The F&B industry has evolved from an era where one would think only about the menu when deciding on where to go, without considering what kind of atmosphere they’d be eating in. Believe it or not, the ambiance of a dining area can affect your mood, and ultimately the whole gastronomical experience. Operators of F&B outlets are now paying increasing attention to the entire design and finishing of their spaces, ultimately to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere for potential clients. A comfortable dining area would have diners staying longer and likely to spend more. An impressed customer with a high level of satisfaction due to good experience equals word of mouth marketing for your company which translates into high profitability levels. Here are eight ways in which the design space unknowingly affects overall dining experience:
A restaurant’s concept is closely intertwined with its branding efforts to include menu, décor, service style and marketing. These factors determine the choice of deciding on an indoor or alfresco dining concept. For example, Alfresco denotes a more casual way of dining, therefore space should be made to reflect an ambience which naturally blends with nature and this creates a mood of relaxation for the diner. An indoor dining concept, however, is likely to have a finishing more formal such as a fine dining area or corporate enclosed space.
The layout and spacing of a restaurant depend usually on the concept. An open or tightly packed space may affect how long one would stay in a restaurant. Remember that, if you are comfortable in a place you wouldn’t be in a hurry to leave if you have time on your side. Spacing should be considered from the entrance to the seating area, to the washrooms and to the server’s station. The dining space should not look cluttered and there should be an atmosphere where the customer and even the staff can move freely. Little things such as air circulation in the space could turn a dining experience into one to remember or one to forget.
The exterior is the first and last impression of an F&B concept which either makes you lose appetite or look forward to a pleasurable experience. Recent design trends have placed a lot of attention to the layout and exterior décor with the aim to catch the attention of diners and to provide for them a welcoming experience.
Lighting design affects the diners’ overall experience. In the design process, luminance should be used correctly to match with the restaurant’s concept. The positioning of lighting is also very important, as it should not reflect directly on the diner, nor should it be too bright to blind! Lighting should be used cleverly as it in most instances dictates the mood and balance of the dining space. Lately, design trends have focused on the use lighting layering a technique which can be used to highlight vital areas within the space such as wine displays and other high-profit areas. Natural lighting is also considered depending on the setup and gives an open feel to the dining area.
5. COLOUR SCHEME
The use of colours in a dining space is of the essence as it appeals to all the senses of the diner. A specific choice of colour can highlight or neutralise all other aspects of design and décor and create calm, neutral or bold emotions for the diner. A blend of colours is usually preferred and care should be taken not to avoid colours that clash because visuals can have a dramatic effect on mood. Colours are used according to the concept, however, whichever colours are chosen should suggest a warm tone.
In a recent article, Interact Group’s CEO Shane Curran writes: “Seating is a vital aspect of the interior design of any concept. Comfort and functionality have to be considered as the same importance to the customer as the aesthetic shape. Traditionally restaurant clientele prefers softer and taller furniture and research has shown that the highest spend is generally from those seated in booth or banquet seating. Something that is often overlooked when it comes to furniture is creating the right spacing between tables: a lack of space can reduce intimacy, while too much space will make guests feel like they are on show, wheelchair access must always be considered as each and every person that visits your restaurant must feel that they are welcome and that their needs have been considered.”
7. COVERINGS AND TEXTURE
Wall coverings, textures and flooring unknowingly stimulates the senses and is psychologically linked to appetite. Texture adds dimension to the dining space and the finishing whether smooth or rough texture impacts on the mood of the diner. Textured walls would add visual weight to the settings and give an intimate feeling, whilst a smooth finish provides a sleek feeling. Though many artistic techniques are used in modern design trends, these should complement all other aspects in line with the concept to strike a balance to give a finishing that provides a comfortable setting for the diner. Flooring materials should be selected according to the needs of the dining space with safety measures taken into consideration to prevent injuries.
The artwork incorporated into the décor usually tells a story of the identity and branding of the restaurant. It is also a reflection of the menu and service style. The signage, paintings, photographs and illustrations give the diner an idea of what to expect even before the meal. Minimalism is sometimes preferred when it comes to artwork though, as most operators would like to have their cuisine speak for itself.
At Interact Group, bringing spaces to life with our designs is we strive for. All too often there is no connection between the food the menu and the interior design which results in a soulless space and ultimately a failing concept.
To give that unique finishing touch to each project, our ideas are original, creative and carefully thought-through. A philosophy which makes our work exceptional, eye-catching and will leave clients and our client's customers amazed and content. Please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.interactgroupintl.com.