Restaurant Design: Yesterday and Today


A restaurant is defined as a place where people pay to sit and eat meals that are cooked and served on the premises. They have been part of our culture since the beginning of time, and as our culture evolves so do our restaurants.  Diners, an Americana icon were once a staple along major highways for individuals working long hours or constantly on the road.  Then came large fast food corporations that spread throughout the country with fast cheap food changing how and what we eat.  Many fast food companies have come and gone while others have become iconic branding that is ingrained into our psyche.

Today technology has been integrated into every facet of our lives, so why would restaurants be any different?  Many eateries provide options on a screen at some point through the dining experience.  Sometimes it is the first thing you interact with as you place your food order, while others may have a screen at your table in case you would like to order something while your waiter is busy.

As millennials become the dominate consumer, business owners have adjusted their restaurant model to suit their interests.  What has come from that are unique dining experiences.  In the past many restaurants created a consistency of branding and menu items, so that it was a familiar place whether walking through the door in Portland Maine or Portland Oregon.  Now, variety and one-offs are king.  Menu items may change seasonally, weekly and even daily.  This creates a feeling of singular experience and limited time hype, urging diners to try it while you still can.  Now those places of consistency from coast to coast have slight variations to them, so that they are recognizable, yet different enough to feel like a new experience.

Restaurants will probably always be a part of our culture; we need to eat, they create an experience, are part of a community, and they are an income producing opportunity.

Over the years JLA has been involved with the design, and expansion of local and unique places to dine to large corporate restaurants across the country.


Contact us at JL Architects to create your unique experience.

-Nathan Houser, Architectural Designer – Restaurants

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