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market share and compete for
dining dollars, brands must be on
the cutting edge of these trends.
QSR: Fast-food stores no longer simply sport fixed tables and
chairs, plastic laminate, closed
kitchens, fluorescent lights, and
marketing posters. The design
and material-finish choices in
QSRs now blur the lines with
fast casual. Stainless-steel kitchens are now visible, lighting is
controlled and purposeful, and
the vibe of the restaurant is captivating. Communications blend
into the décor, removing the
marketing voice for engaging
imagery, messages, and signage.
Food is still served quickly, but
with healthier options that are
perceived as more than fuel and
The QSR of the past is still
here—it is pedestrian and serves
the fast-fueling needs it always
has. But even chains that define
themselves this way face major
competition from prepared ready-to-serve options at grocery stores,
so they are stepping up their game as well.
FAST CASUAL: This relatively new category is a blend of QSR and casual dining.
Consumers have higher expectations of the food quality and experience, they order
at the counter, and the meal is brought to the table. Often, the menu strategy is
critical, with recipe-driven signature items. Material choices reflect those of past
casual-dining concepts, including real materials like wood and stone, signature
lighting, and a variety of seating options.
CASUAL DINING: Continuing the blurring of categories, casual dining has
become the new bar scene. Culinary food and tapas are coupled with signature
cocktails and craft beers. When mixed with live entertainment, this is the trifecta
for a quotable and sociable evening. The environment is often a mesh of casual elements, such as roughened woods or old brick. The mix often includes a full-theater
kitchen, full-service dining, and a lounge/bar for continued socializing after dining.
A modern, polished look of stone, crisp use of metals, and signature designer lighting
and artwork makes a statement with purpose.
do not need
servers to be