Restaurant design and creativity in Europe is now stronger than the US, according to a leading international designer. Speaking at the European Foodservice Summit, Simon Threadkell of Fitch, a division of WPP, the media and communications group, said that while the US was still king of scale, Europe was the key hotbed of new and interesting restaurant design. He said: “We have operations in the US and Europe and for a long time we felt like the poor cousins of our American colleagues. “But now our US colleagues readily admit that there has been a switch.” Exploring some of the more cutting-edge concepts, Threadkell said that design was crucial in communicating brand messages to customers. “The overlaying of a theme, which is added to a restaurant after the food no longer works. In design the starting point is the food and it has to grow out from there.” He spoke of a growing trend of using design to communicate messages of authenticity and freshness, and was an important way for restaurant groups to build trust with customers. Dr Christopher Muller, conference chairman, endorsed Threadkell's observations. He said: “Both Europe and Asia have a younger approach and a better approach to design innovation.” Threadkell also said that the pace of change in market was continually quickening. He said: “Concepts are brought to the market in a third of the time today. “Operators have to move the whole time to standstill - things are moving very quickly.” The Foodservice Summit is organised jointly by FoodService Europe & Middle East magazine, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute for economic and social studies and the University of Central Florida.

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