Dynamist Blog

Overnight Remodeling

In Sunday's Dallas Morning News, Cheryl Hall profiles a local construction company with an interesting business niche:

Every midnight, construction crews of his Fort Worth-based RightWay Facility Services move into a dozen or so restaurants around the country like commandoes. These eight- to 10-man teams lay carpet, put down tile, install kitchen equipment, replace sewer lines, knock out and rebuild walls.

Eight hours later, they fold drop cloths, gather tools and clean up so that the eateries can serve food in a few hours without missing a beat.

"What we do isn't glamorous, but it is amazing," says the 51-year-old owner of RightWay, which lists many of America's leading chains as clients. "We get no timeouts or do-overs."

His company routinely updates restrooms at Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters for Darden Restaurants Inc. and has overhauled nearly 100 TGI Friday's for Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc.

Chick-fil-A, Bennigan's, Chili's, Denny's, On the Border, Outback Steakhouse, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Jack in the Box, Applebee's and Tony Roma's also depend on RightWay to keep their buildings up to corporate snuff.

"Restaurants expect miracles. If you have to close down to get a job done, they want you to close down and reopen like that," Mr. Robertson says, snapping his fingers.

Hall pulls out some good details about the business, from wages (significantly higher than run-of-the-mill construction jobs) to specialized problem-solving (how do you lay down new kitchen tile without closing the place for two days while it dries?). RightWay represents the kind of specialization and innovation that rarely get press coverage--there's no news peg--yet contribute enormously to the cumulative process of economic growth.

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