A Return to Designing as a Destination

A Return to Designing as a Destination


The pandemic transformed QSR shopper touchpoints dramatically, accelerating digital adoptions that decreased person-to-person make contact with and amplified ease.

But, as we pivot toward 2023, what about pandemic-neglected, in-restaurant dining areas, each inside of and exterior? Are they obsolete? Are clients going to again sit down and take in like it’s 2019? Or has this space’s needs progressed much too?

It is a pertinent problem since shoppers want selections. A survey carried out in March 2022 asked whether older people in the United States ate out at quick assistance places to eat much more or the exact same as in advance of COVID-19. Around 70 p.c of Millennials and 68 % of Gen Z mentioned they ate out at fast company dining establishments more or the exact same as right before the pandemic.

In other text, the future of QSR is not only about application improvement, pickup, push-via and shipping and delivery. Dining establishments also nonetheless have to have on-site spaces that are optimized for taking in and brand engagement.

So, just as Miller Zell associates take pleasure in retail tours, we embraced an prospect to acquire a jaunt close to Atlanta and see how a wide range of QSRs were being serving their dine-in customers.


QSR Blog Tour - KFC Big ChickenKentucky Fried Rooster, Marietta, GA


The Huge Hen: Celebrating KFC’s Brand Legacy

The iconic Huge Chicken is a 56-foot-tall landmark in Marietta, Ga.

How big of a offer is it? Soon after critical storm hurt in 1993, community outcry played at least as a lot of a position in saving it as corporate initiative. First built in 1963, it underwent a $2 million renovation in 2017. The San Francisco Examiner noticed it experienced come to be a single “of the most effectively-recognized landmarks in Marietta and has an proven historical past of impacting the local culture of the region.”

It’s far more than KFC’s flagship. It is the franchise’s beating heart. It characteristics a gift retailer that gives souvenirs that compare the Significant Rooster — with maybe only a smidgeon of irony — to Major Ben and the Eiffel Tower.

Just as crucial: It appears to be wonderful, within and out. The exterior options bold branding that celebrates Colonel Sanders together with the Significant Rooster. The travel-by carries over “Big Chicken” patterns, with significant-scale branding, “World Renowned Chicken,” lettering sitting higher than the entrance. And there are good, scaled-down touches, far too, this kind of as outsized spoons serving as doorway handles.

The inside functions upscale finishes — painted genuine wooden, brick and murals — and outstanding lights, with a focal chandelier wheel with a “chicken bucket” design principle. The key again wall celebrates “The Colonel” as a historic movie star. Wayfinding in the course of the cafe is provided on high-top quality black metallic. Alternatively of prefab seating, the eating area highlighted a variety of table and chair patterns and finishes.

The close end result? KFC, inspite of going through quite a few branding iterations by the a long time, leans difficult into connecting its legacy with the present. The Huge Chicken invites clients in as a landmark initially, meals next, but it also results in a link to that incredibly food stuff by way of highly effective storytelling and branding.


QSR Blog Tour - Hattie Bs 2Hattie B’s Very hot Hen, Atlanta, GA

Hattie B’s Hot Hen: Upgraded QSR Working experience

Hattie B’s Scorching Chicken is a restaurant chain founded in 2012 in Nashville, Tenn. It now offers 10 areas — together with a person within The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas — and the initially Atlanta franchise opened in 2018.

On arriving at the new West Midtown restaurant, we fortuitously found a site problem — parking — was supported by clear signage directing consumers to areas across the avenue. The exterior features white with bold purple accents and an inviting patio space with synthetic turf and a cornhole setup. There also was a individual bar area with TVs for those who’d like an adult beverage with their spicy chicken.

The interior featured daring crimson, black and white hues with a easy but productive layout, with a large, outsized hen outlined in neon and a curved, overhead soffit with branding. Notably, a merchandising shop strategically divided an try to eat-in-cafe queue line and a different for pickup orders.

Although there was not a digital menu board, iPads ended up utilized for purchasing, in which figures have been offered to shoppers who then sat down and waited for foodstuff. Tables featured a burned emblem on the facet and a smoky search. Wayfinding was properly completed, as pickup and in-restaurant consumers could quickly discover the place to go.

Hattie B’s inhabits an spot advancing from QSR to rapid-informal, attempting effectively to connect to customers that they can promptly seize some delicious hen to go or sit down and enjoy nearby sports activities while washing down spicy food items with a beer.


QSR Blog Tour - HerosHero Doughnuts & Buns, Atlanta, GA


Hero Doughnuts & Buns: Connecting Brand name to Neighborhood

Hero Doughnuts & Buns introduces itself like this on its webpage:

Heroes wake up every day to direct by illustration. The simplicity of fantastic meals, produced with very good components, in a cheerful environment delivers a leaping off stage for heroic endeavours. Hero is a put where by neighborhood gathers, children enjoy, mates and colleagues meet, and Heroes can arise — every working day. Every person requires a hero, be a single nowadays.

If you are a cynic, you may well smirk. But there’s anything persuasive about saying bold brand name aspirations that link to your particular group. In this circumstance, it is a revitalized neighborhood known as Summerhill, a redevelopment of Atlanta’s former Olympic stadium space, adjacent to downtown and in the vicinity of Ga State University.

Hero is small but inviting, with efficient medallion branding with a naming decal on the window. There is a items region by the entrance as you enter and queue. Shades are white with pink accents. Counter fascia is white tile with purple grout, developing an eye-catching pattern. Offerings are shown on chalkboards and printed menu boards that are linked with shower curtain hangers on piping for uncomplicated adjustments. A curved tile location supplies a window see into the kitchen area.

The eating area is made up of tables and a bar area with a blended use of wood and manufacturer coloured seating. There is big, current accent lighting. Signage and graphic wallpaper options amusing donut imagery and denotes pickup and beverage parts.

It was a little shocking to discover Hero serves a complete breakfast and lunch menu as properly as alcoholic beverages, with a independent bar space outside. Some potential consumers recognizing that in advance owing to external signage may well locate that alluring. A the latest review celebrated the fried rooster sandwich and jalapeño kolache, “Conecuh sausage from Alabama swaddled in brioche.”

There’s a relaxed, curated feel here. It’s a house made for place in good shape, so that the local community of probable shoppers will search for out Hero as a destination to enter and encounter, somewhat than just a grab and go.



QSRs getting the initiative and in search of innovation for their in-restaurant eating areas will want to focus on: 1. specific branding that connects with customers — the two faithful and new 2. upgrading the environmental working experience, therefore drawing prospects into dining parts and 3. celebrating an reliable sense of community and shared values.

Want to hear more? We’d adore to chat.