Altria Corporate Cafeteria
Hundreds of employees call the Virginia headquarters of Altria, a publicly traded corporation producing tobacco, cigarettes and related products, their work home. And every day these hundreds of employees were facing lunch time in a dated and boring corporate cafeteria.
“The servery was just limited,” said Matt Daley, director of design with foodservice consultants Davella Studios. “They couldn’t serve trendy foods, and they wanted to modernize and increase customer satisfaction so that more employees would choose to stay on campus rather than leave at lunchtime.”
As part of a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion of its headquarters campus, Altria pursued a dramatic overhaul and expansion of its servery. LTI was literally on the front lines of the project.
The newly renovated staff restaurant comprised several serving areas, each with its own concept – pizza, a traditional grill, poke and sushi, soup and sandwich. A new “test kitchen” with open exhibition cooking was created, and a unique beverage bar was incorporated.
LTI provided the custom millwork counters and countertops for the entire project, along with QuickSwitch wells and QuickSwitch glass surfaces.
“LTI was very responsive for a project of this size,” said Taylor Smart, project manager with Victor Products, a Richmond-based foodservice dealer that provided the project equipment. “I threw them a lot of curveballs. We had some interesting challenges, things like columns that weren’t quite square and an overall space that needed lots of repair and prep work, but LTI pivoted every time we needed them to and were great to work with.”
Smart said he chose LTI for the project because of their ability to incorporate built-in refrigeration into the counters. This integrated custom refrigeration, which provided easy access for employees at each serving station, was critical to the design and a unique need that most millwork providers couldn’t meet, he said.
LTI provided hundreds of linear feet of serving counters to support the servery’s multiple concepts, along with supporting work counters and other pieces. All were custom-designed to meet various needs, like a recessed plate shelf at the salad bar, swing gates for employee access and areas to hold roll-in equipment.
Counters were outfitted with quartz countertops, and fronts were given high-end finishes in a variety of materials to coordinate with each concept’s design and branding. Tile, hardwood, paint and laminate were all used in various locations.
QuickSwitch wells were installed in multiple counters throughout the cafeteria. The independently controlled wells can hold hot, cold or frozen foods side by side and can switch between temperatures in an hour, offering the ultimate in serving flexibility. QuickSwitch glass shelves, featuring the same temperature switching capacity, were also used in various locations to allow for flexible food display and serving.
“These really make it easy for the operator to change food options from day to day or even from daypart to daypart,” Daley said.
Davella Studios has worked with LTI on several past successful projects.