The new restaurants popping up in Carson City offer hot food and quick service, but they’re actually complex structures that take a specialized understanding to build, according to Mike Fogal, chief operating officer of John Anderson Construction.
The Reno company and 30-year veteran of the industry has been making a name for itself building quick-service restaurants, including the new Panera in south Carson and the city’s second Arby’s off Highway 50. The company also recently constructed a McDonald’s in Dayton.
“I would say the particular challenges are plumbing and electrical,” Fogal told the Appeal.
He explained how quick-service restaurants need varieties of electrical power, but also special plumbing networks for grease and waste. In comparison, he said, some larger buildings are “tilt-ups” that have a lot of square footage but not the same level of complexity.
“It’s not uncommon to see 15 to 20 floor sinks in a McDonald’s,” Fogal said.
Supply chain issues internationally and nationally have not made restaurant projects easier, Fogal said. Especially difficult right now is getting electrical components, but the company has become proactive.
“We’ve dealt with so many franchises that we foresee stuff and take initiative and make sure we’re following up on our end,” Fogal said. “Once we put the schedule out for a project, we make sure we do everything we can to make it work.”
While the company prides itself on high-quality construction, it also turns projects around as quickly as possible. That includes both new construction and tenant improvements for existing structures. Average construction time is 90 to 110 days, Fogal said.
The 4,045-square-foot Panera, for example, was built from an existing structure in 93 days.
“The project was started on July 11 and completed on Oct. 12,” Fogal said.
The Arby’s was built from the ground up in 110 days. The McDonald’s in Dayton, also a new build, took less than 100 days.
In Elko, the company had to knock down an existing McDonald’s — digging out footings before rebuilding a new structure. That demolition plus new building took 112 days, Fogal said.
“The John Anderson Construction team makes it a priority that every project from beginning to end is delivered with the highest quality standards in the shortest amount of time possible,” he said.
That has ripple effects in the local economy. The company uses local subcontractors, and the quicker the project is completed, the faster the restaurant hires and gets people to work.
“Once they know the building is going to be built, they’re going to be hiring to put people to work,” Fogal said. “When you hire people and tell them to start on certain dates, they’re balancing their budget and paying bills around that.”
On Oct. 17, Panera Regional Vice President Jacob Bustos said the restaurant had hired 70 people and was still looking for more.
“We need team members, team managers and catering leads,” he told the Appeal.
On Oct. 28, Corey Brugman, general manager of the new Arby’s, said they’ve hired 14 “excellent” employees and are still hiring.
“We need managers and regular crew members,” he said.
Fogal said quick turnarounds facilitate the hiring process.
“They’re really intense projects,” he said. “A property is waiting to open, to put employees to work, and it’s really important these projects move fast.”
Ashley Lawson, assistant project manager at John Anderson Construction, added Northern Nevada has been more insulated from economic hardship than other areas of the country. She said the retail sector is stabilizing, post-pandemic, and there is high demand for restaurant space.
“The good thing for our economy is a lot of nationals are looking at the area,” she said.
For information about John Anderson Construction, visit jandersonconstruction.com.
For hiring opportunities at Panera, visit mannacareers.com.
For opportunities at Arby’s, visit careers.arbys.com/us/en.