Floor it!

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Altro Flooring

Flooring choices should be welcoming but also practical, as David Brailsford, new product introduction manager at Altro Flooring, explains

Restaurant flooring design goes beyond simply selecting surfaces for people to walk on; it plays a crucial role in creating an appealing interior. But besides their aesthetic value, flooring choices also serve important functional purposes.

“Flooring choices affect how customers feel, but also staff wellbeing,” says David, “so we’d always suggest considering both front and back of house areas and how flooring can be used to create the best possible experience. Priorities would be that flooring is safe, clean and aesthetically pleasing, and there are plenty of products available that deliver on all those counts.”

Risk assessments

Risk assessments are likely to show that safety flooring is the smartest choice for customer areas, either counters or dining areas. “Modern flooring ranges combine slip-resistance and durability with a wide range of decorative options, such as the bright and modern colours of Altro Suprema, nature-inspired Altro Wood and the contemporary natural stones or modern textiles of Altro Illustra,” explains David. 

Looking to back-of-house, safety, or rather slip resistance, is going to be extremely important in a fast-paced environment with grease, spillages and more. In kitchen areas, David suggests looking for specialist safety flooring developed to handle anything a commercial kitchen can throw at it. For example, Altro Stronghold 30 achieves Altro’s highest rating for slip resistance (PTV ≥55, R12) and is designed to minimise risk in wet and greasy conditions for the lifetime of the flooring. “As well as helping to keep staff safe from slips, it also helps reduce their fatigue, thanks to its 3mm thickness which provides noise reduction and comfort underfoot.”

If time, cost and disruption are key considerations, then David recommends considering adhesive-free safety flooring. “Altro adhesive-free flooring saves up to 50% installation time compared to adhered safety floors and can be welded and walked on the same day, and at the end of its life can be removed easily, allowing it to be reused or recycled, but still offers all the durability and performance benefits of adhered safety flooring. Altro Stronghold 30, Altro Illustra and Altro Wood are all available as adhesive-free options.”

Wall options

As well as flooring, walling options should be considered too, with David referencing well-documented issues with ceramic tiles in hygienic environments. Instead, he recommends a hygienic wall sheet which can be installed quickly and which creates a hygienic joint between surfaces to prevent the build-up of bacteria, mould and dirt. “Altro Whiterock is a proven, high-performance, hygienic alternative to ceramic tiles that is impact-resistant, impermeable and grout-free with easy maintenance. With lots of colour choices beyond white too.” 

When you’re talking with shopfitters or installers about what products to use, David’s number one rule is to start with the risk assessment side and make sure safety features highly. “And also ask about the wide range of products available – you can have safety and aesthetics and cleanability in one product.”

Other things to ask about are slip-resistance ratings and making sure the slip-resistance is guaranteed to last the lifetime of the flooring, not just a thin top layer. “Ask about the installation process and timescales – adhesive-free options could minimise any required shutdown for refurbishment.” If you are looking at flooring and walling together, David recommends looking for a specialist system from one manufacturer that is designed to work together.

And finally, ask about durability, says David. “For example, choosing Altro Stronghold 30 and Altro Whiterock means you benefit from products with up to a 30-year guarantee and a 25-year life expectancy.”

Altro 01462 489 516 www.altro.com


As well as enhancing the design of a restaurant or takeaway, ceilings play a functional role too. London-based shopfitters Vision Shopfitters takes us step-by-step through some of the most popular options

Suspended ceilings

Suspended or false ceilings can completely transform the look of a room. By creating a void, any joists, ducts, pipes or wires can be hidden while, at the same time, they help conceal visual imperfections of the roof and allow easy access to the systems above for maintenance.

Suspended ceilings are quick and easy to install and allow for easy installation of all electrical and mechanical works. Using appropriate materials, can help minimise background noise and block out exterior noises to help people get a true feeling of the space. Different levels of ceiling treatments help create strong focal points and diffuse light.

Acoustic ceilings

Acoustic ceilings, as the name suggests, play an important role in reducing noise in busy dining areas. With effective sound absorption qualities, they reduce background noise to a minimum and create a pleasant dining atmosphere for customers.

Bulkhead ceilings

Bulkhead ceilings can give a contemporary and modern look to any restaurant. Bulkheads, i.e. sections of a ceiling that have been dropped or boxed-in, cover most of the structural and architectural works and help hide any imperfections and installation works above. The variation in ceiling height can help separate various areas of the restaurant, and help create special lighting effects.

Open ceiling

When the original ceiling height will not allow the installation of false or suspended ceilings, opting for an exposed restaurant ceiling design might be the only choice. They need professional planning and design, and older pipes and ductwork might need to be replaced to make them more aesthetically pleasing while all wires must be hidden away.

Vision Shopfitters 0208 518 4551 visionshopfitters.co.uk

Light it up

Proper lighting back-of-house ensures safety and efficiency while creating a comfortable working environment. Here are five top tips:

•  Install shatterproof lighting to avoid any broken glass which can cause health and safety issues.

• Select easy-to-clean lights, for example, recessed lights that can be wiped over.

• Select low heat emitting options – you want to produce illumination, not heat.

• As well as general lighting, add task lighting to provide more focused light for carrying out smaller jobs such as cutting fish.

• Choose energy efficient lighting to reduce electricity costs, and invest in timers that turn lights off at night, and or/motion sensor lights. 

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