Consumer Expectations, Takeout Boom Drive Changes
Wade through what seems like a steady stream of announcements heralding exciting new restaurant prototypes and you’ll find a lot of common themes. Descriptors du jour invariably include warm, contemporary, elevated and inviting. Materials serve as strong supporting actors, with companies embracing all things natural, sustainable, authentic and, more often than not, reclaimed or locally sourced. QSR and casual-dining chains alike continue to rejigger in-store experiences to ride the fast-casual tsunami, and nearly every brand grapples with how to design and implement prototype changes to facilitate more takeout and delivery business.
Near-ubiquitous of-the-moment features include
Wi-Fi, communal tables, flat-screen TVs, open kitchens, local art and comfortable and varied seating. Even fireplaces and patio fire pits are trending in segments where just a few years ago one might never have imagined (much less expected) such amenities.
But that’s just the point: Consumer expectations — for nicer, better, faster, hipper, more comfortable, more local, more authentic, more eco-friendly dining environments — are on steroids. The recent wave of new restaurant prototypes, both updated versions from legacy brands and fresh new entrants to the marketplace, reflects chains’ attempts to meet and exceed these rapidly changing expectations. It also points to some fundamental, tech-driven shifts in how the guest experience will change even more.
Discover what the design and branding experts think about the latest prototypes on the following stories, then peek inside three new restaurant prototypes.