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Trendy is as Trendy Does in Restaurant Design
July 4, 2017 by Richard Farrell Jr | News
You may be the type of restaurant owner who would rather quote Forrest Gump’s mama when it comes to food service trends (“Stupid is as stupid does.”). But keep reading and try to keep an open mind. You may be happily surprised at the overall message here.
It’s mid-year and time to check in on all the New Year predictions about 2017 trends. In January, Cindy Augustine collected restaurant design trend predictions for Tasting Table. Among the ideas that floated in various crystal balls:
“The white, bright, fresher look, the California boho-chic look, is the trend.”
“Tropical modernism… light/airy tones in spaces, furnished in a curated bohemian style…”
“A lighter, brighter and calmer vibe [vs.] the heaviness we have been getting for the past five years or so.”
Whether you keep your fingertip on the trend pulse or not, it’s rarely necessary to jump into a major design overhaul. Trends should be seen as a polite suggestion for a review of your décor, not a call to arms. Were you planning on updating lighting anyway? If so, consider general trend messages and find a happy medium with your existing décor.
Although vital, restaurant design almost takes a back seat to the big picture: customer experience. Forget the days when you could get by with “good customer service” (however that may be defined). Today’s diners want it all – convivial atmosphere, rocket scientist-variety servers, flavorful (often customizable) menu items and a variety of craft brewed beers, boutique vineyard wines aged in former bourbon barrels and vodkas and gins distilled just around the corner.
But never fear, if you can’t serve all of that up on a platter, authenticity is equally adored. Maybe you’ve always had a noisy kitchen staff, servers who explain what menu items aren’t available because the refrigerator is on the fritz (but you’ve got a 24/7 Malachy Parts & Service tech on the way, of course) and the best French fries this side of the Mississippi. If so, own all of it. Don’t invent what you think will be perceived as authentic, just be yourself and make sure you can deliver a handful of exceptionally delicious menu items. If the authenticity is actually authentic, word of mouth should take care of the rest.
For the trend naysayers out there, you’ll be glad to know that, ultimately, the best trend is no trend at all. Restaurants will always rely on a smoothly operating kitchen (just another plug – Malachy Parts & Service is happy to be on the team that keeps commercial kitchens operating smoothly), good service and good food.
That’s not to say you can’t start a Pinterest board with new centerpiece ideas. It’s never a bad idea to try something new. Make the most of what is right about your restaurant and tighten up what is a little loose. Trends offer ideas, but don’t guarantee success. As Forrest Gump’s mama might have said, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”