Restaurant Development & Design

FALL 2014

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

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F A L L 2 0 1 4 • 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 • 3 1 we are a quick-serve where you come in, order, pay, get your number and a food runner brings out the food," Parsi says. "The counters are standard size, but below the counters we have things children would be looking at, such as an aquarium, so the kids are occupied while the mom is trying to place the order." Giggles N' Hugs' food is made-to- order and everything is prepared in-house on a daily basis. Pureed vegetables are secretly added to as many sauces as possible and even Sophia's Mac N' Cheese features pureed butternut squash. Additionally, the kitchen has designated areas for preparing allergen-free foods and staff members also use separate utensils when preparing those dishes. With three units currently open, Parsi expects to open two additional locations within the next few months. The company also has a smattering of international franchise requests thanks to an abundance of press. Nearly every national celebrity with children (and some without) has been photographed at a Giggles N' Hugs. "When I started Giggles N' Hugs, it took off like a rocket ship. It was like I had just created electricity," Parsi notes. "People across the world want the same things that I want for my children. It's one world. When you have kids, the world is fat." + K rista Watterworth, of Krista Watterworth Design Studio in Jupiter, Fla., is the star of two HGTV shows and recently teamed up with host Robert Irvine to provide design solutions on Restaurant: Impossible. rd+d asked this restaurant design pro to share a few kid-friendly ideas. rd+d: What should operators consider when looking to design a child- friendly restaurant concept, both architecturally and from an interior design point of view? KW: Comfort and safety are keys. Various seating options are a must, the cooler the better. Fun, brightly colored highchairs or boosters appeal to even a stubborn child. Booths, upholstered seating, and round or square tables with soft edges are real life savers. Furnishings laminated in vibrant hues will appeal to the youthful eye and create an overall happy mood. Adequate seating in reception is an absolute necessity! Parents with chil- dren waiting for tables need a place to relax, especially with infants and toddlers. Changing tables in the bathrooms and storage for strollers are also important elements when laying out the new design. Restaurant own- ers, designers and architects should give these features similar credence as ADA requirements if they want families as repeat customers. Sound design is also important (and often overlooked). My kids love to be in a bustling environment but want to leave ASAP if a restaurant is too loud. A good sound designer (or a little Google research) can help determine which areas of the restaurant need sound absorption or refection. Carpeting, cork fooring or sound-absorbing acoustical tiles are good places to start. rd+d: What are some easy changes that operators can make to existing locations to make them more kid- and family-friendly? KW: A new branding strategy is a great jumping off point. When I design restaurants for Restaurant: Impossible, I create a brand that incorporates a new logo in line with the new color scheme. Don't sacrifce chic for kid-friendly! Keep the branding fresh and modern to appeal to parents too. Fun elements throughout can be easy fxes. Think organic shapes, geometric patterns and interesting textures. At a restaurant in Connecticut, I incorporated a cool wood-slatted wall with an integrated fsh tank. If you don't have a children's menu, create one! That's probably the easiest change to make. Include fun options for kids with food allergies such as grilled chicken nuggets or sliders with gluten-free buns. Oh, what I would do for a restaurant that offers carrot sticks, grapes or apple slices! Families will dine out during the week so it's a great opportunity to take advantage of slow nights. Offer fun kid activities like balloon animals, face painting or discounts on kids' meals. Distractions are key and can come in many forms, but coloring and activity books are amazing and relatively easy to incorporate. A restaurant I designed in Florida had a jar flled with large shells and sea stars and each kid was allowed to take one when they came through the door. I also fnd that restaurants with open kitchens are mesmerizing to kids. Some parents may disagree with me, but a television with Nick Jr. playing non-stop would make many parents with young children ecstatic. rd+d: Do you recommend color changes to walls, etc., to appeal to younger diners and their parents? KW: Defnitely, but only if done tastefully and in moderation. Using color properly is not for the novice, so I recommend hiring a professional to consult on a color palette. The best color palettes for bold accents are pri- mary colors, jewel tones (i.e., sapphire, ruby, emerald) and neon, which is certainly on trend. Doing lighter tones of these hues with a gray base would be more in tune with modern style. rd+d: What's on your "top five" list of priorities for kid-friendly restaurant design? KW: My fve key priorities would be: • Comfort. You must have ample seating. • Activities. Distracted, busy kids are happy kids. • Entertainment. I love my children, you should, too. • Color. No one likes boring décor, least of all kids. • Sound design. I like when I can hear myself think. Kid-Friendly Design Ideas

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