The Impact Of Design On The Bottom-Line

Posted on June 14th, 2017

When developing food and beverage concepts, the impact of design is important because it enhances the perception of value. The value equation is simply the customers expectation subtracted from their actual experience. There are subliminal detractors and enhancers that lead to the sum of the value equation, many of which are derived from the designed environment.

In regards to subliminal comfort factors associated with the designed food and beverage environment, there are three distinctive components that are commonly associated with value perception. All of these factors are impacting the customer experience, often times, without them even realizing it. It is important to acknowledge these three categories when developing the built environment of your food and beverage operation.

The temperature and lighting are vital to the comfort of the guest in your dining or food service outlet. Lighting is a great indicator of perceived value as many people associate dim and intimate lighting with more upscale dining experiences, whereas florescent and bright lighting is perceived as casual and lower-scale. Neither of which are bad, but the lighting should reflect your specific style of service. The temperature is vital to the comfort of the guests dining experience. The dining room should never be too cold or too hot, as it will impact the guest’s level of comfort while consuming your cuisine. Another important aspect of temperature is proper and efficient ventilation. The air vents should never be directly flowing onto your guests. Many dining outlets will put vents directly above tables, which is poor circulation as well as provides inconsistent temperatures across the dining room.

The colors and tactile surfaces should derive from the concept of the cuisine and style of service. Depending on the food service concept, colors and tactile surfaces differ in importance. It is often recommended that the colors compliment the cuisine and service rather than distract from the restaurant itself. Décor and other art collections around the room can add to the ambiance, but should never be too much of a distraction from the culinary experience. When considering tactile surfaces, it is important to think about appearance and productivity. For example, in a busy restaurant with high turnover, carpeted floors might not always be the best fit for your concept considering the increased difficulty to clean and sweep under and around the tables. In addition, it is important to consider whether your concept would benefit from linen tablecloths, or rather to invest in nicer tables to be used without linen.

Aromas and scents are very important to the foodservice experience. The aroma of a restaurant or dining outlet can entice or scare customers. It is important to have scents and aromas fill up your food service outlet to increase cravings as well as perceived value. There are many companies that have signature scents that allow customers to transcend through their great memories associated with those aromas. A great example is the white tea scent associated with all Westin Hotels. This aroma can be found throughout every Westin Hotel property and provides an identity to this specific hotel brand. Guests of the Westin associate comfort and relaxation with the scent of white tea as that is the value Westin Hotels provides to their guests. Having your restaurant or food service outlet identified by a scent of wood fired pizzas is never a bad problem to have!

In addition to the subliminal comfort factors, there are many dining room layout features that impact the satisfaction of your guests. It is important to recognize that the average U.S. citizen desires a personal space of 24 inches. When designing a floor plan, it is imperative to consider table spacing and physical furniture fixtures. Another aspect to consider is the comfort in being anchored. Anchoring your table’s means to have walls, dividers, booths, and physical structures to anchor the tables to. Diners prefer to have something anchoring their table, rather than being in an open dining room.

While there will always be common dilemmas to face when designing the built environment of a food service outlet, it is important to consider a multitude of factors. With the help of design specialists, your dilemmas will be solved and executed to ensure an increased bottom-line. While these subliminal factors may be perceived as irrelevant at first, the impact of design is a lot more important than you may think towards the success of your company.