The Oyster Bar: Restaurant Interior Visual

There’s nothing that inspires us more than to design a restaurant interior.  There are many factors to consider when designing a restaurant and it’s often a fine balancing act to get it completely right. 

The key things that usually need to be considered for restaurant interior design are as follows: 

  • Brand 
  • Restaurant food concept 
  • Location – Restaurant site + neighbourhood 
  • Restaurant site – the actual space in which the restaurant will operate  
  • Building – heritage and history, does it form part of a bigger business (hotel or similar) 
  • Team – Design team and operational team 

In a post pandemic world it is highly likely that your customer will have interacted with your brand online via social media or even to make a booking via your website. It’s important that at every touch point you create a connected experience for your customer. At Grey Coffee we believe that every brand experience should be aligned and connected. This isn’t just online but within your interior space too.

Restaurant interior design and brand clarity

In order to create a highly connected experience for your customers we believe you need to have total clarity around your brand. Restaurant interior design isn’t just about creating a stunning interior for us it’s much more meaningful. Having clarity around your brand will do a number of things. It will determine a clear vision for the future of your brand. For a restaurant it will usually help to shape the food concept too. Your brand will also be what enables you to position yourself in an already crowded market of food and beverage offerings. 

Your brand should be memorable, have clear purpose and an understanding of the audience you wish to attract to come and dine with you. With every great food and restaurant concept we want to make sure that we tell your brand story and create a narrative that is compelling which will ultimately draw people in to know more about your concept. 

This is a key one for us because restaurant interior design is about creating a connected experience which helps tell your story. This doesn’t mean it has to be ‘gimmicky’ or plastered head to toe with your brand name. It is about design consideration and making meaningful decisions when it comes to highly branded interior experiences.

Why is connected brand experience and restaurant interior design important?

At Grey Coffee we believe in brand thinking for connected experiences. In fact connected brand experience has become such a big part of our business it is all we are focussed on. Our approach enables us to specialise within an area of brand strategy and interior architecture which we are really passionate about. 

We help brands to increase their profitability, build winning strategy and shape authentic and consistent customer first connected experiences. Whilst shaping a consistent brand experience may sound easy, the reality is that there are many moving parts. This is why a holistic approach is required in order to align your team and ultimately ensure that collectively we shape brand experiences which are considered and meaningful for your brand. 

We know that connected brand experiences are so valuable for many reasons. The first of which is that a highly branded interior experience is going to connect on a much deeper level with your audience. When considering restaurant interior design the brand should help to shape the experience too. Whilst there are many tangible design elements we can control we also need to consider the intangible elements. How someone feels when they enter a space or the feeling they get when greeted by your staff all helps to create meaning and shape experience.  This even goes as far as what art/imagery is carefully considered and used throughout the space. If all these experiences are authentic and evoke really positive feelings then there’s a good chance you will have customers coming back for more. Now, with that being said lets not forget whilst our job is to provide you with restaurant interior design and a connected brand experience, it is your job to deliver on the customer service and most importantly the food concept.

Interior Concept - Pistachio - Project Visual Bar & Restaurant - Grey Coffee

Why are we so passionate about connected brand experience and restaurant interior design?

Grey Coffee was founded in 2010 and throughout the years we have operated as a multi-disciplinary design practice. Throughout this time we have worked with brands big and small but the one thing we have always come back to is this idea of connected brand experience.  So much so, that now it is all that we do. We appreciate it is very niche but this allows us to work through the same brand and interior challenges time and time again. The marriage between brand strategy and interior architecture is the perfect match. We work with business owners and marketing executives to create brand clarity which in doing so lays the foundation for us to shape highly connected interior experiences. This is why when it comes to restaurant interior design our process is highly geared towards connected brand experience. 

At Grey Coffee we have been fortunate enough to meet with many chef-owners. The passion they have for food, their restaurant and telling their story really resonates with us. We share that same passion (not so much about food) but more about delivering restaurant interior design and interior concepts which create highly connected brand experiences.

Forest Holidays - Reception

Restaurant Interior Design – Our Process

As we outlined at the start when it comes to restaurant interior design there are many moving parts. The first of which is the site, for many this can be a work in progress and clients are actively looking at new sites or the project could be for an existing site. 

For the purpose of this article let’s assume that this is an existing site and the client has drafted in Grey Coffee to support them with the restaurant interior design process. 

The key starting point for us is to understand the design/project team involved and get to know and understand everyone’s role within the project. From there we need to ensure that everyone is aligned on the brand and it’s future direction as this could and will impact the restaurant interior design

For many projects like this the brand is already in place but there is usually a little bit of work in aligning the elements and carrying out some work which will help create brand clarity. There also has to be consideration for other restaurant sites. This could be future sites they expect to open but they may also have other sites that are operational. 

With the team and brand aligned we now start to think about the restaurant interior design. Our key principle is the idea of creating connected brand experiences. At this stage we are really focussed on your brand story, values and purpose and how we can translate that into the interior concept. It goes without saying that this has to align with the food concept too. As a design team we bring everyone together and adopt a holistic approach as we progress through the project. 

At this stage we start to transition from connected brand experience and move towards the restaurant interior design concept. When it comes to this phase of the project we maintain the same design team and use the RIBA Plan of Work. This is a highly refined workflow and provides a fantastic and secure framework for us to carry out the project. 

They key work stages of the RIBA Plan of Work are as follows: 

0. Strategic Definition
1. Preparation & Briefing
2. Concept Design
3. Spatial Coordination
4. Technical Design
5. Manufacturing & Construction
6. Handover
7. Use 

Each one of these work stages has a clearly defined scope and allows us to work systematically throughout each work phase.

RIBA Plan Of Works 2020

Restaurant Interior Design – The Challenge

There are many challenges when it comes to a restaurant interior design project. These could be technical in regards to the construction and fit-out. There could be legal/contractual issues when securing a site, on-going negotiation and agreements can also delay things. There is no doubt the biggest point of concern is budget. 

For anyone that has opened a restaurant they will know that budget and timeline is more often than not front of mind. It is important that there is a realistic budget in place along with some contingency in order to take the project from inception to handover. The key challenge from our side is balancing budget, planning the space effectively and also ensuring that operationally all needs are met. 

Meeting the needs of everyone involved isn’t always easy. From a chef’s perspective they need an amount of space for all the equipment and staff to be able to do their jobs effectively. From a Managing Director or Owner’s perspective they want to maximise the space and revenue that can actually be generated from the floor space within the restaurant.

Finally, add into the mix a proposed opening date all of a sudden there are alot of parts that all need to come together in time for a scheduled soft launch.

Restaurant Interior Design – Our Ambition

We are a collective of incredibly motivated and ambitious individuals. If we are not deeply passionate about something there’s a good chance we won’t do it.  We take confidence in knowing our approach is distinctively unique.  

Restaurant interior design is something that we are incredibly passionate about. As hospitality starts to re-open we are excited to see the amazing opportunities ahead. We know there will be some amazing restaurant concepts ready to be realised and we are ready to guide brands with clarity and help shape connected experiences. 

Our vision and belief is to inspire brands to display a duty of care to their people, their customers and their purpose. In doing so we can help them to create authentic, meaningful and connected brand experiences.

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