Posted on


Supported by Atlas Metal, this episode hears SSA's president Ken Schwartz FCSI discuss the impact of Covid-19 on commercial restaurant design

As Covid-19 continues to impact the foodservice sector, FCSI provides solutions to the many challenges operators are facing with a new season of its Dynamic Design podcast. While previous episodes featured leading FCSI Professional member design consultants discussing key aspects of design, this season, again supported by Atlas Metal, focuses on individual sectors in foodservice, exploring how foodservice design must evolve in a post-pandemic environment.

The second episode in the season focuses on the future of foodservice design in commercial restaurants – a sector that has been devastated by a pretty much global lockdown for a number of months and is now slowly re-emerging back into life and serving customers again.

Our interviewee is one of the US – and indeed the world’s – leading design consultants in this field, Tampa, Florida-based Ken Schwartz FCSI of SSA– a hugely experienced restaurant designer and consultant who has worked with a number of the world’s top chefs and designed multiple restaurants that have won awards and set standards for many years.

You can hear the episode, below:

One of a kind

SSA, Schwartz tells us, has become known for its “one of a kind” restaurant designs over the years. “We look at projects holistically, so we can be incredibly creative. That always has the ‘wow factor’. But our creativity goes much deeper. We spend a lot of time thinking about systems – ventilation systems, refrigeration systems, air conditioning, heating, fire prevention, lines, electrical systems, plumbing – all of these things compete for utility space and if they are not part of the planning it can create huge conflicts during the construction.”

Elsewhere in the podcast, Schwartz discusses the impact of Covid-19 on the restaurant sector at length – from how long he predicts the recovery will take (and the level of casualties) to the lessons that can be learned along the way; the future of the buffet and the innovative ways his team have been experimenting with retractable, adjustable sneeze guards for clients; and how FCSI has become a more sharing community, for the better of its members.

Further details:

This podcast series is supported by Atlas Metal, a trusted serving equipment partner with a hands-on approach to doing business. See how they’re making metal personal at

Season two:

In the first episode, Scott Reitano FCSI of Reitano Design Group discusses the design of commercial kitchens and front-of-house spaces for the education sector: from K-12 to colleges and universities.

In the second episode of series two, Christine Guyott FCSI of Rippe Associates addresses foodservice design in healthcare – from hospitals to senior living facilities.

Season one:

In episode one, season one of the series, William Caruso FFCSI (PP), founding partner of WC & Partners, Inc. and chair of FCSI The Americas looked at the importance of strategic and practical planning when leading a design-led foodservice project from a consultancy perspective.

In episode two, season one, Kristin Sedej FCSI of S2O Consultants, Inc, addressed how essential it is to have solid partnerships, when working on a design-led foodservice project from a consultancy perspective.

In episode three, season one, Joseph Schumaker FCSI of Foodspace discussed why it is essential to marry strong aesthetic design with robust functionality and the correct processes to achieve the right flow when designing a commercial kitchen.

In episode four, season one, Laura Lentz FCSI of Culinary Advisors looks at why the wellbeing of the end-user (from the back-of-house and front-of-house employees, to the customers) must come first when designing a commercial kitchen space.

The above episodes, and all additional FCSI podcasts, are also available to download on Podbean.

Michael Jones