Designing for QSR Experiences


Dining at home is becoming increasingly popular, as subscription brands and eat-at-home options grow into new markets. The increased competition for a place in America’s dinner-time plans means that quick serve restaurants are starting to rely on functional designs and great experiences to generate some traffic. Most brands have positioned for dine-in guests to generate a large part of their revenue. So, optimizing the dining experience should be a key strategy for restauranteurs who are looking to capitalize on the ever-shrinking market.

In other words: when they go out, make sure they’re coming to you. But, how?

Form or Function?

Avoid clutter by thinking about how the function of elements can add to the overall form of the design. Open kitchen designs are a popular way to drive attention and interest, without over-decorating. The transparency makes guests more confident in the food they’re about to eat and it offers the benefit of showcasing the artistry that goes into each of your meals.

Open service lines are another example of how transparency and a little showmanship can replace excessive decor without detracting from the overall brand experience. Think about fast-casual restaurants like Subway and Chipotle. Line-service QSR’s offer a unique value to customers; the dine-in and take-out experiences are virtually the same. Consistency in experience is as important in cultivating the right experience.

Brand Informs Experience and Design

Who are you? Your customers should be able to tell as soon as they walk in. Carefully consider the design of your QSR. This is the ‘stage’ for each customer’s individual experience. It sets the initial tone, that will extend far beyond the quality of your menu. Think about ambient elements like accent walls, music, lighting, and yes… even smell.

Are you a healthy option or an indulgence? Do you want people in and out quickly or do you want them to stay a while with good conversation and great food? Are people coming for live-music and merry making or to snuggle into an oversized chair with a good book? The way your restaurant looks and feels will inform your guests exactly what kind of experience they can expect. This intuitive process is a kind of way-finding that people use to help them navigate new experiences. Will they want to experience yours again?

Making sure you balance form and function, set the stage for consistent experiences, and align your design and brand can be incredibly easy. Find out how we make developing holistic dining experiences using kinetic architecture unbelievably simple.