Restaurant Development & Design

JUL-AUG 2018

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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5 0 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 MEETS IN DATA-DRIVEN ART ALGORITHM DESIGNS By Dana Tanyeri G reat restaurant design has always been part art, part sci- ence. But let's face it: The sci- ence side of that equation has often been a bit shaky and underappreci- ated. Design, after all, is artistic, intui- tive and creative in its endeavor to build brand narratives and create great guest experiences, right? Isn't science best left to the left-brained IT and finance folks down the hall? Not anymore. Data science is increasingly seen as a critical tool for helping brands make smart decisions, not just about site selection, menu and operations, but also about design. That's in part because technology is making it easier and faster to access more and different types of data. And business leaders simply recognize that in today's competitive marketplace, attempting to develop, design and operate without good data analytics supporting decisions at every level is risky. "We've come through a decade of an increasingly competitive restaurant marketplace. There are so many new concepts popping up, trying to be the next hot thing, and every step is being evaluated from every angle to increase odds of success. You can't just wing it in this environment," says Rob Depp, vice president, brand strategy and retail environments, at FRCH Design World- wide. "You may be able to if you're a single-unit independent, but if you're attempting to grow a multi-unit brand, drive engagement and attract future franchisees, data is important. It creates a filter for and helps to justify decision making. Design and brand experience aren't and shouldn't be completely driven by science, but data can help to give rationalization." Data, of course, is a large umbrella, and so-called big data — extremely large sets of data from a variety of sources that can be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends and associations — can seem tough to gather and distill down to what's impor- tant and worth acting on. Few restaurant companies have the resources to handle the increasingly massive amounts of data available, particularly as newer sources — mobile apps with loyalty programs and social media top among them — have turned what was once a relatively simple data stream into a torrent.

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