My fellow co-worker and I were contacted by a restaurant group/partnership that has multiple locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. They were having trouble with their image as it had not been updated for over a decade and was beginning to look tired. It was time reposition themselves with an upgrade to their appearance and an update to their customer’s dining experience.
The partners got together and agreed that they wanted to go with the look and feel of a lodge-like ranch combination that would help reinforce their steakhouse menu.
They asked us to pull together our ideas, so I transformed their old and dated look to a more appealing and rustic feeling steakhouse. Using materials such as river rock, vinyl leatherette, cow print vinyl in the bar, antler lighting, and a custom yoke style booth back design with exposed and weathered rivets, we were able to give them the style and appearance they were looking for.
To further brand the facility, we also suggested that they change rebrand themselves with an updated logo. Once their logo was redesigned, we asked Specialty Wood Manufacturing to help in creating new digitally printed table tops, which have the appearance of real wood without the expense. The tabletops turned out gorgeous and incorporate the logo of the restaurant without the increased cost of custom inlays. Plus the customers are presented with the restaurant’s logo outside of the menu and printed materials which further reinforces the establishment’s brand.
The restaurant has been open for a several months and their customers have commented on how much they love the new look. Even more importantly, the owners love us for helping them create the perfect dining environment. We have gained their confidence and we are on to our second branding’ exercise for a new concept and remodel.
I recently designed a restaurant/bar where the owners wanted to utilize wood finishes and surfaces throughout. Given my limited involvement as a designer to this project, I was asked only to draw and space plan the building layout and equipment, since they had their own designer on staff.
Since the owner decided on all hard surfaces for this particular restaurant: Wood table tops, wood floors, wood ceilings and beams with open trusses, wood chairs, and wood wainscot, sound never had a chance. The only soft element was a ‘lonely’ seat cushion to sit on in the all wood booth.
When the restaurant opened its doors, customers raved about the new neighborhood eating establishment, but after about a month of being opened customers began to complain about the restaurant being too noisy. Excess noise is a common problem when using only hard surfaces throughout any building, because there is simply nothing to absorb the sound.
To reduce noise in an establishment, there are several different materials and many ways to reduce noise. A very simple recommendation for this particular installation is to add elements that can help absorb sound such as, carpeted areas, attractive acoustical wall panels, draperies, and upholstered booths and chairs. For this particular restaurant, they chose to add acoustical banners up in the ceiling to hang from the trusses. This very simple solution has aided in absorbing the excess noise while adding another design element to the space.
The customer had done extensive traveling and brought many exciting design concepts to the table, and allowed us to incorporate many of the ideas we collaborated on together into the new restaurant interior.
The main color scheme includes such colors as cream, gray, and espresso and further includes touches and finishes such as glass, acrylic and gold panels. The interior is very rich in its overall color palette, but it’s the additional design elements that add that extra ‘warmth’ to the space which makes the restaurant cozy and inviting.
To provide that extra warmth, we designed in such elements as, a rectangular contemporary fireplace in a wall near the lounge and entry. Custom clouds were designed over the lounge seating area and dining settee areas. The custom clouds have led lighting strips where different colors can be changed and adjusted remotely, that also add a ‘Warm’ element of light and color. Custom light pendants add additional illumination and warmth, as does the led lighting in the built-in waterfalls. Tall drapes flown in from Asia finish off the windows and add warmth to the room.
All of these design elements come together and create that special restaurant ambiance that ultimately allow the customer to feel at home.