Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Laying the foundation

“Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” --Warren Buffett

It’s been a while since we’ve blogged but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy! In fact a lot has happened that we will update you on soon, starting with us commissioning an architect to help build out our store’s interior design.

Creating an identity is no easy task… especially for a kabob restaurant. And our goal is not just to sell kabobs but to build a brand that stands for something more. We want people to be inspired when they eat at Saffron Grill. Kabobs come from all over the world and have many names, shapes, and forms. You’ve probably heard of Greek souvlaki but did you know about Mexican banderillas? The point is we want people to walk into Saffron Grill and realize they are experiencing an international cuisine. So our theme is about bringing cultures together and unifying people through kabobs.

But how do you express that in your store layout and design? That’s the project we’ve been working on over the last few weeks. First we met with our architect to discuss the process and looked through a variety of random images that could give us some inspiration. After agreeing on some ideas we came up with an abstract vision for the theme. Our architect asked us to then go out into actual restaurants and take photos of all the elements… think walls, ceilings, lights, tables, chairs, menu boards, ordering stations, the works! This was a lot more awkward than you’d think but we got some great shots. Then the three of us walked through all of the pictures to come up with a consistent viewpoint on what we liked and didn’t like. Wood or metal? Paint or brick? Red or Purple? I personally enjoyed this exercise a lot although I bet Amir never imagined he would be contemplating these questions :) Nevertheless, it was a great discussion and we all came out on the same page which is really important.

We then presented the images and our opinions to our architect to get his feedback and lock down specific materials, colors, and styles. For the most part he loved our ideas and guided us towards a single design. There was a piece we disagreed on with regards to using geometric shapes (like the one you see here) to accentuate the idea of unity and bringing cultures together. Our architect said we would run the risk of evoking the wrong ideas (whether it was religious, spiritual, or too Mediterranean/Eastern in nature). However, we felt strongly that there is a way of incorporating this type of design subtly into the rest of the d├ęcor elements that could be tasteful and would add much more depth and richness to our theme. What do you think? Would love to hear what words come to mind when you see these types of images, and if it seems too foreign or unwelcoming?

At this point we are waiting for our architect to come back with some initial sketches of how this will all pan out. Look forward to sharing the drawings with you all soon!