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Leon Williams Contractors dishes on some current restaurant design trends

Restaurant design changes as East Tennessee appetites persist

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Americans love to eat. They especially love eating at restaurants. Americans now spend more money each year dining out than they do preparing their own meals at home.

This provides a wealth of opportunities in the Knoxville area – for food suppliers, beverage companies and restaurateurs big and small. It creates opportunities for Leon Williams Contractors, too. Our restaurant design-build services have been used by franchises and for higher-end independent restaurants, too. But whether you are a franchise operator or building the private restaurant of your dreams, you need to stay on top of ever-changing American dining habits and demands. Now that 2018 is halfway done, here’s a quick look at four restaurant trends that will likely drive design-build approaches. Some may be fleeting, but some are likely here to stay.

Pickup and delivery: It can be an annoyance when circling a packed parking lot to see spots reserved for “pick-up” customers. But those customers are becoming the lifeblood of an industry eager to keep pace with burgeoning meal-delivery services. Restaurant designs will increasingly add parking and integrate more pickup stations, to serve both third-party delivery companies as well as those who want to pop in and out with a full meal to take home.

Noise reduction: Decibel readings at some restaurants actually enter the harmful range, and it’s a common complaint YOU HAVE TO YELL AT YOUR DINING COMPANIONS to engage in even sporadic conversation. Add a mediocre jazz trio, and you might as well resort to sign language or semaphore. The reasons vary, as do the solutions. In a move toward sleeker restaurants, designers have axed drapes, luxurious upholsteries and carpeting that used to absorb sound. Tile, steel and blonde wood, not so much. As the problem persists, expect restaurant design to include softer wall coverings, acoustical tile and carpets.

Local, local, local: Be it in appearance or on the menu, diners want a reflection of their local culture and cuisine in their favorite eateries. We’re not talking about country kitsch-laden walls a la Cracker Barrel. We mean more along the lines of repurposed native wood, or displays by local artists or photographers. Budding restaurateurs may consider display cases of local products offered on the menu: Think Benton’s bacon, Blackberry Farm baguettes, or local honey. People want to feel a local connection to their food.

Tabletop payment: More restaurants are going to try to more subtly incorporate those tabletop terminals into their décor. They are rather cumbersome to some diners, but many appreciate there is no need to give up their credit card to a stranger for five minutes. They can also be used to distract kids with games and leave reviews, and as a glance at any Yelp account will show, people love to leave reviews. Almost as much as they enjoy dining out.

Ultimately, you decide how you want your restaurant to sound, feel and operate. We can guide, and be guided, every step of the way. Contact Leon Williams Contractors today for the best restaurant design-build options in East Tennessee.

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Eight ways we use tech to keep your design-build project on time, under budget

Construction management software adds vast efficiencies

Modern construction sites are home to ever-evolving technology to keep projects on time and under budget.

Construction-technology-Leon-Williams-Contractors

There are drones, heads-up displays and smartphones that can be used to record progress or problems. At LWC, we use various types of technology to make sure our design-build projects proceed smoothly for you, be it a church, restaurant or retail project.

One of the most effective pieces of technology used at Leon Williams Contractors to ensure your design-build project proceeds with ease is construction management software. Such software can help owners, project managers and superintendents track and monitor construction progress on any site.

Here are ways we put the software to use for you to ensure your East Tennessee design-build project is well managed and delivered on time:

  1. Superintendents can save time with automated reporting features. This replaces old-fashioned paperwork, and means our clients and customers save money.
  2. Photos and videos can be directly uploaded to a project report, detailing any safety issues, weather delays or inventory issues.
  3. Site workers can be warned in real-time about approaching hazardous weather that may delay the project or pose a safety threat.
  4. Subcontractor activity and obligations can be tracked via a daily reporting feature.
  5. Safety protocols can be closely tracked to ensure adherence.
  6. Superintendents, owners and contractors can view job site progress remotely.
  7. Daily reports can be professionally collated and shared with all necessary parties.
  8. Requests for information and submittals can be tracked and send out automatic reminders to prevent missing answers and falling behind schedule.

Construction field management software is just one way we deliver the most economical, effective and flawless design-build projects in East Tennessee and beyond. Contact Leon Williams Contractors today for all your design-build needs.

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Leon Williams Contractors to Renovate Cafeteria for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm to overhaul Crossroads Dining Hall

MARYVILLE, Tennessee. – April 24, 2018 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, has been hired to renovate the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s (UTC) main student cafeteria, UTC Crossroads Dining Hall.

Everything, except the restrooms, in the roughly 13,000-square-foot dining hall will undergo a complete renovation. All the furniture, food stations and fixtures will be replaced, and new features will be added to the dining experience, including a Mongolian grill concept and a sushi machine.

“Crossroads is the main dining hall on campus, so it’s important for our student-life experience to have a place where students enjoy eating,” said Tyler Forrest, associate vice chancellor for budget and finance. “This renovation will help us expand what Crossroads offers while also providing a pleasant setting for students and teachers alike.”

Leon Williams Contractors, which has worked with UTC Dining on 13 previous projects, will begin work on Crossroads Dining Hall in May.

“We are grateful to be asked to renovate this space, which we were asked to build in 2011,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “We’re blessed that UTC Dining believed in our work so much that they want us to undertake another project for this dining hall.”

The company expects to complete the renovation in August, before the fall 2018 semester begins.

“In addition to the new dining options and interior makeover, there will be a new kitchen exhaust system and we’ll be adding more windows to bring more natural light into the dining room area,” Hawkins said. “Students who are attending UTC in fall 2018 will be able to dine at what will essentially be a completely new Crossroads Dining Hall.”

About Leon Williams Contractors

An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area.

For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Heather Ripley
Ripley PR
865-977-1973
hripley@ripleypr.com

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UT and UTC contracts a tasty testament to Leon Williams’ understanding of the college dining scene

The college lunch lady is long gone, but students are eating better than ever

Long-gone are the days of the college-level lunch lady, passing out portions on a cafeteria plate.
Forget the meat-and-threes and fish Fridays on college campuses. College students today want choices, choices and more choices. And they love their tried-and-true brands like Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels. We have built those and more – Subway, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin’ Donuts among them – on the University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus.

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Our design-build firm has also built numerous restaurants on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus and are commencing a project that will bring a Dippers, Einstein Bros. Bagels and a Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) convenience store to a new dormitory complex.

We know what Vols and Mocs want, and we know how to build their favorite franchises. We also keep on top of campus dining trends to make sure we are ready to roll with any new concepts or opportunities that might come our way.

Here are five things to consider about college campus dining these days:

1. Options. Prospective students will take available food and dining options into account when deciding on a college. Thus the drive to transform and improve campus food options across the country.

2. Customization. Food allergies are on the rise and college kids want to customize their orders because of health or dietary concerns, explaining the lure of pizza places and sandwich shops with customizable options.

3. Demand. Food services directors take feedback seriously, and their restaurant selections will reflect demand. That may explain the meteoric rise of franchises like Starbucks and fast-food restaurants.

4. Grab and go. College life can be demanding and hectic, and students avoiding fast food still want to pop in and out of a place with a banana and juice or a coffee and muffin. Premade food options are in demand, and explain the prevalence of convenience-type stores like Provisions on Demand.

5. Cost. Traditional meal plans at colleges cost thousands of dollars a year, offering limited hours and heavy and hearty choices. College students these days want to set their own budgets and want access to lighter fare. Why wade through a cafeteria line when all you want is a bagel or simple sandwich?

Of course, trends come and go, but it’s likely the dining options we provide on campuses will be in demand for quite some time. We’ll be listening and keeping up with the food trends, and likely won’t rue the loss of the lunch line, and lunch lady, anytime soon.

See a sampling of our college dining work here, and contact us for more information on our campus design-build solutions.

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Leon Williams Contractors Helps Bring New Foothills Church to Life in Time for Easter

Foothills Church built by Leon Williams Contractors

Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm finishes brand new 33,000 square foot Foothills Church building

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – March 27, 2018 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, has completed construction of the new 33,000 square foot Foothills Church building in Maryville.

Foothills Church (FC) started in 2009 in a local school before moving into a former arcade and entertainment center in 2011. The new space, which will be, by attendance, Blount County’s largest church, will serve as an auditorium and creative space for the congregation’s Sunday services.

“It’s amazing to see what God has done at FC,” said Dr. Trent Stewart, pastor at Foothills Church. “We want people to know that FC is a place they can find hope and purpose. Our message to this city is simple: You Belong Here.”

Leon Williams Contractors has been involved with Foothills Church since it purchased a building formerly known as Thunderworld, helping FC transform the facility into an elegant space for children, families, and worship. Constructing a church with such a large capacity and with advanced technology meant that special considerations had to be made.

“There are a lot of moving parts on such a large project, and several teams have to work together to make it a reality,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “The entire audio, video and lighting setup is state of the art, and we had to work with Foothill’s Church’s audio/video consultant to ensure that the piping and conduit placement were considered during every step of the building process. We also had to ensure the sound equipment had clean power via isolation transformers so no interfering frequencies would disrupt the technology or those involved in a service. The final product of that teamwork really speaks for itself. When you walk into the auditorium, it’s impressive.”

To help with the flow of traffic, and since the church was limited to one point of ingress and egress, Leon Williams Contractors also included a traffic circle in the parking lot.

“One of the things you have to keep in mind when building a church with a large congregation is the flood of people that come in and out every Sunday,” Hawkins said. “It’s not like a restaurant where there is steady traffic in and out. Instead, you’ve got a couple hundred cars moving in and out almost all at once. The roundabout will help traffic flow with as little congestion as possible and gives them flexibility with traffic patterns.”

The building that was previously used for services will be turned into space for students, children, and the church’s preschool ministry called Launchpad.

Foothills Church will have their open house on April 1, Easter Sunday. Those interested in attending Foothills Church’s Easter service can attend the 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. service. More information can be found on the church’s website, foothillschurch.com.

“We’ve been blessed to see people find meaning in life and connect to God in a deeper way,” Stewart said. “We wanted to accommodate our growth, but also open up empty seats for people who aren’t here yet. This new building is really for them and our city, and we look forward to its completion this Sunday.”

About Leon Williams Contractors

An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area.

For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

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