What are the key aspects that need to be considered in catering design at a busy venue?

The first stage in our process is to establish the design brief.  In some cases, our client will be an experienced operator and will already have developed the majority of a detailed catering design brief.  In other scenarios, RDA will often assist in a joint approach.

Critically, we must first establish the customer demographic, which drives menu development, service style, and pretty much everything else from FF&E all the way through to product placement, packaging and POS.  Speed of service and throughput is still a given.  It is just as natural the operator will want to maximise revenue as it is the customer will want to minimise queuing.  Yet, nowadays, it is the well-rounded catering design package that sets the top venues apart.  The catering offer is no longer a side show and should form part of the core experience.This isn’t always straight forward, particularly at venues where the demographic can change considerably in line with the change of event.  In this scenario flexibility becomes a key factor in the catering design.

 

How much of an input should chefs have in the design layout of a kitchen?

A collaborative approach is always a welcomed one and this should of course always include the views of the chef.  After all, he or she will be left to operate the facility once the designers, builders and shopfitters have all left site. “Too many chefs” isn’t necessarily a term we agree with.  A good lead-designer is a good listener; one who can harness a range of opinions to help achieve the client’s objectives.

Trends in the design of Kitchens for Restaurants

Over the last five years the range and quality of F&B offerings has improved vastly across all restaurant sectors and including sports and leisure.  This is being celebrated with a lot of refurbishments opting for open kitchens to form the focal point of the catering design.  Of course, this is a fairly common notion in a busy high-street restaurant, but theatre cooking is now finding its way into arenas and stadia in particular.  What were once hatches in walls serving cold hot dogs and floppy fries, are now exciting showcases of more premium menu choices.

Trends in the design of Restaurants

Catering Design trends are constantly changing based on society and what’s popular with consumers.  The challenge is often to differentiate between a fad and a trend.  A trend is here to stay and is worth the time and investment of a new refurbishment; and will not become irrelevant by the time a full design and build process is complete.

For example, the growth in appetite for more healthy and nutritious food options, which can be delivered on the ‘grab and go’ basis we’re now accustomed to, will likely remain for the long-haul. Living walls with a mix of natural materials such as stone and timber tend to promote a feeling of health and vitality and are still relevant at the outset of some of our most current schemes.

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