The Boehringer Ingelheim group, which was founded in 1885, is today one of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceutical companies.
The group consists of 145 affiliated companies with around 50,000 employees, across all five continents, including five R&D and 20 production facilities in 13 countries.
However, for this project, we were most interested in one facility – the staff servery in the company’s UK headquarters in Bracknell. And bringing it up to the same stunning standard as the rest of the building, which we had recently completely re-designed and refurbished.
It’s frustrating for staff to have a restaurant that is congested at its key operating hours – lunchtime. A servery that’s also tired, dated, actually broken in places and hasn’t seen any investment for a decade doesn’t help.
So with the rest of the client’s headquarters facility successfully and completely refreshed, we were asked to turn our expert eye on the servery.
We started by spending many a lunchtime watching – mainly observing people, processes and the servery’s performance. It wasn’t good for our waistlines but was great for gaining the in-depth insight we needed to make the changes the facility badly needed.
We wanted to create a space that was less staff cafeteria and more ‘café’ culture’ in feel, taking influences from French patisseries. We achieved this by blending rustic timbers with crisp white finishes, all complemented by a strong accent colour.
Stylish features were created throughout the space, using fruit crates for displays, and a farmhouse table-style salad island, the latter being softened by pendant lighting.
An artist was even commissioned to bring the space to life with graphics. These included a company timeline which can easily be updated with future milestones.
The restaurant was named 1885, in honour of the company’s foundation year.
To ensure the work we were doing had minimum impact on the usual day-to-day operations of the business, we had to plan carefully and liaise closely with the client at all times. After all, we were going to be working during their office hours.
To gain free rein to the existing catering facility, we had to install a temporary one, including a kitchen. This would only provide a reduced service but meant that we could move quickly to gut the original installation and drive the works forward.
Alongside the servery’s refurbishment, we also replaced the main kitchen floor with a new resin option. This involved the complete decommission of the kitchen equipment, along with a full deep clean. It also necessitated replacing the lighting and ceiling, and then re-commissioning everything in time for the new servery’s launch date.
It wasn’t easy to keep the work we were doing under wraps, to enable the client to have a ‘big reveal’ when the servery opened up for the first customers, post-refurbishment. But we did.
The transformation from the old installation to the new was very dramatic and created a lot of excitement during that first lunchtime period and beyond.
Crucially, not only did the new servery look fantastic, it worked fantastically well, too. We’d resolved the people flow issue and now staff even find the inevitable queues during very busy periods far more palatable, when they’re in such a cool, calm place.