Tag: Floor Plan Commercial

ProStart Winners’ Special Ingredient in Their Recipe for Success


A role model is an individual who not only encourages but inspires us to strive for greatness and live to our fullest potential.  Teachers are role models in our communities who students admire and aspires to be like.  Recently, I was fortunate enough to meet such a role model, Cherie Busch.  During our meeting, she shared with us how SmartDraw helped her team of National ProStart Invitational winners earn over $160,000 in college scholarships.


Can you share with us a little about your background and expertise?

I graduated from Sam Houston State University where I studied Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Education.  I’m currently in a graduate program studying to be an administrator.  Currently, I am a Family and Consumer Science Instructor at New Caney High School in New Caney, TX.  My restaurant management course curriculum comes directly from the ProStart program offered by the National Restaurant Association.

What is ProStart?

ProStart is a 2-year high school program that unites industry and classroom experience to develop the best and brightest talent of tomorrow’s restaurant and food service leaders.

  • Participant: Over 118,000 students
  • Availability: 1,700 high schools
  • Locations: Across all 50 states, the Territory of Guam, and the Department of Defense (DOD) schools located throughout Europe and Asia

From management skills to culinary techniques, ProStart’s curriculum provides real-life experience and practical skills that will become the foundation that will last a lifetime.

Learn more about the ProStart Program (video)

Former New Caney Culinary Student and recent graduate, alumni Esteban Torrez represented his team in an interview at the National ProStart Invitational in 2015.


What does ProStart mean to you?

I’ve been part of the program for over 3 years. I love what it has done for my kids. Not every kid is destined to go to a university.  It gives them purpose, as well as other avenues in life.  We’re not a high income school district.  A lot of the students say that “college wasn’t even an option,” that is until they started participating in the ProStart program.

Can you share with us one of your most proud moments as an Educator?

In spring 2015, four of our New Caney High School seniors placed 4th out of 42 teams at the National ProStart Invitational held in Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  In order to get to this level, these students placed 2nd at regional competition which advanced them to the state level where they were named State Champions.

Winning team representing New Caney High School: Esteban Torrez, Captain Alyssa Muckelroy, Brandon Mata, and Christopher Barrios.

How was your winning ProStart team recognized for their efforts?

Combined, these four students received over $160,000 in college scholarship money from various schools and corporations in the restaurant and hospitality industry.  In addition to the scholarship money, they made connections and obtained invaluable insight into the restaurant and food service industry.”

Can you give us some insight of what competing at the National ProStart Invitational entails? 

My students entered the Restaurant Management competition where they were tasked to create a 60-page restaurant proposal.  They created a Restaurant Concept geared around a set demographic.   Within their competition perimeters they developed a written restaurant proposal including but not limited to concept design, menu layout and menu items, marketing, 2 marketing tactics, presentation board, a table display, as well as a 10 minute sales pitch to a panel of judges – Shark Tank style.  All in all the team put in well over 1,500 hours of work.


Why did you select SmartDraw over Chromebook Apps?

To be honest, did not feel the Chromebook Apps were sufficient for the needs of my students. I needed to give my students a tool that would allow them to design well-detailed diagrams.  I discovered SmartDraw during an intense online search.”

At the time I paid for it out of my own pocket.  I reached out to our district’s technical team year after year to express how important SmartDraw is to my students.  It wasn’t until we competed at Nationals in 2015 that our school district finally realized SmartDraw’s potential.”

How did SmartDraw help your winning team?

Initially, you don’t get a real feel for how much we utilized SmartDraw. At least not until you take a look at the weight that the Visual Display and Written Proposal categories combined contribute to the team’s final score.  That’s where SmartDraw played a key role.”

ProStart Scoring Breakdown

Would you be able to share some of your SmartDraw diagrams with us?

Here are two of the floor plans that went to Nationals.  With SmartDraw, the students were able to portray what their two-story boat shaped restaurant.

Lower Deck Floor Plan Upper Deck Floor Plans


I was so intrigued by the program that I took a closer look at the National ProStart Invitational Procedures and Rules.  Here is a matrix detailing the possible points earned in the Written Proposal competition against the features and functionality available in SmartDraw.


We would like to wish the New Caney High School ProStart Teams continued success at the state and national levels. Go NCHS Eagles!


Capital Cost Avoidance: Think Creatively Before You Spend

ScottMasich_ photoAbout the Author  As a Senior Continuous Improvement Facilitator at the Kaizen Institute, Scott Masich has more than 15 years of experience with achievement of significant results for the deployment of Lean/Six Sigma initiatives, strategic planning, balanced scorecard, and alignment implementations.  In addition to his extensive work in facilitating and coaching teams on Lean Manufacturing principals, he has well over 20 years of budget, capital planning, and project management expertise.


Our client, a potash mine owner, was planning to expand existing maintenance shops to meet increased demand for support to the mill operation. The expansion also created an opportunity to build a new office infrastructure such that all surface support staff could be housed at a common location.  The Kaizen Institute was engaged to review the expansion for verification of fit-for-purpose layout from a Lean perspective.  There were a number of on-going issues leading our client to the belief that an expansion was necessary:

  • Existing departments within maintenance were each asking for additional shop floor space to meet demand accordingly.
  • Separating welding and fabrication from equipment disassembly, machining, rebuild and reassembly was considered important for improvement to overall equipment reliability.
  • Locating engineering and maintenance closer together would enable better technical support for both projects and maintenance functions.

A capital expansion to the existing Maintenance Facility was approved for $35 million. This capital expenditure did not provide a suitable return on investment and the Kaizen Institute was engaged to lead a local cross-functional team through the process of reducing costs and eliminating waste in the existing facility.


Shop Layout Current StateWe started by using SmartDraw to create a current layout of the facility (shown above). The SmartDraw program allowed us to create everything to scale making it very easy to analyze and find opportunities for improvement.

Employing a Lean approach, we evaluated the usage of existing shop floor space.  We started with 5S to optimize usage of existing space as well as free up additional space. The 5S process is a systematic approach to workplace organization and is widely considered the first step in implementing a Kaizen/Lean culture to reduce waste and improve productivity. Generally speaking, the steps of 5S involve going through items in a workspace, removing what’s unnecessary, organizing items, cleaning, performing maintenance, and making sure these things become habits.

5S SMG post_Nov19v2

SmartDraw Tip: To access the Lean Diagrams and Template Category simply navigate to the Left Panel.  Select Lean.  In the 5S sub-category select 5S Glossary template. The category enables you to create a number of diagrams such as as value stream maps, spaghetti diagrams, kanban boards, process maps, root cause diagrams and much more!

The 5S’s should occur in this order, and there must be a plan in place for performing the tasks associated with these steps on a regular basis. Utilizing the 5S process to achieve an organized work space also has several supplemental benefits.  In addition to the immediate visual improvement, organizations will realize:

  • Improved Quality: Having an organized work space with everything in its place will result in fewer mistakes made.
  • Improved Productivity & Efficiency: Reduced clutter and designated storage locations improves inventory management and reduces the time to locate and obtain material. It is often found that an increase in usable space is also achieved.
  • Transparency & Visibility: Abnormalities, additional wastes and problems surface much more quickly with increased visibility within the work space.
  • Boosted Morale: Employees often feel an increased sense of workplace ownership and motivation with an organized workplace; no one likes to work in an environment of disarray. Participating in the 5S Process and witnessing the dramatic before and after results also provides a sense of empowerment.
  • Improved Image: An organized workplace is a professional workplace; this is visually apparent when observing an organized workplace.
  • Improved Safety: Properly stored and organized items reduce housekeeping and ergonomic related hazards, and also make hazardous conditions more visible. The discovery of reduced accidents and injuries are typically identified after utilizing the 5S Process in the workplace.

We also employed Total Flow Management to optimize the positioning of shop equipment and flow of material through the shop. Total Flow Management (TFM) focuses on streamlining material and information flows. Diagnosis is performed through the identification the 7 wastes in the operation which result in improved Production Flow, Internal Logistics, and External Logistics.

Shop Layout Future State1Using SmartDraw, the team created a Future Layout to scale (shown above). With the ability to move items in the “virtual world” we eliminated the need to expand the existing facility.


As a result, the team eliminated the need to expand the existing facility and avoided a capital spend of $24 million. This was a significant reduction to the original spend and the client was able to apply the funds to projects that provided more value to the company.

So before you decide to spend millions of dollars on your next capital project, assemble a small team and ask them to think creatively to eliminate the need for the project altogether.

Event Planning: How to Make Your Next Event Unforgettable

Original photo - RJ's WeddingThere are a few basic elements you have to have when it comes to planning a wedding or corporate event: the main event (i.e. ceremony, keynote speaker) immediately followed by some type of reception (whether that entails a buffet, plated meal, or cocktails & hors d’oeuvres).  While these basic elements do, in fact, make up the event you can transform these essential details to create an event to remember.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised just how easy it is to transform your event into something unforgettable.  The secret is to ensure that the execution of the event is flawless.  In this week’s post you’ll discover how to successfully orchestrate a flawless event using well-designed diagrams.  Ready to start planing the most unforgettable event?


Event Planning Made Simple: Design, Delegate, & Dazzle

Event planning can be simplified when you design to budget, design to delegate, and design to dazzle. From planning milestone birthday celebrations to corporate events, SmartDraw can meet your event planning needs.  I’ve created diagrams that were not only used to design, they played an integral role in the coordination of a very important event in my life, my wedding day. More . . .


https://www.google.com/search?q=clipboard&biw=1920&bih=956&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAmoVChMIiLr_3-bxxgIVgZqICh1W0QZ4#q=teamwork&tbs=rimg:CX-UEHr4tzwHIjjD-TIH_1ln5x-VL3IKVRsukVUTybQneVuvRCUcNn-bzuG0kxVQAqju6JfN0ljnhrvhZ1mn2P0-CyioSCcP5Mgf-WfnHEVrE4OGJ0NwGKhIJ5UvcgpVGy6QR8iPLGF3dUhkqEglVRPJtCd5W6xED6BUlUo-ReSoSCdEJRw2f5vO4EfYdxBcOvK6CKhIJbSTFVACqO7oR_1FNYb4BLNDkqEgkl83SWOeGu-BG3JvBDzlc3yioSCVnWafY_1T4LKES1_11X27WpSI,sur:fc&tbm=isch&imgrc=_Train Your Project or Event Planning Team Like a Pro

If you want your event to run smoothly, you’ll need an efficient and well-trained team.  Whether that team is composed of vendors, volunteers, or family & friends, it’s your job to give them the right tools and training they need to succeed.  To train your team, use the ‘Tell-Show-Do-Review’ training technique.  Everyone has their own learning style (auditory, visual, and tactile), this method trains for each of them. More . . .

Glasses of champagne

How to Throw a Company Party on a Budget

Back in December 2008, companies across the board were scaling back on holiday events.   Due to economic constraints companies chose to cancel them all together, deeming the celebrations needless or inappropriate in the wake of layoffs.  Now that the holiday party is back it doesn’t mean your company needs to break the bank.  More . . .

Have you booked this year’s venue?  If not, it’s never too early to get started!

Event Planning Made Simple: Design, Delegate, and Dazzle

Original Photo - RJ's WeddingEvent planning can be simplified when you design to budget, design to delegate, and design to dazzle. From planning milestone birthday celebrations to corporate events, SmartDraw can meet your event planning needs.  I’ve created diagrams that were not only used to design, they played an integral role in the coordination of a very important event in my life, my wedding day.

Previously, we took a look at a basic floor plan that was used when my husband and I were planning a bathroom renovation.  Now, that you have an understanding of some of the basic features used in creating floor plans, I thought we’d explore a more advanced floor plan design.  This week, I’ll share with you some of the floor plans from my wedding to demonstrate how you’ll be able to use ONE diagram to:

  • DESIGN and present ideas to your decision makers as well as vendors
  • BALANCE your budget against products and services
  • IDENTIFY the access and flow of the layout for your guests
  • DETERMINE logistic (access, staging, audio/visual, limitations)
  • COMMUNICATE your expectations effectively and efficient to vendors
  • INCREASE your ability to work collaboratively with your vendors


Whenever we met with a vendor, there was always at least 1 or 2 diagrams in hand.  From a project chart of appointments and payments to design ideas that functioned as a starting point for discussion.  When we walked through the Design Brainstorm Diagram (below) with our florist, we discussed a number of factors from table sizes and number of guests to colors of flowers and linens.  Of course, each of the design ideas came with a price.   Fortunately, with a printed version of our design ideas we were able to easily note the details of the changes directly in the floor plan during the appointment.

Decision making was tough at times.  But updating our diagrams was easy.  When we got home from the florist’s design studio, I opened up SmartDraw to make the changes that we discussed on the drive home. With the new diagram on the screen we could both see and agree upon the changes.  With one click of the Email Quick Access button, SmartDraw automatically opened up a new MS Outlook email, dropped our floor plan design into the body and was prompted for an email address.  It’s that easy to share any diagram in SmartDraw.

Sending the updated diagram including our understanding of the change in price, made the turn-around of an updated invoice easy for our florist.  Emailing a re-cap of our appointments on the same day, was the same approach we took with all of our vendors.  As you can see, it took no time at all.

Design Brainstorm Diagram

2_creative designs

Audience: Florist

Items to include:

  • Reasonable number (approx. 3 to 4) of designs to review with your vendors and decision makers
  • Symbols representing locations of activities to ensure space is available at the time of the activity
  • Symbols designed to scale to demonstrate the access and movement of guests
  • Theme and color scheme function as a starting point of discussion

SmartDraw Tip: Ideally, you would recreate the floor plan in SmartDraw to leverage the to scale features as you design your event.  Review how to create a floor plan.  The other option is to import a pdf of the venue’s floor plan.   Simply navigate to the Insert Ribbon and select Picture.  Locate the file on your computer, click Open.  Assuming the pdf is drawn to scale, simply use the Measure Distance control in the SmartPanel.  Discover how to use measure distance and area.  Use the actual measurement of one of the walls, then simply re-size the object by clicking and dragging one of the object’s handles. You’ll notice that not 1 but 4 designs compose the diagram above.  This can easily be done by using the align, rotate, and group functionality.  Receive an overview of how to align, rotate, and group symbols or objects in a diagram.


We’re done with designing, now it’s time to delegate using diagrams.  It’s all about working smarter, not harder.  I simply took the floor plan of our reception (above), copied and pasted it, then tailored it for our vendors to create the Wedding Reception Floor Plan and the Venue Services: Linens and Place Card Arrangement diagrams (below).  In many cases, there was cross-over in the type of information that we needed to share with several vendors.  That meant less work for me. I simply shared the same diagram.

Although we chose not to hire a professional event planner, we were very fortunate to have a relative volunteer to be our day-of coordinator.  A day-of coordinator is responsible for coordinating the logistics of the day to make sure that everything that the bride and groom has spent months planning runs exactly how they had envisioned.  Prior to the day of our wedding our day-of coordinator along with all of our vendors received final diagrams, email introductions to one another, as well as each other’s contact information.  Even though our wedding day would be the first time our day-of coordinator would meet our vendors and see the venue, she was well aware of what the day entailed and orchestrated the day beautifully.

Here are two of the diagrams that were used to coordinate our wedding reception:

Wedding Reception Floor Plan Diagram

2_Design Floor Plan Design

Audience: Day-of Coordinator, Florist, Linens Rental, Staging & Draping, Cocktail Reception Entertainment, Photo Booth Rental, DJ and Emcee

Items to Include: Color, location, numbers, exits, dimensions, color key for reference

SmartDraw Tip: Use Ctrl+C to copy the design you’ve chosen for the event and Ctrl+V to paste the design into a new diagram.  Navigate to the Symbol Library or the Home Ribbon for the shapes you need.  Learn more about adding symbols to a floor plan.  

Venue Services: Linens & Place Card Arrangement Diagram

2_table 12 seating floor plan

Audience: Hotel Coordinator, Hotel Banquet Captain, Hotel Event Manager,  Hotel A/V Department, Day-of Coordinator, Photographers (Note: We provided a list and location of special guests we wanted our photographers to photograph).

Items to Include: Color, location, exits, dimensions, color key for reference, place card chart

SmartDraw Tip: The main difference between the two floor plans (above)  is we now have letters in place of chair symbols.  The reason is the same diagram is now being used as the seating chart.  Since a number of hotel staff members and our day-of coordinator were involved in the placement of the place cards multiple diagrams were created.  Each of the tables in the ballroom had it’s own diagram along with a Ziploc bag containing the place cards for the respective reception table.  Discover how the Tables feature was used to document the seating arrangements in the diagram. In addition to the tables feature, color as well as thickness of lines were used to bring attention to important information.  Explore how you can add shapes and lines with ease.


Even without a professional event planner to orchestrate the day, we were able to design as well as execute the wedding of our dreams, thanks to the use of our SmartDraw diagrams.  The diagrams allowed us to effectively and efficiency communicate to our talented team of vendors, the dedicated hotel staff, and our amazing day-of coordinator everything we had envisioned.   Our wedding was exactly what we had hoped it would be, simple yet elegant.

Our guests as well as the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego Hotel were so dazzled by our unique floor plan of varying table sizes, linens, and overall design that the Hyatt approached us for permission to use our photos for PR purposes.   To view additional photos go to the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego’s Google+ social media page or a vendor spotlight on the Manchester Grand Hyatt in the San Diego Style Wedding Magazine.  wedreception