Restaurant Design Trends 2018

Differentiating your business is probably the hardest part of opening a new venue, especially in a Market as crowded as Sydney. Many people just starting out make the mistake of trying to over-generalise – this is an easy trap to fall into, as it makes sense on the surface. Why wouldn’t you try and appeal to the broadest demographic possible? Sadly, this just isn’t feasible for a number of reasons:

  • You can’t please every one

The hospitality marketplace is probably the most diverse market possible. Everyone’s gotta eat, drink and socialise, right? With a market this large, there come a massive range of needs. It is impossible to service the needs of every possible customer, all the time.

  • Over-generalising is unprofitable

Think about your venue’s design like an inventory of stock. You wouldn’t try and stock every possible food item for every possible customer, because it just isn’t a viable strategy. Profitable businesses specialise in a certain style of food or drink, and they cater to that one area very well. Your design should do the same thing.

  • Being on-trend is important

Hospitality businesses live and die at the whim of design zeitgeist. Like it or not, what’s hip and fashionable one day will look tired and staid the next. By differentiating yourself, and offering a new and exciting look and feel, you extend the longevity of your restaurant’s appeal.

  • Everywhere is different

No two cities are the same. Even within a city, there is immense regional variation in the tastes and desires of its inhabitants. Developing an interior design that matches these needs is imperative in creating a viable hospitality business.

With these points in mind, take a look at the following design trends which have been shaking up the Sydney dining scene over the past few months:



The smaller your space, the more important it is to reduce clutter and visual noise. Sadly, minimalism has become a byword for ‘stark and uninteresting’ in recent years. In order to avoid this cold, unwelcoming feeling, you can introduce colour and organic forms and materials to your design to offer a warm, friendly space that remains tasteful and uncluttered.


Greenhouse by Protech

Colourful, organic and minimalist

Greenhouse salad bar is a great example of a small, minimalist space done right. The design is cohesive and bright, and natural wood finishes were used to provide an organic, simple feel (essential in a restaurant aimed at the health and foods market).


Colour me surprised

This brings us to our next point. COLOUR.

Colour fanatics around Sydney are breathing a collective sigh of relief this winter, as the industry moves away from the staid white walls of yesteryear. Instead, the design trend is moving towards the use of a diverse range of pigments, materials and even wallpapers – splashes of excitement which can add a great deal of interest to a space.

Charlotte's Little Sister by Protech

Bright colours can add depth and warmth to a space

Charlotte’s Little Sister in Redfern is très à la mode with regards to clever use of colour. Rather than inundating the viewer with blocks of continuous, flat colour, Kreativ design have chosen to drop in a few cute little murals, depicting vibrant songbirds. These impart an almost rustic element of nostalgic whimsy to an otherwise bare wall, and tie the theme of the space together without being too intrusive.


Can you say… fast?

It’s 2018, and fast food is cool again. The wilder the better. Readers with a few years under their belts will no doubt associate fast food with fibreglass, neon lights, and a certain pair of yellow parabolas.

In contrast, millenials have shed these preconceptions, and the market is changing rapidly to account for this. Burger Chic chains like Grill’d, Mad Mex and Guzman Y Gomez have created a market for fast food served out of well designed, attractive venues. Even the humble Pretzel has undergone a revamp – check out Mr Pretzels Hornsby to see just how great a little snack shop can look.

Mr Pretzel by Protech

Pretzels – now with added style!

Wood panels, geometric designs and clever tiling create a lavish, premium feel – helping the more well-heeled segment of the market to try out food they would otherwise avoid.


Instagram oriented design

It’s no secret that social media is now a huge driver of business for most venues. A lot of the focus is on how we can encourage users to like or share content – active strategies which are definitely very valuable tools in generating interest. But what about more passive strategies? Increasingly, designers are thinking about how they can encourage people to photograph and share their food and venue. This might come down to choices of tableware and furniture, or even the inclusion of interesting visual elements which lend themselves well to sharing. While there are no hard and fast rules to these strategies, Cristina Villanón of AD&V offers a number of excellent tips on designing your venue in a manner that lends itself to social media.


Great furniture

These custom built lounge benches at Harry’s café Bondi were designed specifically to set a tone. Bright colours, straps and cream highlights give the space a laid-back feel, complemented by a soft-lighting (and amazing coffee).

For the more radically inclined, colour is definitely a big 2018 restaurant design trend.

Weird and wonderful

Treading the delicate line between exciting and garish – the Thraldon Park Manor Collection is exemplary of the radical new directions which interior design trends are taking in 2018. Love it or hate it, its important to offer your customers a unique dining experience, and this sort of product does just that.


Keep in mind that interior design is one field where change is the only constant. Keeping on top of design trends is a full time job in and of itself. For help choosing your restaurant design, call Protech Hospitality to make your vision for your venue into a reality


Protech HospitalityRestaurant Design Trends 2018