Fast Casual Restaurant Design: How Smart Design Turns Profits

Opening a fast-casual restaurant can be costly, but don't overlook the value of investing in smart design for aesthetics and functionality. Here's how the right design can boost your profits.

Why Design Matters

The fast-casual category has evolved into one of the restaurant industry’s dominant forces. Bridging the gap between traditional fast food and fine dining, it offers more bang for the buck, appealing to consumers on a budget while also drawing those who are more culinary adventurous.

But it’s not just the quality of the food that appeals to fast-casual fans. The design and aesthetic of fast-casual restaurants also help these brands stand out in a competitive industry.

After all, the first thing your customers will experience upon entering your fast-casual franchise will be how they feel about the visual aspects of your space. So what are some things to bear in mind when considering the design of your space?


Start with A Vision

This may sound obvious, but while all new restaurant owners might have plenty of ideas in mind (and more than enough on their plate) in terms of menu, product and labor costs, profits, etc. not all take the same time to consider what they actually want their restaurants to look like, and how the aesthetics can affect their success.

If your vision is clearly executed, your customers will have a better sense of what they can expect from your restaurant the second they step on the premises. For example, if your concept is about fresh produce, your branding should be focused on highlighting it in sensory ways that speak to the customer.


Bigger Isn’t Always Better

The size of your space is also something to consider—not just in terms of costs, but in how it relates to your product and how you want to engage your customers. For example, Wayback Burgers restaurants have a relatively small footprint—the averages are between 1,600 and 1,800 square feet — in contrast to the average McDonald’s or Burger King franchise (traditional locations for both are approximately 4,000 square feet), which means costs associated with real estate, buildout, and equipment are less.

With a Wayback Burgers franchise, you can expect the initial investment to hover somewhere between $209,000 and $524,500, making it more accessible to entrepreneurs looking for the opportunity to start their own fast-casual burger franchise for well under $1 million. And that initial investment will include the design and buildout of your new restaurant.


Aesthetics and Efficiency

Your restaurant’s design should not only look great but help your business run smoothly. Owners need to create an ambiance in the dining areas that works in tandem with the restaurant brand.  At the same time, great consideration must be given to the efficiency of the kitchen and service areas. Dining room seating, restaurant flow, and equipment and storage placement are all key components in the design of your restaurant.


Convey Your Brand

Whether you are serving pizza, tacos, or delicious burgers, you want your restaurant space to communicate to your diner the full experience you hope for them to enjoy.

Wayback Burgers restaurants have recently updated their look, taking a modern twist on an old-fashioned experience. Even with nostalgic flavors at our core, recent updates will continue to attract guests.

The new design reflects Wayback Burgers’ approach to simple, uncomplicated food and service. Like the food itself, the design is bright and fresh. “It’s really about taking you back to a time when things were simpler, when things were made correctly, and there was a commitment to doing the right thing,” says President of Wayback Burgers, Patrick Conlin.

With this new update, Wayback Burgers stands apart when it comes to fast-casual restaurant design by highlighting its best features and modernizing its approach to dining. We want everyone who steps foot in our restaurants to enjoy their experience, whether they be team members or guests. The new design helps us combine our beloved traditions with a look to the future, something both franchise partners and diners can be excited about.

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