Restaurant design trends emphasize, light, comfort, social aspects of dining
The importance of light, comfortCustomers are looking for design that is open and feels like it has more space for a better dining experience, notes Adam Williamowsky, director of restaurants at Streetsense, a design and strategy firm based in Bethesda, Md. Diners don’t want to feel like they are being sandwiched together with tables nearly on top of each The challenge for restaurateurs is to find a balance between maximizing the profit of a dining space (seats per square foot) and making a dining room comfortable enough with adequate distance between tables. Bars as a centerpiece of the restaurant are still in vogue. Restaurateurs do well when they accommodate single diners and small groups with bar seating and high top tables. Communal tables are not as popular as they once were, notes Williamowsky, but large tables can be effective in creating last-minute and non-reservation seating for singles and couples. When lighting and seating can come together in a very unique fashion, this can add to the allure of the space and give it energy. This is evident at the Cowfish restaurant in Atlanta, Ga., a starrdesign client. The firm also sees the use of a lot of white and yellow to create bright spaces in health-oriented brands. The way lighting is integrated into a restaurant space can help make it functional for all dayparts.
Elements of ‘openness’ and transparencyConsumers are putting a lot more emphasis into the quality, functionality and origins of the food they are eating. With the concept of transparency being central to the food industry, and cater to customers’ preferences, open kitchens are still in demand. These spaces need to look appetizing and design firms like Street Sense and starrdesign can find ways to create the right environment of these open kitchens, paying particular attention to the viewpoints and angles from the dining areas. The functionality of kitchens are important as well, notes Williamowsky. Now that much of a restaurant’s business, particularly for fast casuals is take-out, the kitchen needs to have sufficient prep and staging areas to accommodate this type of business, as well as catering, and the prep of meals of large outdoor spaces. Mobile ordering and pick-up can tax a business if it is not carefully design. Mobile ordering is a big trend that filters down to how spaces are created. Revving up the energy at a restaurant can be accomplished through various means, one of which is outside patio spaces. “Outdoor dining spaces have never been so exciting, with festoon lights, fire features, communal tables and a breeze,” says Pike. “This is an older trend that seems to have some staying power.” Williamowsky says that restaurants can be designed with their surrounding environment around them. This forms a holistic integration with their neighborhoods and environments. The Dabney is one such example. Its design and structure hark to a colonial time and make the space feel homely and unpretentious. The Dabney’s design also fits well with its surrounding Logan Circle and Shaw neighborhoods, and the stone former rowhouse where it was built. This integrated design philosophy is in play and very much a part of D.C. restaurant design. With so many picture of food and dining experiences being shared on social media and Instagram, some restaurants are creating design aspects that welcome this trend. A tile mat at one of its restaurant client’s entryway (see photo) has made its way to many customer’s social media accounts. Restaurants are part of the Instagram trend, and many digital apps that resemble it and will follow in the future. Some restaurateurs may do well with abandoning their vexations related to foodie photos, camera pictures of their restaurants and selfie moments, but rather embrace the trendy activity. “Demand for these elements is amazing,” says Pike. This article was originally published in Eatery Pulse News. To read more articles like this one, navigate to our digital platform.