With 2020 finally in the rear view mirror, brands looking forward to resuming or accelerating development can expect some strong opportunities as well as a few headwinds in 2021. On the upside, real estate opportunities and rents will no doubt be favorable, as pandemic-induced vacancies continue to pile up. But challenges in materials pricing and availability are expected to continue to impact projects well into the new year.

“The pandemic has increased the cost of materials and shipping, while lead times have been extended,” says Randy Shelly, executive vice president of Hospitality at Shawmut Design and Construction. “Procurement needs to be approached with even more consideration than before, with a focus on specifying materials that are available domestically and even regionally.”

Basic lumber products such as plywood and 2x4s have been particularly hard hit, adds Chuck Taylor, director of operations at Englewood Construction. The result of unprecedented demand for new-home construction and remodeling during the pandemic; mill closures in March and April; demand from restaurants and hospitality businesses scrambling to construct outdoor seating areas; and the impact of civil unrest in major cities across the country, lumber prices as of early October had hit record highs.

“Basic things like plywood are now significantly more expensive than they were just a few months ago,” Taylor notes. “And because of extensive storefront damage that we’ve seen from civil unrest in many major markets, glass availability and pricing is impacted, as well. Every piece of glass for commercial facilities is made to order and there’s an extreme shortage right now. It means some projects will be waiting quite some time for glass.”

In addition to specifying materials available domestically or regionally, Shelly suggests operators developing locations in 2021 should anticipate the need for greater collaboration to keep projects on schedule and on budget. “There are multiple factors now affecting project timelines, from lease negotiations to design development to permitting and inspection,” he says. “With safety and health updates coming in by the minute, rules and regulations are continually changing. Upfront collaboration during lease negotiations, design development, material sourcing, permitting and general project planning is more important than ever, allowing construction managers to provide constructability and budget reviews in real time as changes occur, ultimately saving money while preserving value.”

As for overall design planning, Shelly says flexible seating options and seating with barriers have become important. He also suggests brands consider simplified designs and focus on cleanable surfaces, touchless technologies, and high-end mechanicals and air filtration systems as development picks up back up.

Panolam Yesteryears SFresh, Retro Laminates

The new Yesteryears Collection of high-pressure laminates includes a mix of 20 new and retro designs, including rich woodgrains, abstracts and solids inspired by some of the most popular patterns from the past 80 years. The designs combine form and function while creating a fun sense of nostalgia and a mid-century vibe. Some of the company’s 1950s countertop laminates served as inspiration for several of the new collection’s designs.

Panolam Surface Systems

Formica Everform Solid Surface Dalmata Terrazzo Matrix RestaurantAcrylic Solid Surface

Previously known as Formica Solid Surfacing, the Everform Solid Surface collection by Formica Group introduces eight new acrylic solid surface patterns. Inspired by modern and minimalist designs, they include subtle patterns in terrazzo, micropattern and soft, ethereal designs. The acrylic surface is made from natural mineral fiber and binding resins, and features color all the way through to its core. It is suitable for high-traffic commercial environments.

Formica Group

Marlite lrgTile-Look FRP Panels 

Patent-Pending Symmetrix with
SmartSeam Technology allows for the installation of tile-look fiberglass reinforced plastic walls without the need for seam joints or division molding, creating a continuous tile appearance with no visual breaks. A half-groove on the edge of the panel helps panels align easier while eliminating vertical seams. Finger-lock panels create a seamless look for staggered designs, such as subway tile, or hexagonal designs. Panels install over existing drywall or ceramic tile. 

Marlite Inc.

treefrog veneersReal Wood Veneer Laminates

Treefrog presents Treefrog Open, eight finished, real wood veneer laminates. Treefrog Open includes trending neutrals in white oak, grey oak and several shades of walnut. Many of these new veneer laminates feature the company’s popular groove surface for a deeper and more authentic texture. The series offers several fine-grain wood looks and wider planks. Wood used is of certified origin and sheets are 4 feet by 10 feet, with custom options also available.

Treefrog Veneer

SherwinWilliams Emerald Rain RefreshLow-Maintenance Exterior Coating

Emerald Rain Refresh Exterior Acrylic Latex with Self-Cleaning Technology is an exterior coating formulated so dirt washes away upon contact with rain or water for a clean, fresh appearance with minimal maintenance. This coating can be tinted in VinylSafe paint colors. Its optimal application properties simplify the painting process for all experience levels and make it suitable for most exterior surfaces, including wood, masonry and concrete.


Chemetal brushed light brass hamptons bakeryPolished Brass Surfacing

Chemetal’s Polished Brass is part of the 900 Series of solid anodized aluminum. Suitable for wallcovering, furniture or any vertical retail application, the series includes nearly 20 different stocked brass finish looks, including aged, polished, brushed and patinaed. Available in 4-foot-by-8-foot or 4-foot-by-10-foot sheets with low-pressure laminate backer option. Chemetal can also create cut-to-size pieces, such as custom panels and accent strips. These aluminums contribute to LEED with up to 75% recycled content.


lalaminates deep bisect USE THIS ONE AS PRIMARYModern, Textured Laminates

InteriorArts offers 20 modern laminates in its Fresh Data collection. Bold surface textures elevate the collection’s sophisticated neutrals with reflectivity. The Bisect texture (pictured in bronze) is a diagonal crosshatch, adding an open, shining, almost metallic appearance. Each texture comes in several colorways as well as brushed or stainless. The series also includes three matte, anti-fingerprint, scratch-resistant finishes in black, white and grey. Most Fresh Data selections are available in 4-foot-by-10-foot sizes.


Aristech HoneyOnyx Front Cafe PanelsDecorative, Durable Resins

The STUDIO Collection handcrafted architectural resin palette offers a combination of opaque, transparent and translucent polymers that adds depth to surfaces and creates myriad design possibilities. Naturally impermeable and hygienic, these high-performance resins require no extra chemical additives or coatings and are formulated to withstand repetitive cleaning regimes with no compromise to their fabricated finish. Designed to meet Class I building code demands, the STUDIO Collection offers thermoforming flexibility and seamless installations.

Aristech Surfaces