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Shirin Shali
November 11, 2023

The Mammoth – A Double-Decker Restaurant

Editor’s Note:  This month’s feature article is about a converted bus like most of our cover stories, but this month’s bus is slightly different.  This double-decker bus was converted into a beautiful restaurant.  We decided to run it because it is so nice and because it shows some features you may want to incorporate into your own bus conversion or perhaps if you are a Bus Nut, you may want to open a restaurant in a bus just like this one. 

My amazing journey with the Bus Restaurant started in 2016.  I started my new adventure, just knowing that I wanted to start a business, that looked different than others in the current market now. I want a business that could attract people not only for good quality food and an exceptional menu but also for its stunning and extraordinary design. I knew I wanted something totally different!!!

The Bus Restaurant, which is called “Mammoth”, came as an idea to start bold, big, and brave.  Our bus hunting started in late 2016. My partner (Sam) and I decided to start this project with an attitude of “no matter what it takes to complete the project, we want it bad and we will make it work.” 

We were thinking big and we were thinking of entering into the food market, where our design has never been met before. So, the first rule was to create original ideas and stick to what we think it will be worth in the end, even considering our bumpy journey.  We very well knew it is not going to be easy at all, but this was too good and too exciting to be ignored as we had a strong faith that we were going to succeed with a happy result.

After three months of research, we have found our precious and beautiful bus near Manchester, England. We traveled up north for a good while until we met Mr. Mike D, a best seller for buses of any kind in the UK. His collection of fantastic buses and his great customer service along with a deep knowledge in his field, gave us all we needed to know initially to purchase one of his most beautiful buses from his great collection.

The bus was driven to the yard we had rented for a place to work during construction. I started my research and design development in the early days. I was very clear about what I wanted to achieve from this particular design, and it was clear how to start developing the rough sketches into a beautiful and functional mobile restaurant.

As the initial idea was developed from an early stage, we went for the bus, which has no roof, but had a top deck because this was going to make it a lot easier for us to fit on a canopy. 

The job began by removing the black safety rails on the top deck and the front display board, which was positioned at the front. The next stage was to remove the seats and the frames, as these all needed to be renovated again.

What it looked like up top at the front before the conversion.
The top safety rails that were removed.

The original seat covers were blue leather, as built by the manufacturer. I changed the seat covers, as this had to match with overall color and the design theme to create harmony and maintain the same design language.

I chose Crimson, patterned, and textured, water and fireproof fabric to cover the seats. The seat cushions were refilled using brand new foam and the seat frames were painted black to match the seat’s color theme as well as the table legs.

The next step was to decorate the walls and floors on the top deck. Choosing materials, which are going to continue reflecting the design theme as well as being suitable and functional was what had to be achieved at this stage of the design.

What materials would really suit considering the nature of the business while we are still continuing with a beautiful design theme throughout the conversion was the question I was asking myself all the time. The practicality was the key aspect in every step of this journey.  After testing different materials, the best option was to use wooden flooring. Using a very thick and good quality wood to continue maintaining harmony in such a narrow area gave me the idea to use wooden panels on the walls as well, but only halfway up.

The top deck after removal of the old seating.
The seat frames are repainted black.
One of the finished seats with new foam and upholstery.
Finished wooden panels on the walls in the seating area.
A finished dining table and seats.
Cozy stairway to the top deck.

The ceiling work was carried out right after removing the seats and the frames. Once the side rails, seats, and seat frames were removed there was enough space to install the transparent canopy on the top deck. Other than the kitchen, this was the main and the most major part of the design and construction.

The original idea for having a transparent canopy in almost a semi-circle shape was to create an amazing view and unforgettable experience for the customers. To blend the outdoor with indoor, I had to think about, not only beauty but also the function, the health and safety rules and regulations, maximum highway height allowances, and also, the weather, as this venue is designed to function throughout the year and is suitable for different climates. 

The design concept for the ceiling began by thinking how would I like to feel when I am sitting about 4.70 m (15.5 feet) off the ground and enjoying my coffee, and food, or perhaps working on my laptop surrounded in a cozy, yet quirky environment.  So, we needed a complete transparent canopy with a solid structure for when the bus is moving and perhaps traveling between locations.  The complete design and plans were passed on to a company that cut the transparent sheets and aluminum frames into the right shapes and sizes for the installation to begin.

Framing for the roof deck canopy.
Daylight with a view.
Table seating on the roof deck.
Customer view from the roof deck.

Customers can take advantage of a beautiful view, rainfall, snowfall, sunset, and sunrise while having their meal or just simply relaxing and enjoying their cup of coffee or adult beverage. 

There are thirteen tables and seating capacity to accommodate forty-six people in total on this deck. The images provide details from when the design and construction work was completed on the canopy on the top deck and the storage on the lower deck at the front of the bus. 

The front lower deck has a storage area, fitted stainless steel shelves, and the toilet and hand washbasin, which are built under the staircase. The bathroom measurement is 1 m x 2.40 m (3-1/4 ft. x 8 ft. It can be used as a changing room; toilet and the electrical power box is fitted in this section behind the toilet as well. 

The total length of the actual bus is 13 m x 240 cm (42.5 ft. x 8 ft.)  A storage area occupies around 5 meters (16.5 ft.) in length. There is plenty of space to store extra machines as well as a power generator at the front.

Stainless steel is used to cover the floor, walls, and ceiling. As this is a small kitchen, food hygiene, as well as a fresh environment to work from, was the reason which influenced the design and the kind of materials chosen to build the kitchen from an early stage. It is, therefore extremely easy to maintain a clean kitchen with this style. Kitchen actual measurement: 5 m x 2.40 m x 183 cm (16.5 ft. x 8 ft. x 6 ft.)

Outlets by the tables so guests can charge their devices.
External LED lighting.

On the top deck, there are LED lights installed under the seats and on the side panels. There are also dimmer table lamps to provide more or less lighting as required.

All the lights used in this project are LED, to reduce the supply from a power generator to light up the space. Power outlets are provided on both floors as shown on the pictures to provide power for machinery as well as those who are using their laptops while sitting at tables on the top floor. All lights are on dimmer switches and there are emergency power lights installed in the kitchen which will be switched on automatically in case of fire or an emergency.

There are two kinds of lighting used externally. One is a flat LED and is installed around the edges and the other LED lights are on the sides at the front and back of the upper deck. 

The washbasin in the bathroom.

The transparent canopy is designed to slide open from the middle. The front and back sections are not movable, but the middle section slides open from the middle to allow in the fresh air. Also, in an emergency, this could be used as an emergency exit to the outside of the bus from the top deck.

There is a toilet and a handwashing basin, the kitchen canopy, four sectioned canopy, twine fryer, electric grills, fries fryer, warmer, soup maker, cake fridge, drink fridge, two stainless steel worktops 3 m x 60 cm (10 ft. x 2 ft.) with sliding doors cabinets underneath. Six LED lights are installed on each side by the canopy and above the worktop and sink on the opposite side to light up both sides’ worktop surfaces.

There is an emergency access and a canopy and fan installed above the cooking equipment. 

Extra storage has been created on the door, to store small items, and in the double large refrigerators.  There are double sinks in the kitchen one for washing up and the other for a hand wash basin. All water pipes run from underneath the sink in the kitchen.

The ticket reader machine, piping, and power panel in the toilet are original. Mammoth is a fully facilitated mobile Bus Restaurant.  

The engine is in very good condition as this bus had only been in service for six months and has only 60,000 KM (37,500 miles). 

The Bus Restaurant is currently on the market to be sold. We are providing full services, from purchasing bus services to a final product and project completion. We supply you with the best-condition buses you have ever seen. We supply buses in different colors shapes and sizes.

They all have the potential to be converted to a new space depending on the customers’ needs and preferences. We do provide customers with consultations, as many as the clients require, and design from concept to completion.

The design process includes: initial consultation with the client, sketches, design development, design ideas and progression between the designer and the client, provide with material mood board, quote, material options, construction, consultation, and once the design is developed and the client is satisfied the final stage will be the technical drawings and construction work. 

We can provide services for the construction work to be carried out in the UK (this is negotiable) and we have an excellent shipping system to ship completed projects to our clients around the world. We are based in the United Kingdom and you can contact Bus Conversion Magazine to learn more about our worldwide services.

Editor’s Note: This bus shows you another idea of what can be done with a bus besides converting it into a home on wheels. For anyone interested in converting a double-decker bus into an RV, restaurant, or Airbnb, we have four double-decker buses listed in our Classified Ad section.  

“Mammoth” Bus Restaurant Features

  1. Transparent canopy. Aluminum structure, Plexiglas side windows, and roof. Weight is approximately 350 kilograms (770 lb.). The ceiling is designed to slide open from the middle to be flexible during all seasons and for emergency exits.
  2. The laminated wood floor and walls are decorated with wood panels halfway up.
  3. Heating and air conditioning, three fire extinguishers, a built-in sound system and speakers, a digital ticket display, and four safety alarms.
  4. Water and fireproof seat covers, designed to match the design and the color scheme.
  5. The seats have been replaced with new foam and covers.
  6. Bug screens upstairs and in the kitchen.
  7. Outlets for charging phones/laptops at all tables.
  8. LED lights placed under seats and around the edges light up the bus from inside.
  9. Small dimmable table lamps to be used in the evenings to provide more lighting.
  10. The stairs and staircase are carpeted from the sides, covers the lower deck and top deck area.
  11. Fully fitted kitchen, best quality stainless steel. The ceiling, floor, and walls are stainless steel. There is one large canopy 3 meters x 55 cm (9.8 ft. x 1.8 ft.) preparation fridge, bain-marie top, grill, Panini toaster, drink refrigerator, hot plate, cake refrigerator/display, steamer, large flat grill, frizz maker, frizz warmer, fryer, digital tilt computer screen. Cutleries, steel shelves, and steel storage fitted in. The bathroom includes a washbasin, a large sink in the kitchen, a heater, a fan, order reader machine.
  12. The front of the lower deck is for storage. Extra space for fridge, freezer, and containers. The front part of the entrance lower deck floor is carpeted for health and safety reasons.
  13. Four external side projectors.
  14. External flat LED lights fitted under window edges all over. 
  15. Internal fitted piping for both kitchen and toilet.
  16. Two large steel shelves in two freezers.
  17. Two bug screens on windows in the kitchen, two fire extinguishers downstairs, digital screen menu. 
  18. Health and safety: Fire exit, kitchen, water and toilet, and smoking signs.
  19. Bathroom under stairs, lower deck.
  20. Twelve tables on the first deck/floor. Passenger capacity four guests at each table for a maximum capacity of 48 customers in total.  
  21. Table size:  60 x 80 cm. (23.6 in. x 31.4 in.) 
  22. Main washing sink and small washbasin, hand wash sink are stainless steel in the kitchen.
  23. Main storage at the front on the lower deck. Two large 90 cm (35.4 in.) freezers, fitted with storage steel shelves, six double power outlets. 
  24. Power panel, internal commercial fan, menu display screen, wireless ultrasonic tank liquid level, and temperature gauge.
  25. Year of the bus: 1983. Bus Engine: Cummins with Automatic transmission. Mileage after overhaul: 60,000 KM (37.5 miles). 
  26. This bus is in very good condition. Has a current MOT, (UK safety certificate) Gearbox oil, engine oil and wheel oil was last changed April 20, 2020. 
  27. Water tank capacity 200 liters (52.8 US Gallons) in the kitchen, waste tank, capacity 100 liters (26.4 US gallons)
  28. Nine double power outlets in the kitchen.
Article written by Shirin Shali
Shirin Shali comes from an Art and Design background, where the passion for creating beautiful images and products becomes real. She has always been fascinated by the way people live their lives and use the spaces around them to accommodate what they call “NECESSARY”.Her passion to design spaces and furniture was the reason she decided to study Interior Architecture and Design to fulfill her desire. She is mainly specializing in minimalist spaces and foldable furniture to allow people to use the most of their spaces. The main elements in designing interiors considering natural light, being bright, airy and spacious allows the design to function beautifully.She is concerned about what is going to happen to our environment in the future. Lifestyles and design transformations are the aim she thinks about twice as a designer. They are not only going to design to what we desire for, but we also design to avoid harming the planet and to stop damaging our environment. Therefore, to recognize what sort of materials are going to be used in construction in the future. This was the reason she decided to concentrate on portable designs and minimalist spaces, where the beautiful design and function are becoming one element to explain the strategies that are going to suit this type of design.“Human nature judges on what is classified as beautiful. We often get attracted to what is beautiful and presentable, but in the language of design this triangle completes, when beauty can blend with practicality”.Look at how the human lifestyle, economy, market, shortages inland and traveling has changed over the recent decades. She believes minimalist spaces are becoming extremely popular in the future. Although minimalism design and foldable furniture had been around since the 1960s, we have never desired them as much as we do now and will in the future. With more shortages inland, and places starting to shrink rapidly and people demanding to travel worldwide to find their dream homes in different destinations is where the desire to expand design ideas is introduced.
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