Environment Matters: 2019 Restaurant Design Trends

Jan 24, 2019 | Foodservice Industry, Trends

Restaurant owners: your clientele walks through your door for the food, but they are also attracted to the look of your space. Dark wood and earthy styles have been the trend in the past few years. Still, being aware of and updating your restaurant design elements will keep your guests staying for the ambience, even if they just came for the food.

A Conceptual Restaurant Experience

Communal Dining

Shared spaces are bringing consumers back to the restaurants. Trends toward meal kits and take out are waning, and people are looking for more social atmosphere. Diners want to engage with the food, and each other.

Millennials are now the largest, most influential demographic, and they have distinct dining preferences. Communal tables make dining out a social event rather than just a meal.

Open Kitchens

Open kitchen plans do more than just add a new level of ambiance to your dining room. With consumers more concerned with where their food comes from, open-kitchen concepts are on the rise. Customers want to see, hear, and smell food the moment they enter your door.

A Harvard Business School study concludes that people like seeing their food being cooked and the people who are doing the cooking. Of all the kitchen designs studied, patrons preferred the food prepared in the open kitchen at a rate of 17.3 percent.

Chefs, too, like the open kitchen as it makes them feel more appreciated, satisfied, and motivated to do their best. Connecting people to their food and their chef is a win-win.

Fun Foodservice Design Elements

Restaurant concepts may be difficult to change with the trends, but design elements can be changed more easily.

Make it Instagrammable Worthy

You already know that your guests will be taking pictures and posting them online. When designing or updating your space, make it “Instagrammable.” If you are aiming for a younger demographic, keep an eye on how photogenic your dining room is. The more photogenic your restaurant, and your food, the more people will want to be seen there. “This looks like a place my grandpa would love” isn’t what you want to see posted on Instagram or Yelp.

Cozy and Warm

The Danish concept hygge (HYOO-guh) has blown up recently. Hygge, which doesn’t translate to English directly, encompasses the idea of coziness and contentment. Incorporating hygge into your space can be accomplished with candles, warm color tones, rustic elements, and comfortable furniture. Make your restaurant as cozy as home, but with better snacks.

Colors Are Important to Foodservice Industry

Colors Affect Your Restaurant Guests

Color affects people on a psychological level. It’s not just about how something looks, but how something makes your customers feel. The International Association of Color Consultants and Designers reminds us “we eat with our eyes.” Color is critical in all aspects of restaurant design, and it can even influence how often they revisit your restaurant.

Colors Influence Perception of Restaurant Space

When you want to create intimacy in your dining room, color matters. Pastels and light, cool colors, especially blues, can make a space feel larger, less formal, and less intimate. Warm colors, by contrast, can make a large space feel smaller and more intimate.

Intensity of Color

Color saturation—like fire engine red compared to a more muted red—influences the way we feel in our surroundings. Yellow is appropriate for a bright, cheerful breakfast space. A greenish-yellow, however, can change the appearance of skin tones and foods, creating a disturbing effect.

A Brief Overview of the Psychology of Color

  • Red increases heartrate and can make people hungry. It can also make your guest eat quickly and leave, if your goal is increasing turnover rate, red is perfect. You’ll find red in fast food and fast casual restaurants.
  • Orange makes people feel happy, so it’s perfect for places that serve desserts and unhealthy food. It makes people content and less likely to feel guilty for eating poorly.
  • Yellow is vibrant and exciting, so it’s now a good color for relaxed environments. It can have a similar effect as orange in making people happy and content.
  • Greens are earthy, relaxing, and comforting. Green is found in nature, making it the ideal choice for restaurants that focus on healthy and natural foods.
  • Brown is also an earthy color that helps people relax and feel comfortable. It also provides a sense of support and stability that can convince guests to come back and become repeat customers.
  • Blue is a color most restaurants should avoid. It isn’t a natural food color and can actually cause customers to lose their appetites. Blue walls can reflect onto food and make it look less appetizing. While it reduces hunger, it has been shown to increase thirst, so blue make be the right color for bars and nightclubs.
  • White makes your space relaxed and calm. A white dining area looks clean and can make a small space feel larger.  Too much white can, however, make a dining area seem sterile and hospital-cafeteria-ish.
  • Black should be used strategically to make other colors pop and look more vibrant. Too much black will make your space look dark and cramped

Find a Restaurant Designer and Contact Us

Changing your restaurant’s design can be quite an undertaking, even it just involves repainting. For more cosmetic facelifts to things like furniture, dinnerware, glassware, contact us. We can help you with a number of foodservice options that will compliment and enhance any design trend you choose to ride.