Restaurant Development & Design

JUL-AUG 2019

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

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7 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 9 Form + Function distinguish the main entry from an exit, pop it out or recess it, Foley says. Some locations make establishing an entry particularly challenging. If located in a narrow alley, a freestand- ing sign such as a blackboard located at the end of the alley might be nec- essary to draw attention. Distinctive Features Make Entries Pop Tuscan Kitchen in the Seaport area of Boston posed a tough challenge for de- signers with Prellwitz Chilinski Associ- ates, Inc. (PCA). The restaurant's third location operates from the second €oor of a modern, glassy building in a dense- ly built neighborhood. The site would not bene‚t from easy visibility from street level, so it was critical to make the two entries visible and welcoming. Two signs, one with lettering only above the doorway, sit parallel to the street, and another, featuring the restaurant's sun logo jutting out from the second €oor, faces perpendicular to the street. The main entry of the building leads to a grand two-story lobby capped by a large chandelier. This immediately establishes the ‚ne-dining atmosphere to be experienced on the €oor above. Some entry designs include eye- catching artwork. Distinctive features such as sculptures, mosaics, murals or plantings make a strong statement and set expectations about the customer experience. Legal Seafood's location at Boston's Logan Airport Terminal C, for example, features a 10-foot ‚sh sculpture on the side of the entry. The prominent feature catches the eyes of passengers in the security queue. Well-tended plants can add a touch of class. In a location where custom- ers' attention can be diverted by a lot of activity or many potential focal points, such €ourishes help an entry stand out. Appropriately bright lighting that makes signs, logos and artwork clearly visible after dark is also crucial. To create an upscale appearance, use uplighting. To conceal light ‚xtures, consider using planters in walkways or garden beds. Low-voltage LED lights offer warm lighting with low energy costs. For some casual establishments, neon lighting — LEDs can mimic this effect, too — offers a distinctive way to express a brand or culinary style. A posted menu can also draw the attention of pedestrians. Common in urban restaurant rows, glass-enclosed boxes containing the bill of fare function as marketing collateral, distinguishing the establishment from neighboring competitors. This element is not used as commonly as it used to be, though, Foley says. Many people are drawn to restaurants from social media and ac- cess menus online before setting out for a meal. Offer Protection from Harsh Weather Functionally, entries should protect patrons and the doorway from the ele- ments. Canopies and overhangs serve that purpose, and they can be printed or embossed with the name and/or logo of the establishment. "Canopies and awnings also help distinguish the archi- tecture from the rest of the storefront," Foley points out. On the ground, it's crucial to pro- tect customers from slipping on wet sur- faces due to rain, snow and ice. "Most owners put out supplementary mats in winter," says Karen Dubrovsky, principal, PCA. Restaurant staff can place these under an awning or just inside the front door. "We've added branded walk-off mats for some clients," adds Jillian D'Amato, associate, PCA. Energy codes in many localities require vestibules inside of the main entrance to create an air lock that keeps harsh winds and extreme heat and cold out. About 50 square feet of space between the exterior and interior doors is common for these features, Foley says. Within this area, some establishments add benches for customers to wait for their table during busy periods. Some vestibules include a generous amount of glass so that diners have an expansive view of what's going on inside, making it easy to monitor the queue. Sizing Host Stations In full-service eateries, the host station often sits directly in front of the main entry and thus captures attention. These areas typically total about 50 square feet of space, though this can be reduced, especially in small, tightly packed restaurants. The size of the podium and coun- ter space depends partly on how many items the host or hostess will keep here. Bulky menus, place settings and electronic devices that inform patrons when their table is ready must be easily accessible. Some restaurants choose to replace the latter devices with smart- phone apps that can perform the same function via text messaging. Size the top of the station so that it holds the electronic tablet or worksta- tion that records reservations and seat- ing availability and a charging station or electrical outlet. "Electronics are not that elaborate," says Dubrovsky. "You can make the host station quite small." At Musume in Dallas, Gensler put the restaurant's logo on the hostess stand.

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