The ifse team transformed the head office restaurant, café and flexible working space at RS Components.


RS Components, founded in 1937, is one of the largest suppliers of electronic components, mechanical components and automation equipment in the UK, Europe and Asia.

Operating in over 32 countries, the company has become a digital e-commerce pioneer and the go-to brand for all types of businesses looking for electronic equipment, now distributing over 500,000 products to over one million customers every year.

Client Brief

RS Components, contacted ifse directly, asking our team to put together a proposal to redesign existing 500sqm restaurant and café as part of a competitive tender competing against four others in the industry.

The existing restaurant space was tired, underutilised and experiencing meagre food sales as a result.

The brief was to turn the dark and dull space into a vibrant and flexible restaurant facility that would promote a new, healthier menu offer and create an environment that the entire workforce could use throughout the day.

Visual Identity

After our initial mind mapping sessions across the design, equipment and projects teams, it was paramount that the space needed its own ‘vibe’ to bring employees back to the staff restaurant.

Inspired by the expansive company history, the team at ifse wanted to highlight the company’s commitment to ‘pushing the boundary’ whilst paying homage to the company’s humble beginnings in 1937 by Johann Waring and Paul Sebestyen. The new main restaurant would be branded as Johann’s Market, the newly installed coffee shop as Paul’s Coffee Co. and finally the new break out space as the Radio Lounge. A reference to Radiospares, the original name of the company.

Johann’s Market

Johann’s Market would represent an open and free-flowing ‘market style environment’ and act as a place where diners could grab different types of healthy and delicious cuisines as well as quick and freshly prepared grab and go snacks.

Johann’s Market featured natural wood elements across the servery and seating areas. These elements combined with a light green colour palette, to give the ambience of a rustic market place. This contrasted against a large, pearl white and deep black, central flexible chefs table for vibrant effect.

The central flexible chef’s table was included in the design to complement and enhance the salad offer for lunches, but also provide a central space for breakfast service for toast, jams and pastries.

Adding the latest in Street Food thinking, a theatre cooking point was added to give an open interactive theme to the market, allowing the chef to grill, fry or finish each meal in front of the customer. The existing counter was stripped back and re-cladded to match the new vibe.

A separate deli area was created for fresh sandwiches and paninis away from the other ‘market stalls’ as a solution to the existing issue of long queues forming in the current restaurant.

Paul’s Coffee Co. 

The existing coffee offer was originally located in a limited space away from the restaurant. Our designers were able to observe its popularity and wanted to expand the offer. Paul’s Coffee Co. would therefore occupy the existing larger and underused storage space next to the main restaurant. The brand theme of Paul’s Coffee Co. would be urban and industrial, a clear contrast between the two brands creating differentiation and appeal.

The industrial theme would be carried into the seating area next to the coffee shop, featuring deep teal as the feature colour across the coffee counter, pendant lighting and soft furnishing. The counter also sported a corrugated metal panel to further enhance the vibe.

The original restaurant featured long tables that were underutilised at lunch breaks. ifse, therefore, proposed installing a mix of 2s, 4s, 6s, 8s to allow all types of group configurations. High tables, banquette seating and meeting booths would also be utilised for both diners and working groups.

Various USB, power points and PC connections were proposed across the seating area and workspace booths to make the space an all-day flexible and appealing working environment away from conventional desk working.

The final area, the Radio Lounge, would replace the existing, tired coffee shop with a flexible working space and break out room that would feature a ‘U’ shaped banquette, seat up to 20 people as a great space for teams and briefings.

The Result

The entire workforce within RS, the catering team and the implementation team were delighted with the result of the refurbishment at Johann’s Market and Paul’s Coffee Co.

Steven Hussey, Sales Manager at ifse who spearheaded the project said:

The refurbishment at RS was a fantastic project to be a part of. We staged the project in three phases to ensure the catering team could continue to operate whilst the refurbishment was going on. We worked towards a tight deadline to ensure the employees could get back to using the restaurant as quick as possible”.

Mike England, the president of the EMEA region at RS Components had the following words to say about the refurbishment:

If you think about where we are now, compared to where we were three years ago, it’s a very different environment”.

He added:

“It’s a great working environment, we can now use this as a meeting facility. I’ve been in and out as its been constructed, but I think to see it now completed is something to be incredibly proud of.”

Ian Bell, Vice President of Facilities added:

“[The original restaurant] lacked the proper flow, and we were missing opportunities to generate a better feeling for the staff and sow more sales. And we now have a new demographic of staff who have a higher expectation of the workplace”.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, ifse were the ones that came back with, not only a commercially focused bid, but an enthusiasm for what we were trying to do, and good ideas to back that up. Especially in terms of the flow within the restaurant, and the new ideas in terms of [how to make] the catering offer live”.

Andrew Fordyce, Group Managing Director at ifse summed up with the following:

“The design team have been able to create a unique visual identity and vibrant restaurant environment that not only provides a solution all of the issues that the previous restaurant faced, but also create a space where people want to use throughout the day. It was tremendous for our team to see that the restaurant refurbishment had overwhelmingly positive feedback and that the space was utilised to the fullest immediately after the launch.”