Restaurant Development & Design

January-February 2017

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

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2 2 • 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 A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 Consultant's Take MIMI WILLIAMS Associate Partner starrdesign When Restaurants Meet Retail T he two dominant trends in retail development — lifestyle centers and mixed-use buildings — present unique challenges for restaurant designers. Lifestyle centers attempt to recre- ate the village green or Main Street format. Mixed-use buildings tend to have restaurants and retail located at the street level and residential or office space located in the stories above. Hav- ing a prime urban location often means a higher volume of guests and increased sales, but these two interpretations of New Urbanism also challenge the core tenets of good restaurant design and present numerous challenges to design- ers and operators. There are several elements to con- sider up-front when designing restau- rants to fit in these developments. Intentionally design the customer journey. While true urbanism developed naturally, lifestyle centers replicate the experience in a contrived manner. In true urban environments, guests park in the back of stores and walk through streets or alleys to get to the front door. This was part of the charm. Now, life- style centers often utilize large internal parking areas, while storefronts still face the street. This leaves designers with a conundrum. Where do you place the entrance: facing the street or the parking area? One solution is to create two front doors. This allows people to see the storefront from the road or center plaza while being able to enter from the park- ing lot. It's not without its drawbacks, however. With two ways for guests to arrive in the space, you now have to create a common circulation path and control multiple customer journeys. By connecting the rear entrance to the front entrance, circulation can take up a significant amount of space. Further complicating matters, in many cases, guests rarely use the door facing the street. In some instances, it may even make sense to have a third door for the back of the house to create a designat- ed area to bring in deliveries and take out trash. Additionally, it's important to look at the customer's path from the parking lot to the entrance. Depending on the location and accessibility of parking, it may be necessary to build a passageway through a multistory space so guests don't have to walk around the building. If this isn't possible, another option is to negotiate valet parking with the landlord. There are a number of solutions you can use to address these concerns. No matter what you decide, it's impor- tant to make sure you're thinking about the customer journey and intentionally addressing it from the start. Signage. In many instances, a shell building's architects don't plan for extensive signage. The front is often en- tirely composed of glass and a canopy. If the restaurant branding doesn't lend itself to a canopy, you may need to No matter what you decide, it's important to make sure you're thinking about the customer journey and intentionally addressing it from the start.

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