves to these notions, so we were able to build on what was already there and create something intentional and fun.”

GVSU-Commons_0067Each room received new flooring, new lighting, new millwork features, new paint accents and new furnishings that aligned with the “theme” of the room.

“Community Tables” were added to allow for larger groups to gather. Custom lighting enhanced the distinct look of each room.

The food line was enhanced with new equipment to allow Campus Dining the option to offer more variety in their menu.

GVSU-Commons_0053r.o.i. Design’s initial observations of customer’s response to the remodel has been very satisfying and we are proud that our design contributions met the goals of the Fresh Food Co. at The Commons at GVSU.

The Chef’s Table – A Multi-Course Experience for All the Senses

The Chef’s Table – A Multi-Course Experience for All the Senses

The documentary, “The Chef’s Table” (A Netflix Production), features six chefs and their restaurants. Each of them considered to be one of the best 50 in the world, they were chosen for their exotic tastes, remote locale and menu, passion or untiring curiosity.

As a designer, watching the program, watching the creative chefs, watching the food, I couldn’t help but look at their choices for the interiors of the restaurants. This study recommitted my focus on five elements in restaurant design. There is no other type of space where we design for all the senses.


Like a play, the lighting in a restaurant puts focus on the players. While in fine dining this could mean spots on table tops, with only enough other light for guests to find their way to restrooms and exits. In most restaurants, this means a variety of light levels and light sources: the table pendant, the wall wash, the ambient overall up lighting. Lighting in a restaurant imitates theater.

Seating Layouts

Depending on menu, casual to fine, the seating takes a cue. We are seeing very few deuces (two top) tables being used in restaurant planning today. Quite the reverse, we are seeing community tables and larger tables being used that enhance the sense of gathering and family. The traditional booths are being replaced by settees and wall benches which gives restaurateurs more flexibility in seating groups of all sizes. Not only do these seating trends reflect current lifestyle preferences, they are great for showing off plates and presentation.


There are at least three categories in restaurant interior finishes:

  • The interior finishes that disappear – the food is main stage, 1 to 4 star
  • The interior finishes that have to tell a subtle story, supporting the brand of the restaurant. No star to 1 star.
  • The interior finishes that have to be more exciting than the food because they are delivering an average menu with good taste.


Mirroring the levels of finish, decoration varies based on the menu.

  • Minimal, but fine art, commissioned art, wall finishes used as décor for the starred restaurants.
  • Narrative, biographical and branded interiors for the “no star” but up-and-coming environments.
  • Entertaining, graphic design as décor, messaging and color is the key to the $10 a plate eatery.

Table top

What the diner sees as they are seated and as they eat leaves the greatest impression, mostly subliminally. The determined chef doesn’t want to distract the diner from the scent and look of the food. Fresh flowers and candles are appropriate as long as they don’t have scent. For the lower plate price restaurant, it is an opportunity for advertising. But in all cases, it is an opportunity to help the customer understand what is important at the restaurant.

“The Chef’s Table” showed us the chef’s journey and process. They also gave us clues as to how the interior supports the goal of the menu and experience. Napkins folded and measured for accuracy? An extravagant abundance of non-smelly flowers? A display of objects from the region? A methodical hanging of historical textiles or significant signatures?

Everything is intentional, everything is about the experience.

Watch the trailer of “The Chef’s Table”:


Can’t Live with Them, Can’t Live without Them: The Design Team

Can’t Live with Them, Can’t Live without Them: The Design Team

Northern Michigan Pediatric Dentistry-A design build team- r.o.i. Design was the interior designer.

Northern Michigan Pediatric Dentistry. A design build team- r.o.i. Design was the interior designer.

Who is the design team?

The building architect, interior designer, site engineer, landscape architect, structural engineer, civil engineer, casegood designer, furniture designer, and art consultant all make up the design team.

Construction managers are dealing with a variety of team types:

One Stop Shopping

Large architect and engineering firms who offer “one stop shopping”, everything in one company, linear accountability. Convenient but not always transparent. When a design team has a bundle of work with a contractor, it is easier for the GM to negotiate changes since they are funneling a quantity of work to a firm.

The Inn at Harbor Shores, r.o.i. Design was recommended by contractor as an industry specialist.

The Inn at Harbor Shores, r.o.i. Design was recommended by contractor as an industry specialist.

Industry Specialist

A key player (designer or architect) who offers unique experience in a construction type: charter schools, national retail chains, senior care, mid-scale hotels, higher education, specialty medical, etc. , who recommends a group of independents they or the contractor manages to fill out the roster of all the professional design requirements.

GVSU Laker Store, a customer directed design team. r.o.i. Design worked as planners and interior designerds.

GVSU Laker Store, a customer directed design team. r.o.i. Design worked as planners and interior designers.

Customer Team

When there are pre-existing relationships that have to be managed and the contractor works with the customer to fill out the professional needs of the project with a variety of firms.


The “design-build” team is assembled by the contractor and the customer directs all design criteria to the contractor who then works with their choice of professionals to support planning, produce design, architecture, engineering and all it’s documentation.

So what is the ideal “design team”? It’s the one that works best for the project.

Experienced construction professionals understand that they can’t have just one process that will deliver the design on all their projects (unless the contractor only works with one building type). Experienced construction professionals know they have to have a variety of firms in their contact list and stay informed of changes in those firms, understanding their emerging strengths and successes on new projects.


r.o.i. Design works on several teams and team types. We understand the “R’s”: rates, relationships and relevance. We see successful design companies prosper when they can collaborate and adjust to changing criteria. We also see the importance of the construction manager who realizes the need for customers to be connected to the design process and their designers, and still be sure their budget and timeline are prioritized.


The R.O.I. in Restaurant Remodels

The R.O.I. in Restaurant Remodels

bombay-cuisine-02Consistently serving great food is the best way for a restaurant owner to keep customers coming back for more. However, lighting, cleanliness, wall décor and even the ambience are all things that your customer will notice. To offer the ultimate dining experience you need to appeal to every sense of your target customer. Remodeling your restaurant is part of an overall plan to increase business. The improvement plan puts good food at the top of the list. Second is the overall cleanliness and service. We recommend a regular maintenance program for cleaning and an appropriate staff training method be well established before making any changes to the décor.

If your food is great, your staff is friendly and you hold a high standard of cleanliness then you are ready to think about changes to the interior.

coho-cafeUndergo this process with three things in mind:

  1. The Menu—The atmosphere you intend to create should be indicative of the food you serve. It should complement the menu. Your brand is the basis for the entire experience.
  2. Budget and Scope—An interesting surrounding does not need to cost a fortune. Unique and creative solutions are always available and can set you apart from the rest. It is important to do enough so customers see your investment but maintain restraint so costs can be covered within a reasonable period of time. That’s good business planning.
  3. Your Customer—Establish who they are and what appeals to them. A family of four and a 25 year old single male will have a very different set of ideals and it’s important for a restaurant owner to be conscientious of that.

Remodeling for a restaurant means at least one of the following:

  • Changes in seating layouts and new furniture to fulfill the layout—The current trend consists of more bench seating, less traditional booths and more open café seating versus heavy dining arrangements.
  • Changes in finishes, flooring, walls and ceilings—Restaurants are showing lighting brighter interiors with a wide variety of finishes within rooms.
  • Changes in lighting—With the arrival of LED, clean and well lit rooms are a welcome “upgrade” for the customer.
  • Changes in wall décor—Technology has made it possible to have a variety of custom décor options that are restaurant or site specific. Avoid residential décor solutions. Build the brand.

A return customer is a return on investment. Happy dining.