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Restaurant Architect: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a restaurant architect. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Restaurant architects design restaurants and must develop the overall look, design, and feel of the establishment. These creative designers produce the plans for the building and usually work with construction crews to build the restaurant.

Essential Information

Restaurant architects specialize in designing restaurants and high-visibility commercial properties. They must have completed a professional bachelor's or master's degree program in architecture as well as an internship, which often lasts three years. All architects must pass an examination before qualifying for state licensing. Voluntary certification is also available.

Required Education Professional bachelor's or master's degree in architecture
Other Requirements State licensure; Voluntary certification available through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 8% for all architects*
Mean Salary (May 2018) $79,380 for all architects, except landscape and naval*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Restaurant Architect

Restaurant architect are tasked with preparing a plan for the construction of a restaurant. They survey a property to determine the most optimal configuration for the building and how the site must be prepared. Then, working on specifications provided by a customer, the architect draws the blueprints for the building that is to be constructed. Though customers may provide a general idea of what a restaurant is to be like when finished, architects must often make decisions on a myriad of details regarding the construction and design.

While restaurant architects do determine the aesthetic appeal of the building, they also have other concerns they must bear in mind while designing a commercial food service structure. Restaurants must be structurally sound and meet federal regulations, they must be economical to build and maintain, and they must meet the functional needs of an active restaurant. This requires a familiarity with the normal design and building requirements of structures in general, as well as the aesthetic and functional requirements of the restaurant industry specifically.

Education and Career Requirements

Normally, prospective restaurant architects must attend an institution that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) in order to be licensed. However, specific requirements vary, because state architecture boards set their own standards regarding licensure. Many architects choose to pursue a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) program for architecture, which teaches students all facets of the field, including issues regarding residential and commercial properties. Those who wish to move into architecture from another field may choose to complete a master's degree.

All states require that those who wish to work in architecture seek licensure before offering their services to the public. During the time between graduation and licensure, there is normally an internship requirement that prospective architects must fulfill by working in the field under an architect who is already licensed. Finally, they must pass an examination that checks their skills in all aspects of architecture.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In May 2018, the BLS reported that architects, except landscape and naval in the 90th percentile or higher earned $138,120 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $48,020 or less per year. At that same time, architects working in the nonresidential building construction industry earned an average yearly salary of $88,680. In addition, the BLS predicted an increase faster than the average for all architects from 2018-2028.

Architects that specialize in restaurants design and oversee construction of dining establishments. These professionals must work creatively to design restaurants for clients, while at the same time developing buildings that are sound and economical to operate. A license is required to work as a restaurant architect, and average growth is expected in this field in the next decade.

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