by Lee Simon
The automobile manufacturers have it all figured out. After much time and research, they have found ways to use the same base model for multiple brands with completely different quality perceptions. Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura for example, use many of the same structural systems, processes, and infrastructure as their less expensive sister brands - Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. The difference is often in the finishes, the accessories, and the package of services offered in conjunction with the purchase. The higher priced models will have standard features such as leather, upgraded trim packages, high quality sound systems, and potentially such luxuries as GPS mapping or standard vehicle maintenance programs. Their less expensive sister brands will not. In many cases, however, the base construction of the vehicles in both quality ranges is identical. The result is a choice made by the consumer as to what is truly important, and where one's money should be spent.
Similar decisions are made every day during the design and construction process. It is quite easy, and I must say extremely tempting, to upgrade light fixtures, seating, equipment, and specialty fixtures whenever the opportunity presents itself. The logic, justification, and proposed payback periods are often compelling. It is rare, however, that a construction budget will permit such an array of upgrades across the board. As a result, the ownership and design teams are faced with a never-ending stream of required decisions that must balance the available funding with the desired design impact.
When the budget begins to dictate that some of the furniture, fixture, or equipment elements must be scaled back, the potential upgrades must be prioritized to ensure that one will receive the maximum "bang for the buck." It is here that I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for creativity. Spend your money where it counts! It is rather easy to lose sight of which desired elements are essential and which are expendable, and it is here that some creativity can help achieve some desired effects with minimal costs.
What to Upgrade
Psychology plays a tremendous role in this process. To be truly successful at prioritizing, an operator must fully understand their target market … and I don't mean the capability to rattle off facts about demographics. I mean truly understand what is important to the client base, so that the upgrades that are implemented have their greatest impact. For example, I was working on a restaurant that had a limited budget but desired an upscale, sophisticated environment. After much planning and after revie impundern expeion(g and after revie imbe prioritized to ensure that one will receive the maximum "bang for the buck." It is here that I believe theaphic.
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by Lee Simon
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