Restaurant Trends recently hosted its 20th annual seminar for the local restaurant industry, sponsored by Cafco Inc., Ruberto, Israel & Weiner, and The Boston Restaurant Group.
One of the panels at the seminar consisted of three local restauranteurs: Silverstein of Not Your Average Joe’s, Chris Slessinger of East Coast Grill, and Anthony Ackil of Bgood to talk about the latest trends in all aspects of the restaurant business. We were sent away with some key points that we thought we would share with our readers.
Large, lively Bar Area: People want to be where the action is. TVs used to be just for sports bars. Now they are in every bar, whether they show sports, news, or something else entirely. (Check out Firebrand Saints for the coolest TV’s in town and www.sosolimited how they got them!)
Whole foods (Farm to Table): People are smarter than ever when it comes to their food. They want to know what they are eating and where it came from . They want real food. Not chemicals, not preservatives, not coloring agents.
Local/Organic/Ethical Foods: Customers are becoming more ecologically-minded and want to know where their food comes from. People like to know that they are helping local farmers and eating ethically.
Smaller Plates: As people are eating smarter, they are eating less. People want manageable meals. While people want to feel full after a meal, gone are the days of all-you-can-eat and big take-home doggie bags.
Healthy Choices: People want options to be health conscious without over-playing the “healthy”. Anthony Ackil, CEO of “bgood”admits that while his company is all about creating real food fast, he never uses the actual word “healthy”. While people want to eat healthy food, they don’t want it rammed down their throats, so to speak.
Creating a Real Relationship with customers is key. While the panelists had different ways for engaging their customers, they all agree that staying in constant communication is the only way to maintain a healthy relationship.
Suburban Restaurants get a big vote of confidence. As we all know, the city is a much bigger pond in which to be the big fish. By virtue of being smaller communities, the suburban competition is less steep. The locals appreciate an excellent restaurant and don’t take them for granted as they do in the city!
Social Media has become a key means to interact with customers. Tools like Facebook and Twitter has created a means to acquire fanatical customers and get the word out. These and other interactive sites allow people to comment on everything from the service to the food. While some restauranteurs pay more attention to sites like Yelp and Yahoo reviews, most everyone will agree on their impact.
SoKA Studio’s DESIGN SUGGESTIONS
Wallcoverings vs Paint: Wallcoverings are no longer the dated, floral paisely prints in our grandmother’s foyers. They can be used instead of paint to create a funky play on textures, graphics and even contribute to branding. (check to make sure your wallcovering specification meets your local fire code)
Porcelain Tile vs Ceramic Tile: Porcelain is a more durable option to ceramic and stone tiles. It can be easily cleaned and is available in a variety of options in terms of colors, patterns.
Carpet Tile vs Broadloom: Carpet tile can add fabulous texture by varying directions of each tile or mixing patterns and colorways. contribute to sound absorption but it can be easily replaced due to staining or wear & tear.
Drapes: Window dressings assist with sound absorption and create a high end, elegant feel.
Lighting: There is a time and place for every kind of lighting. LEDs are the most energy efficient option available in the industry. These fixtures are now available in a warm tone. However, if you have difficulty finding your perfect pendant in an LED bulb the next best approach is using an incandescent bulb for the most ambient lighting.
Upholstery: ArcCom, Maharam & Knoll are some of the leading companies that provide a beautiful selection of commercial fabrics. The most commonly used seat fabric by us is vinyl. Vinyls have come a long way from the ‘diner’ look, as they are now available in a range of fantastic colors and textures. They are still considered the most durable and easy to clean & maintain. The fabrics that we often use on the backs of chairs or sofas in restaurants are a minimum of 50,000 double rubs. This ensures that you won’t need to replace these for at least a few years.
Environmental Branding: We believe in creating an experience for every customer. We achieve this in our spaces not only through the decor & selection of materials but also through the graphics and overall brand identity. We create interesting and unexpected elements which communicate the brand in a subtle yet sophisticated way.
Swiss Bakers Signage
OUR RECENT WORKS
Chama Grill, North Andover, MA
Laffa, Boston, MA
Chans, Burlington, MA
The Q, Boston, MA