There was a time when fast food was all about being fast and cheap. It was a fairly new concept and very convenient. In fact, it’s so convenient that fast food retailers built their entire point of sale, shopping experience, service levels, and food standards to meet the “fast” and “cheap” needs of customers. And it worked! Fast forward a few years and improving nutrition education, the need to eat healthy meals and also the great competition in the market has meant that fast food chains have to completely change their approach to adapt to new consumer needs. of the 21st century. .
The focus is now on offering a stronger brand to reach a broader base of customers that they want to stay with and make the point of sale part of their weekly or daily routine. So what does the new brand approach require? Well, it must demonstrate freshness, good quality ingredients, a better shopping experience, a better seating environment, better comfort, more visibility of food preparation areas, and better amenities.
While the ingredients and quality of the food are obviously a key and vital component of the brand, this article focuses on the architectural and interior design of the establishment and how the various elements of interior design impact the brand and therefore Therefore, they elevate the customer experience for modern fast food chains.
Before considering the design of fast food chains, it is worth looking at how luxury goods retailers and vehicle showrooms have approached retail or store design to offer their brand. Luxury brands, for example, have always designed stores to appeal to different segments of the market, but have maintained a sense of individuality. The luxury stores almost clearly seem to lack the amount of merchandise on display, and in some cases keep plain colors and simple furnishings to keep customers comfortable. Vehicle showrooms are an established example for retail, as they have mastered the ongoing purchase and service needs of customers in a single point of sale. The way showrooms are designed allows vehicle manufacturers to provide an environment that allows them to manage the flow or “journey” from buying a new car, financial management, servicing and buying parts, while they have pleasant and well-stocked waiting areas. Both are examples of creating outlets that manage different needs, build loyalty, and provide a seamless journey from the initial desire to buy to the closing of the deal.
For architects and interior designers, fast food store design poses a number of challenges that need to be addressed to reinforce the new branding challenges facing retailers.
Here is a summary of some of those challenges:
food preparation – Provide more visibility of food preparation areas, including open plan kitchen areas. This requires a practical but also visibly more pleasant eating area, well lit, well organized and efficient. Specialized kitchen design is required that takes into account the cooking and food preparation process, requiring designers and architects to work closely with a retailer to create kitchen design plans that allow the cooking process Food preparation remains efficient while remaining visibly pleasant and enjoyable for the customer. watch.
The dining experience at – The need to provide efficient seating arrangements, with comfortable seating, while paying close attention to retail store lighting and floor plans, is so important that it allows customers to feel like they can stay for a while, this was in stark contrast to early fast-food restaurants where seats were designed to become uncomfortable after fifteen minutes, encouraging people to leave the point of sale.
Selection of luminaires and accessories – Interior retail designers should also focus on other consumer needs, such as power points, interactive devices for children, and adding artwork that reinforces the message about the “fresh food element” – all important elements that the brand is trying to offer.
Interactive Ordering Solutions – Retailers are also incorporating electronic ordering stations into their designs to allow customers to select and pay for their order without speaking to a member of staff. Of course, this requires less staff, but it also demands the need to design a retail layout that allows for interactive kiosks to be strategically placed within the point of sale layout.
Improved restroom facilities – Retail designers and architects have to design sanitary facilities that meet brand expectations. The facilities they specify have to reinforce the brand by maintaining a high degree of cleanliness or even ‘self-cleaning’ facilities. Tea retail design drawings they create for plumbing and waste have to take into account today’s environment.
Back of house and waste – Customers are not happy enough with the experience they can see and feel, they also want to know how fast food chains are managing their staff facilities, food storage and their waste, including customer’s own packaging waste . No store design is complete without paying attention to how these aspects feed into the POS design and how they are managed efficiently and fairly and are therefore also an important part of the design team’s responsibilities. .
Therefore, the challenge for designers is enormous and does not allow the production of the design using traditional 2D plans and elevations. The only way to manage and communicate the design process, as well as manage changes requested by stakeholders throughout the process, is to use modern design tools like Revit Architecture to create retail BIM models so they can create a design that is easily modifiable and manageable. . Retail BIM modeling it also allows for the use and reuse of Revit families and models that can be used for downstream shops and thus ensures some brand consistency and design efficiency. Once created, these retail BIM models will also enable the creation of 3D retail images and a 3D rendered perspective for retail interiors and exteriors. This is an important and effective way of communicating the design of the store or point of sale during the various stages of design for which a designer is responsible.
While the challenge for fast food retail is to provide food faster and cheaper than other options, there is good reason to highlight the importance of store design and how it will affect and ultimately promote the overall experience of the store. the brand for fast food retail now and in the future. the future. Managing that design process and the multitude of design inputs is a collaborative and involved process and is performed by a designer who is prepared to use CAD and BIM technology as the backbone to deliver a design solution that is easy to create, manage and share and communicate.