Dealing with rising costs and tightening wallets has forced many restaurant owners to consider new strategies. Each sector of the restaurant industry faces fresh challenges. Restaurant design trends increasingly favor adaptable restaurant spaces that owners can reconfigure to facilitate placing takeout orders, offer fast foods with better flavor profiles, restaurants hosting of special events or cooking demonstrations and create special technology features such as online connectivity, three-dimensional ordering and nonintrusive access for mobile vendors and delivery services.
Fine dining establishments have become smaller, which lowers maintenance costs. Restaurants retain customer loyalty by offering their guests information about suppliers, food nutritional content and company efforts to reduce carbon footprints. Restaurant designs reflect these changes in several ways:
- Upscale restaurants increasingly offer lower-priced takeout options, and restaurants construct separate entrances to speed up carryout ordering.
- Larger restaurants offer collateral products such as souvenirs, cookware, local sports teams paraphernalia and other peripherals to generate additional streams of income. Upscale restaurants sponsor cooking classes and community-service events, so interior designs need to create multipurpose spaces that staff members can reconfigure quickly. The branding environment has become more intense and gone beyond just the quality of the food and service.
Casual dining restaurants
Many casual establishments now offer benefits that traditionally only the top restaurant destinations supplied their customers. These benefits depend on redesigns of structural features.
- Casual restaurants pursue branding strategies that interact with social media marketing. Recognizable logos and durable concrete designs become integral parts of interior décor.
- Nostalgia and education often play an important role in casual restaurant design. Historical photos, old posters, dedicated wine shops and separate front-of-the-house delicatessens offer customers quicker service and help and advice for catering projects without disturbing restaurant flow. The appeal is directed to younger generations, like hipsters and Millennials, that visit restaurants that mesh with their worldview.
Fast Casual Dining
Hectic lifestyles and faster online ordering trends persuade many restaurants to leverage the benefits of fast-food franchises, but bringing higher quality products and a less factory like format.. These restaurants offer better nutrition and special-diet foods that customers can order and receive just as quickly as the fast-food chains deliver burgers and fries.
- Design features for faster service include shortening the distance between kitchens and service areas, creating commercial kitchens that require little movement from chefs and dividing cooking duties to dedicated stations to speed up food preparation.
- Faster service at casual restaurants often requires reconfiguring dining-room layouts and building accessible storage areas for servers. Weak economic conditions caused many restaurants to defer maintenance projects and equipment upgrades, but many restaurants will invest in upscale seating, new equipment, and inviting décor.
Fast Food Targets Better Nutrition
Fast food restaurants must offer foods that appeal to the greatest number of people, so marketing analysts keep abreast of the latest dining trends. Sustainability and healthier eating have become mainstream concerns for most consumers, so these restaurants now offer healthier dining options.
- Simply adding new items to restaurant menus fails to demonstrate commitment to real menu changes. Restaurants must often install new kitchen equipment to handle upgraded menus.
- Restaurant design trends for fast-food operations include paying more attention to design aesthetics such as uniforms and installing more comfortable seating options.
- Labeling regulations persuade many fast food franchises to offer digital displays of calorie and nutritional information.
- Fast food operations are remodeling their outlets to create open kitchens, install LED lighting, build media centers with big-screen televisions and make exterior enhancements.
Stretch-fabric wall and ceiling coverings allow all types of restaurants to redecorate for culinary-themed events, holidays and daytime cooking classes. Decorators can paint or replace fabric coverings to create new looks without making major remodeling investments. Digital menu boards allow managers to make quick changes to daily menus, promote specials, offer nutritional information and display which limited entrées are still available.
Restaurant design is an important part of marketing strategies and efforts to attract and retain customers in challenging economic times. Industry trends favor smaller spaces that operate more efficiently and restaurants that transform for special occasions. Staff can change the ambiance in just a few hours, saving time and money. Increasingly, restaurants encroach on their competitors’ cuisines to offer more comprehensive choices for regular diners and their guests. In general, the restaurants that are the most agile in responding to design trends have performed the best in a tough economic period.