Paul Bishop, founder of Bishop Design LLC writes about the main challenges that hospitality designers face today and asks if playing it safe with design is the biggest risk of all.
Did I tell you the one about the chef, the restaurateur and the hotelier?
I have had the immense pleasure and privilege to work with and be enlightened by the best of each – all pioneers in their chosen field?
Let me set the scene.
Most recently while engaged in a design presentation, we somehow found ourselves straying from our scheduled plan of discourse. The topic that emerged was the notion that each of the aforementioned individuals are these days being challenged to adopt a more creative approach to satisfy their various customers, thereby taking on different personalities at different times.
The chef’s view: It’s all about the food
The venue styling and envelope should embrace this ideology with the interior subtly shaped and defined by a food-focused approach.
Now we all know that chefs love their kitchens but are in most circumstances restrained from dictating the actual space required by a sharp slap on the wrist from the restauranteur. Although it is now becoming increasingly popular from a design perspective subtly to merge the front and the back of house together.
In doing so, the kitchen achieves an entertainment factor, showcasing the food, produce and production all before the customers’ very eyes. We are also experiencing an increase in the number of people preferring to eat at the bar or at an open kitchen, allowing for the operations and heart of the establishment to be an animated integral component of the restaurant’s interior theatrics.
Nowadays you need more than just good food to impress; customers are searching for restaurants that can offer a more memorable dining experience, thus posing the question: – is playing safe with your design the biggest risk of all?
The restauranteurs’ view: Conceptual restaurants
We are in an ever expanding and highly competitive market, with the emphasis on the creation of an original and innovative design concept to establish the venue so that it sets itself apart from the rest of the market. It is while developing the concept that we strive to establish a strong narrative that evokes feelings, recollections, a sense of warmth, is visually captivating and leaves the end user with an underlying impression.
It is a general understanding that most dining concepts (brands) can grow city-wide, a few nationally and even less succeed on an international stage – the latter an achievement is considered the ultimate success at the highest level.
Restaurant owners are becoming more open-minded about adding into venue interiors bold artwork or commissioning an artist to create an eye-catching mural. The fact is that imagery and text on walls captivate the eye. The more striking it is, the more likely your venue will become the topic of conversation or better yet a photo opportunity for social media.
2016 has continued to present a steady expansion of casual dining establishments where the interior aesthetics communicate a humble, personal feeling, in turn promoting a more relaxed casual vibe.
Tectonics are playing a huge part in the creation of a popular “buzzing” venue. Over recent years we have witnessed a gradual shift away from soft furnishings towards hard surfaces. In doing so the sound is allowed to travel more freely and reverberation increases, generating rising noise levels.
The hotelier’s view: Visionary ‘creating the carve out’
Hotels, in general, are not great at food and beverage as revenues generated are somehow subsumed by the overall balance sheet.
We have therefore seen an ever-increasing approach towards the ‘carve out’ – an intelligent approach that sub-lets the F&B outside of the hotel’s daily operations.
Leaving only the all-day dining under its management and maintenance, not only does this reduce the hotel’s actual operational cost, it also generates increased revenue in the form of rental income as popular homegrown and international franchise brands can generate an instant following and additional footfall. This also has the benefit of increasing the hotel’s market appeal, all without significant headache or expense – clever!
It was primarily American entrepreneur, hotelier and real estate developer Ian Shraegar who identified this opportunity, and the trend continues to this day within lifestyle and boutique hotels.
Our approach to restaurant and bar interiors is founded on a strong, comprehensive sector knowledge and ultimately an in-depth customer understanding. Interpreting how the intended audience might respond to design, we ensure that all is encompassed in the creation of a dynamic, functional yet ultimately profitable solution. We are continuously looking to create versatile dining spaces that are in essence ‘timeless’, where human interaction is at the forefront. It’s an evolving world out there, with the current explosion in street food becoming one of the hottest new culinary trends, even within a restaurant environment. Could street food go gourmet? Now there’s food for thought!