A great restaurant experience gets shaped by numerous aspects starting with something as simple as a warm greeting or a smile while being welcomed and ushered to your table. The concept of the restaurant introduced articulately and with élan to the guest paves the way for a personalised experience. The taste of food and home-like hospitality with a human touchensure a memorable meal. Therefore, it becomes important for restaurant designers to be in sync with the guest’s expectations and tap the creative potential of the restaurant to its fullest. With this context, here are some of the latest trends in the restaurant design industry:
Curated experiences – Restaurant design is not just restricted to interior design anymore. From creating the concept narrative to branding, designing logos, menus, uniforms etc., each touchpoint for the guests needs to be curated and imbued with a consistent theme for a holistic gastronomic experience. A case in point is the recently opened Port Muziris in Kochi, Kerala (the first Tribute Portfolio hotel by Marriott in India)– we have created a unique dining experience with eclectic influences where we not only designed the interior spaces, but also the logos, menus & uniforms with our team.
Informal luxury–Fine dining is now being redefined as quality dining. People want informality and to have fun when eating out, but still enjoy good quality food in an atmosphere that enables them to feel relaxed and encourages them to indulge. We see a lot of more interactive& unexpected elements like repurposed objects/ pop-art etc creating a more casual environment that fosters the ongoing trend of instagramable spaces for visual consumption.
Flexibility-It seems that most restaurants are becoming cuisine agnostic which means that they offer selected but varied choices from different cuisines to their well-travelled guests. From a design perspective, this allows for a more adventurous approach where eclectic and diverse inspirations can form a unique identity for the restaurant. However, one must be careful to make sure that it doesn’t result in a pastiche.
Social platform – Dining out is a social activity- People want to eat together in groups, with family or friends. A good restaurant design will encourage this. However, its also good to note that sometimes, people may want to eat by themselves or have a more intimate meal as a couple. It is important to understand this social behaviour and design for both single and communal seating experiences. For e.g.: At the recently opened Ummrao in the Courtyard Marriott, Andheri; we proposed generously sized tables for communal eating but also incorporated a high bar seating and corner tables to offer intimate dining spaces.
Explore Nature- Accessorizing with indoor plants and fresh herbs creates apeaceful and relaxing atmosphere. These emphasise freshness of ingredients on the menu and remind the guests to be more environmentally sensitive to their surroundings. Adding decorative accessories and botanical motifs from artworks to table linenprovides a sense of a natural retreat amidst the urban chaos. In addition, a lot of restaurants are now moving towards naturally lit spaces which instil a sense of well being and provide relaxation to the guests.
Local Stories: From the ingredients in the kitchen to the artwork on the wall, there are many opportunities during the restaurant design process to celebrate the local context. Using locally sourced materials and supporting craft practices is not only environmentally responsive but also goes a long way in establishing the authenticity of the restaurant in the eyes of the guests and the community at large.