Like anyone who has discovered an old, forgotten outfit at the back of their wardrobe can attest, design and fashion are constantly changing. What was considered on-trend a few years ago can become an eye sore in an instant.
We asked our design team to put together their top tips and trends that they think are shaping the way we see and experience dining and commercial cooking today.
Together, they have put forward design advice that can be applied to almost any restaurant or kitchen in any industry. Their advice will help to ensure that your restaurant looks and feels the part, beyond the fad, and for years to come.
1. Open Kitchen Design
Gaining popularity in the restaurant world are catering facilities with open kitchens. The open kitchen provides the ultimate dining experience for customers who are intrigued with the cooking process. Rather than closing the kitchen off to diners, many restaurants are opening up their kitchens, allowing the sights, smells and sounds to flow into the restaurant.
Last year, QSR Magazine named “Transparency” one of the biggest quick service restaurant trends, anticipating that more restaurants will “follow the trend of open kitchens as a sign to diners that they have nothing to hide”.
The open kitchen trend was born largely out of space constraints in compact city restaurants looking to make an impact out of theatre cooking. Slowly and surely larger chain restaurants have taken up the trend, making the sight of chefs preparing your meal, common place. The added benefit being that opening up the restaurant can allow for larger seating capacity.
“We’ve seen more and more higher end restaurants take cues from casual dining, with the line between back of house and front of house becoming less defined”
– John Moores, Director at ifse Group
2. Detail in the Design
“More quirky detail in the design makes the restaurant more inviting”
– Ben, Design Manager at ifse Group
Intricate details matter. From an unusual pattern on the flooring to mismatched fabrics, furnishings and finishes. These little details can give your facility a quirky and individual style which keep your customers interested and engaged with dining environment.
Our recent project at Sky Plc head office focused heavily on details and quirks within the seven separately designed catering areas within the new eco-friendly building. For example:
‘Originality’ was the design focus at 19° East (the main coffee shop at the entrance of the building), and this was translated into the design with a map of the main coffee harvesting locations in South America and Africa. This design fitted into Sky’s drive to promote health and wellbeing, with only original and fair-trade produce. Intricate details across the décor, flooring and branding reflected the originality theme.
We also expect to see restaurants continue to invest in ambient lighting such as pendant lamps, recessed mood lighting and bespoke lighting that can create a sophisticated and alluring atmosphere that attracts customers and further adds to the dining experience.
3. Raw Materials
Bricks, pipes, woods and concreate are already becoming more mainstream in restaurant design as facilities look create a rustic and industrial experience. Stripping down the furniture, the walls, the ceiling and the counters back to their bare utilitarian structure and exposed material adds texture, depth and dynamic feel to your facility.
Our most recent project with Minerva Education in Mayfair put this theory into practice. The client was looking for the new student restaurant in the basement to be bold, functional and most importantly, a visual contrast from the listed building the school occupies.
The result was a uniquely designed catering facility which focused on functional minimalism. The walls covered in oriented strand board (flakeboard) as well as exposed brick, allowing for the furniture and lighting to create the desired atmosphere.
Incorporating eco-friendly and natural elements into restaurant and kitchen design has never been easier and can include anything from live plant décor to naturally sourced ingredients or high efficiency equipment.
“Plants or foliage featuring in the design is becoming ever more popular as companies strive to become eco-conscious”
– Ben, Design Manager at ifse Group
By using hydroponic walls and indoor planters, your restaurant becomes nature-centric. Fresh green and black colour schemes add a wonderful ambiance and further enhances the natural feel of your restaurant.
For quick service restaurants, biodegradable packaging and compostable containers are becoming cheaper to source and therefore more popular. This can add a level of sustainability and responsibility to your brand and is likely to leave your eco-friendly consumers coming back for more.
Increased awareness of consumers are the main reasons that eco-packaging leaves a mark, not just because of fancy logos and catchy phrases.
“It’s about more than food – experience is everything! It has to be the full package to ensure you stand out from the crowd in an increasingly packed marketplace”
– Adam, Marketing Manager at ifse
We’ve seen some revolutionary technology coming into the casual dining market, aiming to speed up service for the ever-busier millennials and work-a-holics.
That includes innovations like the popular SpeeDelight panini and sandwich grill, which uses a combination of three direct and indirect cooking technologies that cook food products in under 60 seconds to chef-like perfection.
“We’ve also seen disruptive technologies, like the Table Tracker device” Adam explaining the popularity of table tracker, a location based device that tracks diners around the restaurant. Meaning no more of the old ‘wooden spoon systems’.
But most importantly, your restaurant needs to have its own look and feel. Authenticity can keep people coming back to your restaurant for years to come. Being true to an authentic, bespoke design creates a original experience for the consumer when they dine out-of-home.
And that’s where we come in… at ifse, we create outstanding restaurant and kitchen facilities for projects of all sizes. Design to delivery, we take care of your entire project, turning your catering facility into an exciting opportunity.
Have a chat with one of our designers about your upcoming catering projects.