Room to Grow: New Restaurant Design Trends for  Returning In-Store Traffic

Posted in Trends on September 13, 2022

385_wade-austin-ellis-4YApsoSaNKA-unsplashAs much as the pandemic has transformed the foodservice industry, the return of foot traffic compels restaurant operators to return to an emphasis on brick-and-mortar design as they rebalance off-premise and onsite business.

According to the market research firm Datassential, 22% of operators surveyed have either already redecorated their dining rooms to attract more customers or have plans for a redesign on the table.1 And the finding that 64% of operators don’t think they can succeed with a smaller brick-and-mortar footprint underscores the urgency of refocusing on restaurant design.1

No wonder, then, that maximalism is a growing trend in restaurant design. “T​he often all-white minimalistic designs brought sterile vibes, while maximalism with its generally bright colors and pleasantly clashing patterns tends to promote optimism and fun, two things consumers are increasingly seeking out as they emerge from quarantine and pandemic fear,” reports Datassential.

Another key trend: Nostalgic and retro interior design with a vacation vibe that feeds a pent-up hunger for pre-pandemic normalcy and harkens back to happier days of carefree getaways.1 “Nods to decades past are increasingly merging with tropical flair (shell-shaped chair backs, wicker seating) to give diners a sense of escape,” Datassential explains.

Like maximalism, the nostalgia trend is influencing major chains as well as independent establishments.1 As Rebecca Kilbreath, editor in chief of Restaurant Development + Design, pointed out: “I think there’s a comfort in familiarity, and legacy brands might start to lean into that. For example, Pizza Hut has some retro red roof outposts, and it wouldn’t surprise me if other brands followed suit.”1  

Raising the Bar: LBD Japanese Bar & Lounge and Bon Appetit 

JINYA Holdings Inc., which owns the JINYA Ramen Bar chain, is expanding nationally and globally with new design concepts that reflect the return of in-store traffic. On August 10, the holding company opens the first location for LBD Japanese Bar & Lounge in Honolulu.2 Upscale and bar-oriented, with a sophisticated yet relaxed ambience conducive to lounging and lingering, LBD Japanese Bar & Lounge will specialize in shareable small plates and liquors of Japanese provenance.2

“We have lower tables and chairs to create more of a bar and lounge ambience,” JINYA founder and CEO Tomo Takahashi said. “On Friday nights, we will bring in DJs to create more of a party atmosphere.”2 JINYA Holdings plans to bring the LBD concept to major urban hubs across America, including Hollywood and New York City.

Meanwhile, Bon Appetit Management Co., a foodservice solutions provider for business and campus venues, is introducing an innovative concept for multi-tenant locations: high-end restaurants that operate on-site yet serve the public too. Bon Appetit District Manager Alison Harper describes the operations as “an amenity restaurant. They are there to provide an amenity for multi-tenant campuses.”3

A step up from the typical on-site cafeteria or restaurant, the new Bon Appetit restaurants “offer premium dining, spectacular venues, extensive event spaces, multiple socialization activities, high-tech convenience and even added services like the fitness center at the Traverse location in South San Francisco,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News.3 

“We wanted to make these spaces really friendly for people to gather with their co-workers after work,” Harper explained. “Also, companies like to host happy hours and lunches so it’s important that these spaces be conducive to allowing people to do that.”

As a subsidized amenity based on usage rather than the fixed cost of a company cafeteria, these restaurants are economically appealing especially for small- to midsized corporate tenants with workforces that may still be partially remote. Consistent with the Bon Appetit commitment to sustainability, the operations emphasize local sourcing, energy conservation and waste reduction.3

Want to stay on ahead of the curve with actionable, data-driven insights into culinary, operations and trends transforming the foodservice landscape? Mondelēz Foodservice offers a feast of food for thought—on the house—at Our Insights page. What's more, our acclaimed chefs are renowned for menu innovation that helps serve up sales off- and on premises. Share your thoughts or reach out for more info below.


1 Datassential, FoodBytes: Restaurant Design Trends, July 2022

2 Fantozzi, Joanna, “JINYA Ramen Bar parent goes all in on national expansion with new lounge concept,” Nation’s Restaurant News, July 28, 2022

3 Buzalka, Mike, “Bon Appetit grows public restaurant portfolio in B&I locations,” Nation’s Restaurant News, July 28, 2022

Topics in this article

Related Articles

Sweet Spots: Dessert Diversification Bites and Insights

Indulgent desserts are trending as key to a balanced approach to wellbeing. Explore the diversity of desserts hitting the sweet spot in foodservice today.

Transforming Nostalgic Desserts into New Formats

Basing desserts on a classic dish or nostalgic flavor is a growing trend — which operators can utilize to boost consumer interest and orders.

Social Media Feeds Menu Inspiration, Promotion

Get tips for improving your social media presence and leveraging social media as a tool for your restaurant and convenience store.

Grab-and-Go Breakfast Inspiration

Grab-and-go breakfast items can satisfy customer cravings for convenience—but to make sales soar, operators need to include the right elements.

All About Newstalgia in Desserts

Tweaking familiar dishes to include a new flavor or format could be the menu addition that will pique consumer interest and help increase sales.

Asian Flavors & Formats Feed Dessert Inspiration

Flavors found in a number of dishes traditionally served in Southeast Asia are helping to inspire creative dessert menu options with widespread appeal.

Global Street Foods Offer Portable Culinary Experiences

Global trends around street foods are having an increasing impact on restaurant menus in 2023 and beyond. Learn more about these trends.

How to Use Sweet Treats to Help Drive Profits

An enticing dessert menu can translate into higher sales — if restaurants are able to offer sweet treats that deliver what consumers want.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages Create Excitement on Foodservice Menus

Learn about current beverage trends in 2023 and find new ideas for restaurant mocktails and for the non-alcoholic beverage market.

Perking Up Profits: What’s Brewing in the Coffee Shop Segment

Coffee shops continue to generate buzz and big sales. Explore data-informed insights into the strategies driving the success of Starbucks and Dutch Bros.

Join the Let’s Chat Snacks Community

Be the first to know when we drop new articles, trends and insights, with updates delivered directly to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get an insider perspective on all things foodservice, carefully curated to help you grow your business.