The Many Faces of Mezzanine Flooring
Mezzanine floors are found in all kinds of buildings and are not always even an obvious later addition, if planned well. Many businesses are located in areas where extensions are not easily achieved – for example, shops in a crowded High Street or warehouse units in industrial estates – so the only place they can get some extra space when they need it is to go up into the otherwise wasted space inside the building.
Extra office space
One obvious use for a mezzanine floor is to give extra office space. Having an office on a retail or warehouse floor is not ideal as it is costly in terms of retail space (if you can’t display it, you can’t sell it) and also tends to result in problems relating to privacy. Offices are sometimes hard to site because it is necessary to have a reasonably quiet location to enable efficient work and also to make sure that phone calls and conversations which may be of a private nature are not overheard. For this reason, locating offices on a mezzanine floor is ideal because they are away from the main area of the business, but still easily accessible.
Additional retail space
Businesses often outgrow their premises and although moving lock, stock and barrel is possible, it is also not always wise, particularly if a shop or other retail space such as a garden centre has been in the same place for many years. Customers prefer as little change as possible and so staying put and extending upwards is the best plan. If another line has been added to the normal range, locating it on the mezzanine floor is a very good selling tool. It leaves the older stock position unchanged, for the regular customer who does not shop outside their normal habit, but it gives the more casual buyer somewhere and something new to explore. Many businesses report very much greater flow through and casual purchases when a new line is accommodated on a mezzanine floor.
For warehouses that have seasonal stock, a mezzanine floor is an ideal solution because the stock can be rotated to be out of the way out of season. Planning the storage of seasonal goods can be tricky in a one-level warehouse because it can make picking goods very complicated if there are many products which are in the way of those currently in demand. Christmas decorations, for example, can be quite bulky and can really impede working practices if they stay on the main shelves throughout the summer. The addition of a mezzanine floor can make this problem a thing of the past and swapping the stock over only need happen occasionally and, incidentally, gives an excellent opportunity for a quick stock take.
Coffee shop or other food outlet
Using a mezzanine for a coffee shop or café in a retail setting is a great way to not only add another customer service but also can be used to advantage to give the customers the opportunity to sit for a while and look out over the goods on display. By planning well, a retail outlet can significantly increase sales by placing certain items in the eyeline of people who are sitting relaxing with a coffee or light meal. The combination of food and drink and time to mull over a purchase is a good one and also adds a ‘feel good factor’ to the shopping experience. By placing the food outlet upstairs, the customer feels they are going somewhere a bit special. Adding a name including the positioning, such as ‘Upstairs at . . .’ can add to the attraction.
Plumbing constraints sometimes preclude this usage as the water pressure can be an issue, but if it is possible, using a mezzanine floor as rest rooms for staff and/or the public can be an excellent use for the space. Like the offices, this is something that needs a little privacy and certainly shouldn’t be shoe-horned into a small corner of a warehouse or shop. If the rest rooms are for staff use, a seating area away from the hustle and bustle of the ground floor is also much appreciated and can add considerably to the productivity of a business.