The recent remodel of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events is focused on making employees comfortable and making it easier to carry out tasks.
Cameron Mitchell makes good use of its space—when the Mitchell's Steakhouse in Worthington moved to Polaris in 2007, Cameron Mitchell Premier Events, the catering part of the company, moved in. And when CMPE realized it needed to make better use of its space in the former steakhouse, it was given the resources necessary to do so and moved back out temporarily to allow for a remodel.
Before that remodel that began in March 2016, it was a little bit difficult to work in CMPE's HQ. For instance, the entire warehouse contents were stuffed into the area that now belongs to the sales team. Chefs were sharing cooler space with pastry chefs. Small desks were crammed all over the place against the walls.
“Our teams were really stuffed in this building, says CMPE Managing Director Melissa Johnson. “I had bought a lot of really inexpensive desks and put them in every corner, so anywhere you looked, there was someone at a little four-foot desk trying to work. … In the hospitality business you really want to make sure you're hospitable, and our old building was not very hospitable.”
In January 2017, CMPE moved back into a space that is both attractive and sensible. The things employees care about the most are the ones that enable them to better do their jobs: a warehouse with loading docks to avoid the sting of winter weather, a kitchen with separate areas for pastry-making and drink-mixing, a conference room conducive for team talks, a sales area large enough to accommodate growth.
“The remodel: we basically painted, put carpet and tore down a wall, but we made it fit our team. Our teams were really stuffed in this building. … It's not that we expanded and added all these people and added all this stuff—we really recycled a lot and upcycled from our home office—but we were really able to accommodate and give people proper work stations and really fit the team we had grown to,” says Johnson.
Even one decoration—a shelf with a pretty arrangement of china and cutlery—has a purpose. It gives clients an array of wares to choose from as they work with CMPE staff to make desires become reality.
Some memories from Mitchell's Steakhouse remain. The conference room is still accessorized with a fireplace and lines from former booths can still be seen etched into the wood of the back wall. The patio that once held outside diners remains as an alternative workspace for employees. Johnson says the small stained-glass window facing out to the patio is something she had never noticed before the most recent remodel. The coat room exists, but it no longer holds coats—or the catering uniforms it held subsequent to the restaurant closing. Now, it is a tasting room for brides and grooms to be, business leaders, event planners or anyone else who needs a caterer. It has a TV screen to show pictures of CMPE's in-house creations, and of course it's close to the kitchen for easy access to the real thing.
Johnson says everyone is happy with the revitalized space and work is more efficient, for very little effort and money—a definite plus for any business. “It gave everybody a better work environment. It just took what we had and made it better; we didn't have to add a lot. We were just able to be smart—take a wall down, add a wall,” she says.
And personally, Johnson loves her new office, a place where she feels comfortable entertaining clients and other visitors.
“I finally got a nice big spot to work out of. I always wanted to be able to bring people into my office and sit and meet with them and make it cozy. … We're food and beverage people, so we always had a wine cooler, and you could open one up and grab a glass and sit and have a meeting. It feels good.”