Restaurant Consultants, Inc. is a full-service restaurant consulting firm based in College Park, Maryland that can help you to open your restaurant as smoothly as possible. We have grown over the past 39 years to help our clients to handle issues including restaurant development, kitchen and food service design, restaurant permits and license acquisitions as well as restaurant construction management. Through years of on-the-job experience at all levels, we have become specialists in solving our clients’ most difficult problems. Through diversity and expertise, we provide our clients with a clear perspective of their operations, enabling them to avoid the stumbling blocks that prevent success. Our focus is to be your advocate and assist you with the roadblocks and challenges that can arise.
Restaurant Consultants, Inc. is pleased to have been or currently hold active memberships and partnerships with the following groups:
Joe Spinelli has worked in the restaurant industry for over 40 years. After relocating from Pittsburgh, PA with a degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Architecture, Spinelli opened his own multi-faceted business that included architectural design/planning, sales, and consulting. After becoming a licensed General Contractor, he expanded his business creating a custom millwork company that manufactured bar and restaurant interiors, an electrical contract service company specializing in restaurants and commercial businesses, and a refrigeration sales/service company. After 15 years in the restaurant-related business, Spinelli broadened his knowledge at a custom stainless steel manufacturing company that manufactured hoods, ventilation systems and custom foodservice equipment in Washington, D.C. He served as Vice President responsible for sales, marketing, design, and management of corporation assets, accounting, and NSF certification.
No stranger to the operation side of the equation, as a consultant and stockholder to a founder/franchisor, he was responsible for the development of a steak delivery chain in the Maryland, Washington, and Virginia area. He also owned and operated several units in the State of Maryland, as an area developer for seven counties. He has been engaged in various restaurant operations throughout his career.
As President and CEO of Restaurant Consultants, Inc., Spinelli renders a broad scale of services to clients in the restaurant industry and related businesses. Restaurant Consultants, Inc, -- an all inclusive consulting business - provides expertise in food service consulting, architectural plans and designs, cost analysis, construction management, lease negotiations, site development and evaluation, business evaluation, permit processing, liquor licensing, and feasibility studies. Spinelli has completed over 9000 restaurant-related projects.
Additionally, Spinelli is a Principal Owner and Vice President of Restaurant Brokers & Developers, Inc. Restaurant Brokers & Developers is a full service boutique real estate broker and business broker specializing in restaurant leasing, sales, tenant representation, site evaluation, business evaluation and franchise sales. RBD services the Mid-Atlantic area including Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. markets.
Spinelli is a Partner at FranPoint Partners located in Annapolis, Maryland- A franchise development and outsourcing company that works exclusively in the restaurant industry. FranPoint Partners helps emerging restaurant franchisors reach the critical 100-unit milestone for mid level franchise systems, new development concepts, and independent restaurants that want to start expanding their company with a franchise program. Spinelli assists in all aspects of franchising, from Concept Development, Sales, Marketing, Real Estate, Operations, and Construction Management.
Partner in Bolt Burgers (Washington, DC)
Partner in Ida B’s Table (Baltimore, MD)
Alan Sparber opened his own architecture firm in 1974, after working as an associate with large general practice A&E firms in Ohio and Maryland. His practice grew into a 6-architect office and soon began working with corporate and institutional clients centered around the hospitality industry, and is currently licensed as an architect in 18 states.
Over the course of his career, Alan designed over 2,000 apartments and condominium units, more than 600 retail and commercial buildings, and 50 college and university, institutional and industrial buildings. He's been both principal architect and project manager for successful mixed-use design-build contracts for industry-leading contractor/developer teams for commercial and government work exceeding $60 million. Noteworthy projects include The Municipal Center at Hyattsville Maryland, six dormitories at regional universities and ten building complexes for the Motor Vehicle Administration across the state of Maryland. In addition to corporate clients, he's been consultant to government agencies at the federal, state and local levels and has been actively serving the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area through community service projects.
Looking for larger challenges, in 2001 Alan was asked to join The Heiserman Group. As Director of Development for this mid-sized architectural firm his responsibilities centered on project development and client relations. His work included shopping center redevelopments in metro DC and Virginia, Starbucks Coffee Company infill projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, retail projects at BWI airport and directing the in-house design efforts for renovations at student union dining and kitchen facilities for Tulane University and the University of South Carolina.
Alan was then recruited in 2006 to join a developer as President of Archon Associates, an architecture firm which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Centrum, a senior-housing development corporation. He directed an in-house architectural staff and was in managing control of several outside architectural firms commissioned to prepare design and construction documents. As a Consulting Architect, Alan is providing regional and national hospitality clients with architectural, conceptual design, construction contract administration and facilities consulting services.
A graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, Gliptis has worked in the hospitality industry as a restaurant employee, marketing consultant and special events director including grand opening and promotional events.
Previously she served as the Vice President of Marketing & Special Events for the Restaurant Association of Maryland in Columbia, Maryland. She was recognized by the Maryland Tourism Organization as the 2005 New Tourism Professional of the Year for her work with the collaborative event “The Taste of Maryland Legislative Reception” and partnership with the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (MADMO). Recently she worked as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism. She currently serves on the Maryland Board of Maryland Life Magazine. Mrs. Gliptis is also the owner of Invigorate Marketing- a marketing consulting firm.
Chris Briscoe is a specialist in the design, planning, procurement and construction of retail and restaurant dining facilities. With over 15 years of experience working with both branded and unbranded concepts Chris has proven to be true professional with the knowledge, integrity and a desire to provide his clients with quality service. Chris began his work under the careful tutelage of the late Allen Greenberg of Hospitality Services, Inc. (HSI.) During the 5 years that Chris was with HSI, he learned the importance of having a well-designed and detailed restaurant. New to the industry, Chris caught on quickly and was soon providing foodservice details, rough-in plans and developing specifications for colleges, universities, airports and travel plazas. One of Chris’ standout accomplishments with HSI, was the project management of the foodservice facility at Hershey Park. He developed the documents for this project and coordinated every detail with the architects, interior designers and ultimately managed the final construction. There has since been minor changes done to the facility, however, this food court remains primarily as it was designed over 10 years ago.
In 2000, Chris was recruited by HMS Host to further oversee the development of facilities in airports and travel plazas. This position allowed the opportunity to not only design facilities but to manage the A&E teams and contractors through to the completion of build out. During his 7 years at HMS, Chris gained a great deal of recognition from branded partners such as Starbucks, BK and Brinker (Chili’s). Chris acted as mediator, providing the brand standards and adapting them to the airport venue. In addition to developing branded concepts, Chris was instrumental in designing and project managing the first Outback Steakhouse in the Orlando Airport. Chris thoroughly understood what was needed to take the project from conception through development - managing design, budgets, procurement and timelines.
Eventually Chris decided to follow his passion, and in 2008 launched his own company, Culinary Conceptions. Culinary Conceptions is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) foodservice design firm that has the vision of being the “all in one stop” for design services for restaurants and retail facilities. Chris has sustained his valuable relationships with architects, engineers, and interior designers thereby developing a consortium of professionals instrumental in bringing a project through to completion. Culinary Conceptions has provided budgets, schematic DWGs, renderings and construction documents for a number of airport and college campus concessionaires, as well as individually owned restaurant owners. Restaurant Consultants, Inc. is proud to have Chris Briscoe on board our team as Design Director.
Debra is an accomplished manager bringing over 25 years of experience in project and business management. As the previous owner of a five-suite luxury eco-lodge in the Great Smoky Mountains, Debra was responsible for all facets of business management and operations. She is skilled at coordinating complex projects and events, taking them from conceptual development to implementation while securing cooperation and support from both the public and private sectors.
Debra is an advocate for STEM education and civic engagement and has brought numerous enrichment programs to her son’s school to encourage students to pursue STEM careers. She participates in advocacy on Capitol Hill, along with her son, to promote the importance of science and education.
She is passionate about environmental issues and incorporates initiatives into both her professional and personal life. In Tennessee, she participated in developing the certification criteria for the Gatlinburg Goes Green program, has presented on panel discussions regarding sustainable initiatives, co-organized annual Earth Day events, and implemented several innovative green partnerships between public and private entities. Debra feels small businesses help define who we are as a society. She participates in micro lending through KIVA.org as no effort is too small for a struggling small business owner, having been one herself!
Over 8 years of accounting, office management and customer service experience. Received the 2012 award of excellence for contributing to outstanding service in the automotive industry. Michelle has an Associates degree in Art & Design, and has placed in numerous art shows for some of her work in Florida and while she was attending school in Maryland. Michelle continues to create and sell her artwork locally to friends and family. A recent art project by Michelle has been seen at the Science March in DC and was also posted on The Planetary Society D.C Chapter Facebook page. Michelle has also studied Martial arts from the age of 6 to 18 and has and received various Belts and Awards for her skills in Taekwondo. Michelle received her certification as a Taekwondo instructor at the age of 13 and has taught, competed, and performed demonstrations throughout the state of Florida to promote the Martial Arts. Michelle is beyond excited to be part of the RCI team
"On behalf of my fellow owners, who include family-farmers from across the country; please allow me to convey our thanks. The project was completed on-schedule thanks largely to your pre-construction, construction and opening consulting services; the professional standard that defines and separates your organization from all in the industry."
-Tom Prescott, Project-Manager
"I don’t know what is more impressive- the fact that you’ve helped my firm for over 20 years or the fact that together we’ve completed over 100 building projects in the DC metro area. You’re responsible for many of our most successful projects being completed and occupied on time, which is no small feat in the DC environment."
Armand's Pizzeria & Grille
"During each of these projects you have provided me with excellent advice and consulting services regarding site selection, store design, food service equipment selection, permit expediting, and construction management."
-John Deem, President
Ben's Chili Bowl
"Over the last 50 years, Ben’s Chili Bowl has found that the relationships we’ve developed have been important to us running an efficient and profitable business. Joe, our relationship with you has allowed us to benefit from your wealth of knowledge in pursuing our new business project. Your attention to details and follow up has been critical to our work projects being completed."
-Kamal Ben Ali
"As operators opening for the first time outside of New York your knowledge of the issues, your tenacity to beat deadlines and your attention to detail were invaluable to us. Your years of being an operator blended with your unmatched knowledge make you a consultant that no operator in the area should attempt an opening without having you on their team."
-Jeff Kadish, Partner
"Your tremendous knowledge and expertise, coupled with a great personality and outstanding work ethic, have made this a most comfortable and rewarding professional relationship. I can truly say that you’re the best at taking a simple idea and turning it into a full blown operational concept."
-John W. Powell, Jr. Vice President
Brailsford & Dunlavey
"Restaurant Consultants, Inc. staff was a major factor in our company's success. As a result, we completed and opened our project on time and within their proposed budget."
"Thank you very much for all of the work you and your group did for Café Deluxe in expanding our restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue. Without your help along the way I think we would still be waiting to open the restaurant. I was very impressed how professional your group was when interacting with our General Contractor and employees with the District of Columbia."
-Tom Baldridge, CFO
"I worked with Joe Spinelli on Central-Michel Richard at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave, NW. In an era when many professionals over promise and under deliver, Joe is an example of the opposite. He set realistic expectations from the outset and then went the extra mile to deliver an outstanding result. I will recommend him to my colleagues and will clearly do business with him in the future."
-Mark Sandground, Jr., General Counsel
"In all of the restaurants we’ve opened, you have been front and center with us and many times leading us. Especially for an independent restaurant group, having people like you on the team is extremely important, even critical. I am proud of my company, proud of what we’ve accomplished and established and proud to be associated with you personally and professionally with Restaurant Consultants, Inc."
-Michael Kirby, Founder
Columbia Equity Trust
"Regarding the Occidental Restaurant & Café du Parc at the Willard Hotel; thank you for your responsiveness, professionalism and assistance in completing two relatively complicated restaurant renovations in DC."
-Edward Lash, Sr. Vice President
"Your knowledge of and experience with the complicated permitting process, historical preservation of existing building, architectural review board requirements and code and inspection requirements for foodservice facilities in D.C have been extremely valuable to our company over the past ten years."
-John Jankowski, Project Manager
"Joe's knowledge and expertise were invaluable and critical to the project's advancement. He anticipated perfectly when we could expect objections on the part of the DCRA and worked closely with the architect, MAPs and general contractor. Equally important to my business partner and myself, however, were Joe’s demeanor and professionalism during this nearly year-long process"
-Susan Holt, Managing Director
Fogo De Chao Churrascaria
"Choosing Restaurant Consultants to be part of our team proved to be the smartest decision we made. Your highly professional guidance and assistance during pre-construction, construction and final opening made our project run smoothly and successfully. Thanks to that we were able to stay within our schedule and open in record time."
-Fernando Barreto, Expansion Manager
International Contractors, Inc.
"I would like to personally thank you and your staff for the assistance and guidance you provided during pre-construction, construction and closeout stages of the project. I can honestly say without your help we never could have achieved our aggressive construction schedule of four months."
-Bruce Bronge President
"You have been an invaluable part of my team in building KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers and A&W Root Beer restaurants in my tenure with YUM! Brands over the last 10 years. Your experience and knowledge has proven time and again to be the key that has opened the gate to successful restaurant openings."
-Joe Celento, Realtor
Just Fresh Bakery Cafe & Market
"You have been a tremendous resource that we are pleased to have on retainer. Whether during design, construction or operations, you always seem to know the answers to the questions that stump others."
-Sean Clancy President
Moctec Mexican Products
"I want to thank you for working with me over the last 28 years and for your help with the three moves we made as we expanded. Your assistance in the planning, purchasing, installing and implementing of production lines for the production of Mexican food products speaks highly for your insight and understanding of production processes and as well as your ability to be a quick study!"
-Victor H. Vazquez, Founder/CEO
"With 850 restaurants around the world, we have run into many unique environments and we rely upon services such as yours to assist with local knowledge and support. Our expectations were exceeded and without your help, we likely would have endured significant delay and lost revenue."
-Fran McDonald, Vice President
Organic To Go
"Your knowledge and expertise have been invaluable to our success with the introduction of Organic To Go to Washington, DC. The guidance provided to us by Restaurant Consultants, Inc. has been integral to our entire process from construction planning to exterior signage, and everything in between! Without your help, we might still be building the first or second café, not celebrating commencement of construction on the 5th!"
-Michael Johnson, Vice President of Business Development
"You are always one of the first vendors I reach out to en sure that the process is properly structured to succeed. The number of times you have achieved a solution to what appeared to be an insurmountable problem is too many to count"
-Todd Barry Goldstein, Regional Director of Construction
Star Restaurant Group, LLC
"Working with Restaurant Consultants has made what is often a difficult process easy. Your timeliness and attention to detail was crucial in allowing us to open Zola Wine & Kitchen on time."
-Dan Mesches, President & CEO
Starbucks Coffee Company
"Your knowledge and expertise has been invaluable to our operation. We are simply able to forward the plans to you, knowing that once they are in your hands, the work will be performed with integrity and competency. Your involvement in getting the Warming Program off the ground for over 180 units has been vital to its success."
-Ed Flaherty, Facilities Construction Manager
TGI Friday's / CFC Management Company, Inc.
"The most amazing part is that you are just as efficient and professional with a one store start-up as you are with a 300 store known concept. You treat each project as if it were the most important relationship to your team."
-Linda Sherman, National Project Manager
The MHG Group of Companies
"Over the last twelve months you and your firm have handled two projects for us—CIRCA at Dupont and a Greenberry's Coffee and Tea store in Rockville, Maryland. Your attention to detail, timeliness of filings and inspections, and perseverance with the requisite government departments have proven invaluable to our corporate planning."
-Stephen P. Guvula, President
Vucurecich Simons Advisory Group
"Over the past year, you have been an invaluable asset to both Founding Farmers and Agraria Restaurants. Building an 8,750 sq.ft. Two-story upscale restaurant in Washington, DC, and within the IMF building, had a potential to be a very complicated ordeal for an out-of-state company like us. I would not consider embarking on another project in DC without your services and recommend you and your team to anyone building in Washington, DC."
-Lara Hardcastle, Project manager
"Your in depth knowledge of the many DC Supplemental Codes proved invaluable during our challenging build out in a 100 year old building. Further, your availability at all times went far beyond what could have been reasonably asked or expected."
-Bo Davis, CEO
YUM! Brands, Inc.
"I have dealt with numerous consultants in my career in fast food development and I am proud to say that you are one of the best."
-Bharat Parikh, Construction manager