Product Guide: Building Products & Materials

Restaurant unit growth has slowed and talk of a “restaurant recession” is bubbling up again. Chicago-based NPD Group’s spring 2016 ReCount restaurant census, which includes restaurants open as of March 31, 2016, shows that total restaurant chain unit growth was flat from last spring and independent restaurant growth declined by 3 percent. What’s more, NPD’s forecast doesn’t show significant growth returning any time soon.

Restaurant unit growth has slowed and talk of a “restaurant recession” is bubbling up again. Chicago-based NPD Group’s spring 2016 ReCount restaurant census, which includes restaurants open as of March 31, 2016, shows that total restaurant chain unit growth was flat from last spring and independent restaurant growth declined by 3 percent. What’s more, NPD’s forecast doesn’t show significant growth returning any time soon.

That means growth will need to come from within, which means building traffic. Strategic focus on design and overall ambience is a key to that door. A recent Technomic study revealed that 91 percent of casual-dining restaurant guests say that an appealing ambience influences their decision to visit a particular concept. For QSRs, 84 percent of customers say they prefer to patronize concepts that have a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. The study further showed that the Millennial and Gen Z crowds most strongly prioritize decor and music.

Selecting materials and design features that are fresh, relevant and on trend is critical to creating the type of ambience that gets customers in the door and keeps them coming back. Here are five designer-endorsed approaches that matter today:

  • Barrier-free spaces. Open kitchens, dining rooms that flow from indoors out, chef’s counters, and glass walls that give guests a bird’s-eye view into everything from dry-aging meats and in-house butchery to wine rooms and walk-in coolers add visual energy, engagement and transparency.
  • Lighter looks. The ubiquitous heavy industrial look favored by so many concepts, coming out of the recession has had its day. The materials that have dominated restaurant design in recent years — concrete, steel and reclaimed wood — are making room for fresher, brighter materials like brushed metals, lighter natural woods, stone-like porcelain and luxury vinyl tiles.
  • Richer colors. Colorful, textured vinyl; rich, nature-inspired wall coverings and carpets; and artistic use of tile — from modern mosaics to simple, elegant, large-format tiles — on both floors and walls adds personality and pizzazz.
  • Localized decor. Throw away the cookie cutter. Today’s consumers value authenticity, individuality and all things local. That means local imagery, local art, and even locally sourced building materials, furnishings and finishes.
  • Instagram-worthy spaces. Social media has changed the dining experience, and creating bold design elements that make for great photos is essential.

Products

High-Performance, Low-Maintenance Surfaces

Formica Chestnut Croc


Formica Corp.’s 2017 Specialty Collection includes two high-performance, low-maintenance surfacing products: Formica Infiniti and dECOLeather. Infiniti features a soft-to-the-touch, super-matte finish that resists fingerprints and bacterial growth and has thermal healing capabilities. It is available in all standard Formica colors. dECOLeather brings sustainable, affordable luxury to interiors. It is available in 18 colors and 3 richly grained finishes. www.formica.com

Exotic Hardwood Alternative

Einwood Products Exotic Wood Alternative

A true alternative to exotic hardwoods such as ipe and teak, Einwood can be used as decking, fencing, pergolas, green walls, privacy screens, arbors, shutters, furniture, equipment screens and more. The wood/plastic composite material is made of 90 percent recycled content to look and feel like natural wood. It is available in 14 different profiles.
www.einwoodproducts.com

Reclaimed Wood-Look Panels

Replications Unltd Urestone Reclaimed Wood Panels

The newest innovation in Urestone panels from Replications Unlimited is molded from real reclaimed wood. The interlocking 4-foot-by-8-foot panels are lightweight, waterproof and don’t rot over time. Add a seamless, rustic accent wall for half the installation time and costs without the struggle of finding the perfect pieces of wood. The panels are available in a variety of standard colors or can be customized to suit your design. www.urestonepanels.com

Duo-Gard Solutions

Duo Gard Piano Piano high res

Duo-Gard is an innovator in high-performance translucent daylighting systems and strategies, illuminated walls and ceilings, as well as custom canopies, shelters and outdoor structures. They design, engineer, fabricate and install. www.duo-gard.com

Textured Metal Cladding

Rigidized Metals Deep Textured Cladding1

Deep-textured bar and counter fronts in a variety of patterns and finishes provide a durable, resilient solution for high-traffic areas that are subject to a lot of abuse. In addition to being durable, Rigidized Metals’ cladding provides an aesthetically pleasing look. With the option of plain or powder-coated and highlighted stainless steel, designers can achieve any desired look for a unique installation. www.rigidized.com

Architectural Stone Cladding

CertainTeed StoneFacade AdirondackSnowfall

The new STONEfacade architectural stone cladding system provides vinyl siding professionals an opportunity to grab a share of the lucrative stone masonry segment of the market. Each STONEfacade panel has a continuous fastening flange for simple screw-in-place attachment. Panels are 8 inches high in 10-, 14- and 24-inch widths for easy installation that avoids repeating patterns. They are available in four natural colors. www.certainteed.com/stonefacade

 

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