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Steven Dragan

Reimagining The Restaurant: Week 6

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COVID EDITION

OCTOBER 2020

Idea #7

Food trucks were a hit before Covid.  Not only are they convenient, deployable, and festive but they’ve been elevated from a culinary view point in the past decade.

This concept builds a restaurant around the food truck phenomenon that is all about flexibility.   From a construction point of view, this building is columns, beams, roof and a lot of garage doors.  Spatially, this is a dining space with a block of restrooms, no kitchen, no coolers, no hoods.  The kitchen is in the vehicles and can be supplemented as needed.  On nice days this can be an open air restaurant, almost like a biergarten or farmers market.  As the weather turns, the doors come down and the restaurant transforms into a light filled, cozy conditioned space.

This concept solves the awkward patron-vendor height difference by elevating the dining platform for customers.  Along either side of the truck lane is a rail with a bar-top for fall protection and dining space.   Although there are a number of ways this concept could be implemented aesthetically, this one played around with a garage theme and even teases the idea of a bar-mobile with horseshoe bar seating.  Durable polished concrete floors, exposed structure, supersized graphics, and ample natural light provide style on a budget.  The color comes through vibrant furniture and the trucks themselves.

You could also imagine other functions or revenues that could happen in a structure like this: games, retail pop-ups, local collaborations, events.  Ultimately this concept takes the food truck festival, a popular trend that happens on street curbs and gravel lots, and elevates it, creating a flexible year-round space for dinging, commerce, and gathering.

Well, that wraps up our 6 week exploration of the Food and Beverage facility of the future.  We hope you enjoyed this playful series and maybe came away with some ideas.

Do you have one you’d like to see tested out and illustrated?  We’d love to hear about it!

Reimagining the Restaurant: Week 5

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COVID EDITION

OCTOBER 2020

Idea #6

While increasing table spacing can be simple, it leads to less capacity, a problem if you’re running a business.  Many restaurant owners have made creative use of their parking lots with temporary dining setups.  This concept imagines a purpose-built version of this.

Full disclosure, this concept borrows an idea from glamping. –whats Glamping? Glamping is “glamorous camping”, check it out!  There has been an explosion in services that will provide campers with an Instagram-able campsite, pre-prepared for people who like the idea of camping but also like brunch at the Ritz and sleeping well.

This concept uses repurposing the parking lot to create a network of private dining pavilions.  Customers make a reservation and pull up to their own dining environment, with patio seating, dining table, and wait-staff.

Fitting out the parking lot with this idea could be a way of increasing capacity while taking what may have seemed like a downgrade and turning it into an upgraded experience. An activated version of this might feel like a festival or block party.  At its core, this idea does not try to “return to the way things were” Instead it tries to create a new type of dining experience with the available real-estate.

Depending on parking availability and climate considerations, these deployable pods could be utilized in a multitude of ways. From an intimate dinner to a family gathering. From a warm summer day to a cool winter night.

At TK Architects we are always thinking of new and innovational designs.   Hopefully, this gets you thinking.  Is there a more practical way to reimagine this idea?  Let us know!

Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.

For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com

Steven Dragan

Reimagining the Restaurant: Week 4

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COVID EDITION

SEPTEMBER 2020

Hello again! We’re in week 4 of our blog series, “Re-imagining the restaurant.” This series starts with the premise that changes in customer attitudes and habits have been accelerated by the pandemic. Then we ask our designers to imagine a facility around those future trends.

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?

As we said last week, These are not necessarily ready-to-ship solutions but what-if scenarios meant to build a bridge between where we are now and what the future may hold.

Not only do people enjoy eating together, but the rise of cook-it-yourself subscriptions like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh also show there is a big market for those who want to cook together. That being said – hosting, picking up groceries, prepping the ingredients, and the cleanup – can make it a chore. Why not cut all the downsides out of the equation and focus on the fun?

This restaurant concept revolves around the idea of a cook-it-yourself dining experience. Consider the possibility of cooking with friends while adding in the social atmosphere and convenience of being in a restaurant setting. A classy full-service bar is surrounded by multiple “cooking islands” that are equipped with the tools and appliances to turn fresh, proportioned ingredients into the meal you order. After dinner, go to the bar or lounge to continue the evening while someone else takes care of the dishes and clean up.

It is hard to imagine a time where businesses and consumers have been so willing to experiment. Could this be a new trend to emerge in the post-COVID world? Click the link and let us know your thoughts.

Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.

For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com

Steven Dragan

Reimagining the Restaurant Week: 3

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COVID Edition

September 2020

Hello Again! We’re in week three of our blog series “Re-imagining the Restaurant”. This series starts with the premise that changes in customer attitudes and habits have been accelerated by the pandemic. Then we ask our designers to imagine a facility around those future trends. This week imagines one way a facility could become more flexible.

What will the future look like?

As we said last week, These are not necessarily ready-to-ship solutions but what-if scenarios meant to build a bridge between where we are now and what the future may hold.

Idea #4

One Covid trend we’ve seen is people like going out, but prefer to have their own space.  Consider the dining tents in parking lots or recently the NFL games with separated groups of fans (Go Chiefs!) Combine that with the VIPification of entertainment spaces and the culinary rise of the open-show-kitchen…voila, you have a new idea.

This restaurant concept starts with the kitchen and plugs in different size dining suites.  The goal here is to flip the script on social distancing.  Instead of awkwardly spaced tables, this concept creates an upgrade: the VIP dining suite and gourmet open kitchen.

Each dining suite has it’s own entrance and dining pod.  Spaces are cozy and private but still within view of other diners and the kitchen. Server’s connect with customers directly from the kitchen.

This concept restaurant is a bit of an all-in scenario, but one thing is certain.  If you can find ways to frame the upcoming changes brought about by the pandemic as upgrades, you’re more likely to build loyalty and thrive.

Steven Dragan


Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.


For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com

 

Reimagining the Restaurant: Week 1

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DESIGN IDEAS FOR OUR NEW REALITY

 

August 17, 2020

The table was draped in caution tape, chalk marked the floor, and people roamed about in gloves and masks.  Is this a crime scene?  No crime, just the inside of a restaurant in 2020.  

For the restaurants bold enough to attempt a grand reopening, inventiveness is the name of the game.  Strategies are varied from the fake crime scene described above to creative and inviting transformations.  Hopefully, these solutions are temporary, but the jury is still out.

One thing that is not temporary is the change in customer attitudes and habits which have been accelerated by the pandemic.  Restaurants and businesses of the future will need to adapt accordingly, which leads us, designers, to ask questions like:

What will the future look like?

The exercise of ‘designing the future’ is part of our design culture at TK.  We brainstorm year-round to come up with original and creative ways to solve new and old problems.  Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of our ideas. 

These are not necessarily ready-to-ship solutions, or are they?  They are definitely what-if scenarios meant to build a bridge between where we are now and what the future may hold.

Idea #1

Consider the rise of off-site, ghost kitchens, food trucks, and robust delivery services like Uber-eats.  Even before COVID, the distance between the restaurant kitchen and the dining experience was growing.  The last three months have only sped up that trend.  Some of the businesses who fared best were the ones who had already invested in off-site food production.

For many people, having restaurant-quality food in their own home is not enough.  They want to get out!  Their favorite part about dining out is the atmosphere and service.  This concept focuses on creating a great place for dining and connecting it with remote kitchens. 

Functionally, this concept does three things: first, it takes the kitchen out of the restaurant and gives 90% of the space to dining.  Second, it connects this premium dining experience with a remote kitchen…or kitchens through ordering apps.  And third, it reverses the idea of the drive-thru.  Rather than food going out the pick-up window, it’s being delivered in, plated and staged, and served to customers. 

From a practical point of view, this idea allocates more space for seating.   It also uses the majority of the prime high-exposure real estate to be front-of-house, while locating the kitchen in lower-cost rental space.  Alternatively, completely eliminate the kitchen, and only rely on third party off-site to deliver. In this situation the facility is primarily about providing an experience and atmosphere.

Idea #2

Things have changed, people order online, uber-eats accounts for a growing number of pick up orders, and smart POS can coordinate orders better than the traditional first-in-first-out organization.  

This concept imagines an improved drive through that can handle increased volume while accommodating varied types of order placement. More ordering, more pick up. Additionally, it designs around the new businesses and ordering habits by separating ordering, from online, from delivery partners. From an experiential level, it elevates the drive-through experience with design, which may be key for brands exploring drive-through at higher price points, or just more brand loyalty.

A concept like this is aimed at meeting future demands, increasing volume, decreasing wait times, and wrapping that all up in an improved aesthetic experience.

Well, there you have it.  Two ideas.  I hope you enjoyed thinking about the restaurants of the future.  Did this spark any ideas for you? Perhaps you know how we can improve one of these…we’d love to hear from you!

More of our concepts for the restaurant of the future will be coming soon.  Whatever you decide to do, the key is to create something that endears customers to your brand for years to come!

Steven Dragan


Founded in 1981, TK Architects is a full-service architectural firm that offers all professional design services in-house to simplify and streamline coordination, including: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering. The firm’s focus is entertainment architecture and engineering, including cinema, bowling, bars/lounges, food service, and entertainment centers worldwide. TK Architects provides the right services at the right time to meet client’s specific needs, including: New Buildings, Tenant Interiors, Renovations, Facility Upgrades, and Maintenance.


For more information about TK Architects please visit www.tkarch.com or contact Jack C. Muffoletto, at jcmuffoletto@tkarch.com