Reader's Choices: Rob Milich

Rob Milich directs design and construction for Hurricane Grill & Wings, the 70-plus-unit casual dining chain based in West Palm Beach, Fla.

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Fast-Casual Service Lines

When customers enter a fast-casual restaurant, they head straight for the service line. That’s where they view the menu, place their orders, select from ingredients on display and watch staff assemble their customized meals before paying at the other end of the line. It’s also where, in the midst of the action, customers begin to determine whether the restaurant’s brand meets their expectations.

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All

When competition stiffens or the economy weakens, restaurant chains face the challenge of finding new, creative ways to pursue expansion. These days, competition is fierce, and the economy, while on the road to recovery, has dealt foodservice a heavy blow. Creating new formats that can take chains into nontraditional locations represents a growing strategy employed by more and more concepts.

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New Häagen-Dazs Design Hits Premium Branding Notes

The Häagen-Dazs Company Shops has unveiled an elevated new prototype at a remodeled unit in Bronxville, N.Y. Designed by Interbrand Design Forum, the prototype aims to create a premium appearance consistent with Häagen-Dazs’ retail brand and provide a guest experience that’s distinctive from the typical ice cream/fro-yo shop.

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L.A.’s Mexicano Celebrates Authenticity

Following the success of their 15-year-old La Casita Mexicana, award-winning Los Angeles chefs Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu opened a second restaurant, Mexicano, in a South Los Angeles shopping plaza in early February. The restaurant, which showcases authentic Mexican cuisine traditions, draws on Mexican design authenticity as well.

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Have Fun (Really!) With Visionary Personalities

“You don’t know how to design anything! You need to just sit down and listen and maybe you will learn something.” This was the opening salvo in what eventually became a good relationship with the creator of two highly successful restaurant chains during our first meeting.

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