It’s Not Just About the Food! How Instagram Is Changing the Restaurant Game

It's Not Just About the Food! How Instagram is Changing the Restaurant Game

Headquarters Restaurant + Bar in Sherwood Park, Alberta

Looking for a new go-to spot for after work cocktails? Want to try out the latest Sunday brunch restaurant? How about a spot for a well-deserved night out? Where we would once head to google to do our detective work, we now find ourselves heading straight to our favourite app, Instagram, to see what local restaurants we should add to our must-try list!

According to an article by The Independent UK, 18-35 year-olds spend 5 whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram, and 30% would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak. Not only can a strong presence be beneficial to your business, but not having one can be equally as damaging!

In a time where people are sharing their opinions (and lives) online, it’s key to have a space that inspires people to spread the word! Good lighting, fun colours & wallpaper, clever neon signs & custom tile are just some of the factors that make a space “instagrammable”.

Ask yourself– Does your backdrop entice people to raise a glass and share a boomerang? Does the lighting make our space look bright and airy? What part of your space creates a lasting impression? Would this cheeky sign inspire people to take a photo in front of it? Is your bathroom mirror-selfie ready? (let’s dive into this another time – stay tuned) We kept this in mind when we transformed Headquarters Restaurant & Bar in Sherwood Park. The vision of this space was to cater to existing clientele while attracting a new dinner crowd within the community. We partnered with local vendors, including E2 Designs and YEG Woodworks to add character and truly brand the newly renovated restaurant. Read more about this remodel on our website

We work with businesses to increase profits by creating a purposefully branded, unique and memorable environment. You need a team that has the know-how, connections and expertise to stand out from the crowd. That is why Savvy-owners, who also crave peace of mind, retain Rivet to lead their projects. You know they’ll talk about the food – let’s make sure they’re talking about the space and the experience, too!

Rivet Management knows how to create the restaurant of your dreams while ensuring style and functionality are top priority. 

Contact us today at [email protected] or (780) 243- 5115 to get started on your next project!


Construction Processes and Stages

Construction Processes and Stages

Ready to start construction? First you have to determine the contract style you want! Here are 3 typical contract styles you can use, along with their pros and cons!

Quote – based on your questions and the information above, get a detailed quote from them that specifically includes answers to the items above.  If it’s not in writing then it can’t be proven.

  • Some contractors get their prices low by only giving small allowances or pricing based on cheapest options. If you don’t have specific drawings and finishes selected how do you know what the price includes?? Some contractors also keep their prices low by not including much supervision by a qualified person on the job site. Ask who the superintendent will be, what their experience is and how often they will be on site. Ensure the details are included in writing.

  • Another scam we have seen is where they don’t complete their finishing to proper standards – which, again, can’t be proven if it isn’t detailed. Example – for a proper finished look, exposed sides of tiled areas should be finished with schluter (metal trim piece). Some contractors will cheap out on these details which can affect the functionality and overall finish of the space.  If there are proper complete drawings for your project it protects you from contractors taking short cuts.

This is a typical process by your contractor if you select a Fixed Price contract – note: it can still vary slightly depending on contract style.

  • Create scope of work documents for each segment of work, detailing specifics of what each trade should include in their prices

  • Tender call to a qualified list of trades

  • Issue addenda and clarifications during bidding period (if you have a separate designer, your designer would do this upon each of the contractor’s requests and may charge for it)

  • Review and analyze all trade and material bids, and finalize project pricing

  • Any re-tendering or requests for alternate pricing/bids (often at additional costs)

  • Upon pricing approval, contractor will issue a contract to be signed by you and them and will collect deposits

  • Send out letters of intent to successful trade and material bids to ensure time and materials are set aside

  • Complete all trade contracts

  • Apply for all permits

  • Prepare all change order requests to prime contract or trade contracts

  • Ensure site safety requirements and documentation is completed

  • Supervise all client site visits due to safety requirements.

  • Ensure site supervision and site cleanliness

  • Manage budget and send budget updates to client (budget updates only with cost plus or owners rep contracts, for fixed price contracts you will only have change orders)

  • Ensure all inspections are completed and passed

  • Collect all as built drawings

  • If acting as owners rep – review progress claims and issue certificates of payment for your approval

  • Facilitate site meetings as required

  • Complete a final inspection and compile deficiency list

  • Issue substantial completion document

  • Collect schedule C’s and occupancy certificate

  • Key turnover

Make sure you review the different types of contracts, and what is involved in each one, to manage your expectations during the construction process!

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Construction Manager (Contractor)

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Construction Manager (Contractor)

It’s the contractor that can make (or break) your remodelling project. We have put together a list of essential questions you should be asking potential contractors before the deal is signed! Are they properly certified to be working in your space? Not only is it essential for you to know the answers to this question, but your landlord will likely also ask for copies of your documents. Collecting them early will save you time and hassle!


  • Do they have a business licence in the municipality where your project will be built?  Ask for a copy. If they don’t it could cause delays in permit applications and inspections.

  • Do they have a pre-paid license? (this is required to protect any deposits you pay and is a required license in Alberta) Ask for a copy. This is part of the fair trade agreement.  It requires contractors to provide a bond to the province to protect any violations including violations pertaining to your deposit


  • Do they have valid WCB? Ask for a copy. If they do not have valid WCB and someone gets hurt in your space you will be liable and both you and the contractor could be fined and sued.

  • Do they have liability insurance?  How much? Ask for a copy. If they do not have sufficient coverage and there is damages you will be liable.  The minimum is usually 2million and upwards.

  • Do you require special bonding or performance guarantees (usually for much larger projects)?  These add costs to the project but for large projects you should confirm your contractor has or is able to obtain these prior to spending much time discussing the project.


  • References!!! Written references are great, but talk to their past clients – ideally someone who has had a similar sized or type of project as what you are doing. Ask questions about if they were on budget? On time? Did they have a long deficiency list at turnover? Did they complete the deficiencies quickly? Were they easy to work with? Were there issues between the contractor and the designer? Have their been warranty issues? If so how did the contractor deal with them? Has the follow up service been good? Did they provide a maintenance manual and schedule?

  • Pictures of past projects

  • What size of projects do they have experience with?  Are they in a similar industry?

  • Physically go and look at some of their completed work – look at the seams and joints on millwork, look at paint finishes, look at corners of countertops for crisp finishing.  Look at how particular they are in finishing their work. Those are the details you can’t always see in a picture.

Contract Terms

  • What parts of the work will their own staff do?  What is the rate for this (unless it is a complete fixed price contract)?  What portions of work will be subcontracted out? How will they ensure the capabilities of those subcontracts?  

  • What contract will they be using?  Ideally get your lawyer to review this.

  • What are the payment term expectations?  

  • Will they provide a statutory declaration at project completion?  This is a sworn legal document where they attest to paying all expenses to do with your project.  If they do not pay their bills or subcontractors liens can be placed on your premise. This document protects you from this.  If contractors or suppliers put on liens it can often be a breach to your lease agreement or if you own your premises can affect financing or property sales.

  • Do they have a safety program?  Are they COR or SECOR certified?  (safety certifications for construction companies in Alberta)

  • Are you able to view the site during construction?  Having some site visit access is great – it’s exciting for you to see progress, and also to ensure everything is coming together as you envision.  However, unlimited access is unrealistic and not safe.


  • If you are getting a tenant improvement allowance from your landlord you will need to clarify with them when they will issue those funds – often it isn’t until the project is 100% complete and until your contractor provides a statutory declaration.  Your contractor typically will not provide this until they are paid in full. You may need interim financing for this amount.

  • If you are getting draws from your financing institution you should provide the requirements for each draw to your contractor and ensure they are ok with the payment schedule and terms.

Make sure you know the answers to these questions before hiring a contractor. It is important that you are comfortable with them, that you trust them in your home, and that you have confidence they will complete the project as they promised!

Design Processes and Stages

Design Processes and Stages

At various stages of the design process you will be asked to provide certain information. The sooner you can gather this information, the sooner stages can be completed! Here is a general list of things you can expect to be asked for…

Site information:

  • If you or your landlord has drawings for the building this is helpful. Some landlords require that the drawings are completed in conjunction with their initial drawings.

  • If your landlord has guidelines for design or drawings, those should be provided before obtaining a quote or you may be charged extra if specific new components are needed.  For instance – some landlords require that the drawings need to be in CAD – this is important for your designer to know as some prefer to work in other programs. Some landlords require engineering, even if the local authority doesn’t require it for permits.  Some landlords – especially mall or retail settings, have more specific requirements like necessity of flooring changes, entry components etc.

  • Site plan – you should be able to obtain this from your landlord

Branding information

  • Specific company colours if you have

  • Company logo (not always needed)

  • Website and social media platforms

  • Clear brand outline (company colours, fonts, etc.) so that your website, online presence, print media and space all have the same look and feel. You will typically get better results if you have this.

  • If you have pictures, Pinterest boards, Houzz boards, etc. to show the style you like, sharing these with your designer as soon as possible is ideal!

Other Logistics

  • Budget – this is a biggie.  A designer can design the same 1000sq’ space for $80,000 and for millions. If you are expecting to adhere to a tight budget the designer can select finishes out of only cost-conscious options and limit extra features, such as built in cabinetry.  If you are expecting a high end space they need to know they have to freedom to get more creative and look at more options for finishes. You can always specify: “this is my ideal”, “this is my max”. To ensure your level of desired finishing is met, they need to know your expectations.

  • Special equipment needs – How many workstations do you need? Computers? Printers?  Other examples – if you are a dentist or restaurant, what equipment are you planning on using?  Do you have a supplier already? Share your contacts with your designer. For retail – have you already chosen your fixturing or do you want the designer to choose?  If you need the designers help to figure this out, most are able to coordinate it.

  • If you have a current space it is good to go through that and see what is good and what needs to be improved.

  • How many staff work at once?  How many clients do you expect at a given time?

  • Your wish list

  • Access to space to do measurements.

  • Detailed letter of intent including: (needed for development permit)

    • Detailed description of proposed development and use

    • Description of products and services

    • Anticipated on-site operations (indoors and outdoors)

    • On-site storage

    • Transportation details, including size of vehicles/expected frequency of trips

    • Number of employees

    • Hours of operation

Design Stages

  • Quote – based on your questions and the information above, get a detailed quote from them that specifically includes answers to the items above.  Remember: if it’s not in writing, it can’t be proven.

  • Construction Layout and Code Review – this is a bird’s eye view of the space and will show the general layout of walls, doors and key furniture or millwork pieces.  At Rivet, we usually develop anywhere from 1-4 layout concepts with basic details and then present them to you with explanations of pros and cons for each layout.


Sample Layout Drawing
  • Concept Board – generally presented at the same time as layout options.  The digital mood board will show concepts for colours, finishes, furniture style and overall feel of the space.
Sample Concept Board
  • Working Drawings–  the amount of drawing pages and the details within depends on the size and complexity of your project.  Some of these pages would include:

    • construction notes and guidelines

    • furniture layout (including legend)

    • ceiling plan (legend and notes)

    • finishing plan (shows placement of all paint colours, flooring details, special details including tiles, baseboards, etc. as well as legend of details)

    • equipment and appliances plan (includes placement, electrical, plumbing and gas requirements for each item)

    • elevation drawings – shows view as if you are looking at each wall or millwork section. Details each type of cabinet (sizes, drawers or door etc)

    • details on how everything is to be constructed, site plan, electrical layouts, mechanical (plumbing, gas and hvac layouts)

  • Coordinate all consulting engineers, equipment specifications & review their drawings.–  the details will be put into a complete package and reviewed for any possible errors or oversights

  • Finalize your working drawings, issue a set of IFR (issued for review) drawing set–  At this point a complete set of drawings will be issued for your review and a meeting to go through the drawings will happen. This will be your opportunity to fine tune and make any necessary changes. Once amendments are complete you will sign off on the drawings

  • Finalize IFC (Issued for Construction) drawings–  this will include having engineer stamp drawings and getting schedules A and B issued. (Documents that will need to be submitted along with drawings for permit applications. Everything will now be ready for permit applications.

There are a lot of different levels to the design process, so making sure you understand and are staying on top of them from the start of the process will help in the long run!

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Interior Designer

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Interior Designer

Just like any relationship, it’s important to find that perfect somebody who will be right for you and your lifestyle. And this particular relationship is an intimate one, after all, you are inviting them into your inner workings of your business or home!

Here are some essential questions to ask before hiring an interior designer…

Are they are a designer or a decorator?

Do you know the difference?

  • Designer – is able to do up construction drawings (including space layouts, etc.) which will be suitable for permit applications and to issue for pricing and construction. They are educated on construction codes, including occupancy guidelines, restrictions and more. A designer will often complete drawings for additional items, such as unique design features like millwork (cabinets and built in units). A designer is also able to choose all finishes including flooring, paint/wall coverings, furniture, art and more. It is not standard practice for designers to physically hang art, do staging or physically decorate the space, although some may offer this as an additional service.

  • Decorator – typically space plans are for furniture layouts, not construction. A decorator can pick finishes such as paint, wallpaper, flooring, cabinet finish, etc. Many decorators will offer the service to physically help with on site set up such as hanging art, staging etc.

Who are their past clients?  Do they have photos of completed projects?

Seeing examples of their completed projects helps you identify the designer’s style, which can help make the design process much smoother.

How will the designs be specific to your business and brand?  

What examples can they give of unique design features they have incorporated for other clients?  How did those features align with that client’s brand? A successful designer should be able to represent their client’s individual sense of style, identity but most importantly align with your brand strategy.


Prices range hugely, so it’s super important to establish this from the beginning so there are no surprises!  What is included? Plans for permits? Plans for pricing? Plans for construction? Site visits? Will they send out for pricing for you?  Elevation drawings of features and millwork? Evacuation plan? Furniture or art selection? Equipment coordination?

Social Media

Do they have a Pinterest or Houzz account or other social media?  Take a look at their accounts. Are they active on these platforms?  Do they seem to be informed of current trends? Do their interests align with yours?


How far in advance are they booking new clients?  How quick is the turnaround of drawings? It’s important to know the time commitment you’re making when you hire a designer.


How long have they been doing design?  What size of projects have they worked on?  Any in your industry?

Do they have samples to show the amount of detail that is included in their drawings?

The numerous pages of drawings, many of which are often just type, are in place to protect you. These details include specifics including how edging of tiling is to be finished, if flooring transitions are required, details on consistency throughout the space, who is responsible for providing fire extinguishers and sooo much more. Those pages of type ensure the details of the project look professional and ensure that you are not charged for extras during the project. Are their drawings very basic or very detailed? Does this align with what you expect?

Will they coordinate engineers if needed?  

Contractors if needed?  Will they complete your permit application?  Are there additional costs for any of this?

Are they willing to work with your suppliers if you have chosen them already?

You may already have relationships built with suppliers you trust, and some designers are more flexible than others. For example, medical clinics or restaurants may need specific types of equipment or furniture. If you haven’t chosen suppliers yet, do they have contacts they can help you with?

Now that you know what to look for, you are ready to get started! It may seem daunting at first, but it is so worth it. Once you find an interior designer you click with, it can be the start of a lifelong friendship!


5 Tips for Branding Your Commercial Space

Tips for Getting Started With Your Commercial Renovation

Tips for Getting Started with Your Commercial Renovation

Are you a business owner looking at opening or renovating a commercial space? Congratulations! This is a significant milestone for your business. While having a space to call your own is an exciting step, it’s not without challenges.

When it comes to commercial projects, it’s all hands on deck. From obtaining necessary permits to managing your design to the actual build-out of your space, there’s a lot going on and it can be an overwhelming process, especially when you have a business to run!

Here’s a few of our top tips for getting started with your commercial project…

Know Your Team

When construction begins, it is essential to know who your point person is. We cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Identifying and assigning your key roles in the project ensures that everyone is held responsible and accountable. Ensure this is clearly laid out from day one.

Some key questions to consider are:

  • Who will be handling all the details with the contractor and/ or designer? Will it be me, the business owner, or someone else?  Who will be handling other portions of the work – setting up new utilities, moving coordination, etc.

  • Who is my designer and what is their role?  Do you have any key suppliers for equipment already?  How will the flow of information flow between supplier and designer?

  • Who is the general contractor? How well do these roles interact?  Does your designer and contractor work well together? Who will be responsible for upcoming issues?

  • Do I need additional support to complete this project?

Know That Your Schedule and Your Budget Can Change

While it’s important to have a construction schedule and budget determined prior to the work beginning, it is always critical to have contingency plans in place. Unfortunately, not everything is always on the timeline or budget that you have planned for.

As a business owner, you should always budget more time than you think you need especially when it comes to design, permit applications and the build-out phase. Every project and every space is unique.  There are also a lot of areas out of your teams control such as permit application times or inspection turnarounds.

The more prepared you are in order to answer design queries, equipment or furniture decisions etc the quicker that part of the process will go.  

Know Your Ideal Customer

Read any marketing textbook and you’ll know that your customer is not anyone and everyone. Your target customer needs to be kept in mind when designing your commercial space. It’s important to view your design in the eyes of your customer, their expectations and their preferences. Think of unique ways that you can add value and ensure their experience at your business is memorable.

For more ideas on how to build your brand with commercial design, download Rivet Management’s FREE guide.

Know Your Financing

Before getting started on your commercial project, it’s imperative that your financing is set-up and ready to access. It’s important to be aware of how and when your bank or landlord will issue funds and let your contractor know the required submittals your financier requires upfront.

For example, some landlords require the construction to be complete and completely paid prior to issuing any reimbursement funds. Many business owners are caught by surprise when they realize they have to build and pay, prior before receiving reimbursement for their work.

Ensure you understand the financing process prior to beginning your construction.

At Rivet Management, we believe in creating a seamless experience for our clients by offering full-service design and construction management services from one company and contact. We take care of it all for you and eliminate the guesswork of determining who is responsible for what aspect of your project or eliminating your need to liaise with multiple contacts. Leave your space in the hands of our capable, experienced team and we’ll ensure the execution of your project is flawless from all angles.