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Project Profile: Wayback Burger Renovation


Developed in Delaware in the early 1990s and headquartered in Connecticut, Wayback Burgers is a franchised restaurant specializing in classic comfort food: burgers, milkshakes, and old-fashioned lemonade.

The brand is renowned for its nostalgic-yet-modern aesthetic and prides itself on sustainable sourcing and a solution-oriented approach to restaurant patrons and franchisees alike.

The rapidly growing Wayback Burgers migrated to Western Canada in the late 2010s, with the first location opening in Winnipeg, Manitoba. More franchise locations have since opened throughout Manitoba alongside Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.

This project gave our team another opportunity to show how we effectively manage projects with many different chefs in the kitchen, and reinforced the importance of effective communication skills.

Getting Started

In early 2021, as coincidence would have it, the Southwest and Midwest Design & Construction team completed a retrofitting project for a commercial property owner - for the same unit that Wayback Burger would eventually move into.

Initially, a pizza establishment occupied the unit. This restaurant moved to the unit next door to facilitate renovations and prepare for Wayback’s arrival. The retrofitting renovations were significant - and on a fairly tight timeline. Our team oversaw cutting through the existing concrete slab to install new plumbing lines and ultimately ‘gutted’ the unit to bring it up to standard.

With the unit renovated and ready for occupancy, Wayback made preparations to move in and renovate the space further to comply with their restaurant standards, add an effective HVAC system, and add Wayback-specific furnishings and appliances.

The Bidding Process

Because of our previous success with the unit in question, we were recommended to the new owner of Wayback to bid on the project and subsequently awarded around September 2021.

Project Scope and Timeline

Unlike most other projects, procurement remained in the hands of the restaurant franchisee and their consulting team.

We had to regularly coordinate with the franchise for their equipment, and with transportation delays and supply chain issues, there were points of concern as far as the timeline went.

Of course, many facets of a construction job rely on certain tasks being completed before the next ones can begin. This requires effective procurement methods and coordination with different members of the team - something the team at Southwest and Midwest does with a high level of efficiency.

This unique situation required us to maintain a robust level of communication with those responsible for ordering and ensuring that work could continue progressing and be done in a timely manner. It’s a tender balance to manage these key players and maintain positive relationships, but we did it successfully.

Design and Architectural Considerations

Because we were fortunate enough to have worked extensively on the space before Wayback Burgers took possession of the unit, this gave us keen insight into the architecture and sizing of the restaurant.

We collaborated with the architectural design team to ensure the drawings accurately reflected the space and were on hand to answer any questions other team members had.

It’s also noteworthy that the general space in which our team and the franchisee’s team had to work was quite small, so properly coordinating sub-trade work was key to ensure every party had adequate space to complete their work.

Final Thoughts

While it is always ideal, whenever possible, to use a local general contracting service to fulfill all of the needs of any given project, from procurement to project management to construction - it’s not always feasible. Restaurants are unique in this regard, particularly franchises. What may take one step in a more traditional corporate space may take three within the hospitality industry, as there are naturally more dotted lines to sign.

Ultimately, it boils down to managing relationships and time as best as possible. Delays happen - this is inevitable, but once we were able to secure the equipment and furnishings that we needed to finish the job, it was all hands on deck toward completion - something that only took about a week and a half.

This attitude is what separates a successful contractor from the rest. Our strength as a team is sourced in how we deal with delays as they arrive and how we work to overcome them - all while keeping high value, reasonable cost, and on-time delivery of the project top of mind.

Contact Southwest And Midwest Design & Construction

Want to learn more about how we can help your next design and construction project? Contact the team at Southwest and Midwest Design & Construction with our convenient online quote request tool. A member of our staff will be in touch to discuss project details and the next steps.