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Library resources offer valuable restaurant tips

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Sometimes we are our own best customers. One of the perks of working for the library is the easy availability of mountains of pertinent business information and access to a group of skilled information professionals to help us make sense of it.

A case in point: the library administration decided to include a caf? in the Library Center, our new headquarters to open this fall at 4653 S. Campbell, south of the James River Expressway. Since we're more into books than bagels, we researched the subject in these very books, and other books and Web sites about the restaurant industry.

One thing our research showed us is that starting a restaurant from the ground up is a gamble, not something for food-service novices who are masters of library science, not master chefs.

We decided to contract with an independent vendor/operator to manage the caf?. We knew that an experienced restaurateur would have a lot to offer the library system.

Conversely, the library has a lot to offer private-sector food vendors: desirable demographics, strong customer loyalty and high traffic in a unique and distinctive environment. Many hours of research went into the request for proposal for the caf?.

You can view a copy of this document at

http://thelibrary.springfield.missouri.org/about/be-rfp.htm

Here are just a few of the books that will help fuel your restaurant dreams.

A compilation of some of the finest work by professional interior designers "Restaurant Interiors," 725.71 R, part of the Interior Design Library series, demonstrates atmospheres that cater to both the restaurant customer and owner.

A variety of regional styles and creative departures from the humdrum drive home the point that beauty and style do not have to be sacrificed to achieve functionality.

The tenor can range from hard-edged urban sophistication, to upscale elegance, to down-home comfort. Like ingredients in an entr?e, choices in lighting, graphic design, colors, fabrics, furniture and fixtures must blend into a perfectly palatable whole.

"Dining Design: Informal Restaurant Design," 747.8571 D, claims to be the first attempt to showcase the trend toward casual dining. Today's fast-paced lifestyle seems to leave in its wake a plentiful supply of consumers dependent on restaurants that offer affordable, relaxed dining.

This trend certainly is notable in many of the restaurants that have opened in Springfield in the past 10 or 15 years.

Materials throughout many such establishments are functional and low-maintenance.

Bakery and food preparation areas often are intentionally exposed. Architectural elements such as brick piers and roof trusses are accentuated, rather than hidden. Where possible, outdoor seating is available and take-out capability is discreetly provided.

Lighting tends to emphasize such elements as recessed down-lights, wall washers and sconces[[In-content Ad]]

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