Great Restaurant Design Stands The Test Of Time (Bisnow)

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The U.S. restaurant industry is the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, with a workforce of 14.7 million people. The National Restaurant Association is forecasting industry sales reaching $799B in 2017. But it is a hard industry in which to succeed: 60% of new restaurants close or change ownership within their first year of opening and 80% shut their doors within five years.

There are myriad reasons for this, from bad locations and poor business fundamentals to lax management and ownership. But the most successful restaurateurs seem to put as much care and thought into the design of their spaces as they do the food concepts and menus.

Some hospitality design firms even want to be part of the site selection process. Streetsense design director Brian Miller, whose firm has designed DC standouts like All Purpose, The Dabney, Tail Up Goat and Whaley’s, said his firm likes to be involved before a restaurant chooses a space, because the right space is half of the design process. Streetsense will go on walk-throughs with restaurateurs when a lease is signed to check the condition of utilities, storefronts, where deliveries will be received and where garbage will be sitting. Miller said focusing on these things may not have an aesthetic impact, but will affect the operational impact of a restaurant.

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