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Manager Design Projects

Orlando, FL

The Design Project Manager is responsible for managing outside architects, engineers, and various development/design consultants in the development of contract documents and obtaining permits to construct for new and remodeled restaurants (conversions and corporate). This role has key responsibilities for acting as a liaison with Darden’s Construction Project Managers, Real Estate Directors, Legal, Project Consultants, as well as interfacing with other departments within the company.

This role will also act as Darden representative when interacting with Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), and other Government agencies with respect to clarifying building or site requirements, obtaining permissions/permits, and responding to comments from the various official governmental departments timely.


  • Manage outside Architects, Engineers, and various Development/Design Consultants in development of contract documents for new and remodeled restaurants as expeditiously and cost-effectively as possible to obtain (all) permits to construct.
  • Oversee maintenance and updates of prototype documents and archival of data/documents at project completion.
  • Review Construction Documents produced by outside consultants to verify scope & intent, coordinate revisions, change orders and design directives.
  • Be the liaison for the Construction Project Managers and the outside consultants.
  • Coordinate planning functions with Site Development Consultants (SDC).
  • Interface with other teams (Operations, Real Estate, Licensing, Purchasing, Culinary, etc.) to adapt designs to specific sites.
  • Manage outside consultants (including selection, release, and contract) in preparation of property studies including site investigation report, environmental assessments, soil reports and surveys.
  • Select and place under contract outside Engineers, Consultants, Architects, SDC’s as needed to successfully manage the project and obtain (all) permits to construct.
  • Assist the Legal and Real Estate teams in creation & negotiation of Work Letters, as needed.
  • Manage the process via outside SDC team to obtain approvals for design of building and site design, installation of site utilities, payment of permit and utility connection fees, obtaining landowner and governmental approvals to construct, implement governmental contract documents including easements and bond instruments (with Legal), or any other requirement not listed in order to construct and open.
  • Interface with other team members (Food Service Design and Construction Project Managers) to identify and implement revisions to prototypical documents.
  • Evaluate value engineering possibilities for current prototypes. Participate in post-construction debriefs to learn from contractors and CPM’s errors in plans that need to be corrected.
  • Evaluate in-line and conversion opportunities as presented by Real Estate and manage production of conceptual floor plans when required.
  • Facilitate the review and release of the Bill of Materials (BOM) with our Purchasing Department.
  • Coordinate and participate in Project Release and Kick-off Meetings.
  • Participate in project walk-throughs and turn-overs as required.
  • Responsible for the assembling of design related materials for release of projects to our consultants.
  • Based on overall program requirements, assist in the survey and development of specific restaurant scopes.
  • Work with the Brand Design Managers and Construction Project Managers to verify accuracy of construction documents submitted by outside consultants.
  • Hold outside consultants accountable for quality control on their documents, ensure QC checks are occurring.
  • Work closely with the Construction Project Managers to coordinate the construction process; be able to address design and documentation related issues and articulate direction as required.
  • Work with the Brand Design Managers to research design and facility related issues (materials, systems, etc.)
  • Ability to travel up to 20-30% of the time.


  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience managing the work of design professionals & site development consultants on multiple projects concurrently in the restaurant/retail/hospitality arena.
  • Experience/familiarity with the use of Computer Aided Design (AutoCAD) programs, REVIT, BIM, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
  • Knowledge of architectural office practices.
  • Proven ability to direct and motivate outside design professionals of all disciplines.


  • B.S. or equivalent degree in Architecture, Interior/Environmental Design, Civil/Structural Engineering or Construction Management.


  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to interact professionally with other departments and outside business contacts.
  • Ability and willingness to participate in a system of management by objectives.
  • Demonstrated desire and concern to stay abreast of evolving design and construction means and methods through continuing education programs and other informational sources.
  • Ability to communicate and function effectively within a complex corporate environment.
  • Ability to operate effectively given broadly defined objectives.
  • Ability to adapt to changing business environments, solve problems and take advantage of opportunities to minimize project costs, maintain construction schedules and improve quality of completed facilities.
  • Be able to multi-task and manage the development of multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Good judgment and decision-making abilities.


  • Experience working with multi-unit restaurant chains desirable.

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