By Danny Klein from FSR Magazine

Start, start, finish. Start, finish, finish.

“I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s honest,” says Rob Mescolotto, the founder of Hospitality Construction Services, of a recent project. “Money in equals money out. So deadlines are crucial.”

In the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, Mescolotto and his company had the unique task of helping famed restaurateur Mike Isabella bring a trifecta of concepts to market in a limited window. The final, Japanese and Korean noodle bar Yona, had a turnaround of just 10 weeks. Meanwhile, Kapnos Taverna and Pepita, the two previous spaces, were staggered: “Before we finished the first one, the second one started. Before the second one finished, the third one was started,” he explains.

Not including concessions and airport locations, Mike Isabella Concepts has eight brands. When it came to designing three spaces so close together, both time-wise and physically (Pepita is behind Kapnos), the company’s established infrastructure was the driving force behind the accelerated timeline. “They had a very set structure for how they wanted to build it because they were able to train their first set of employees and they were able to get to full ramping speed, and then they wanted to go right back into that training regiment,” Mescolotto says.