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"Jonathan has photographed International Alert's work in three different continents. He always becomes part of the team, needs a minimum amount of support and delivers stunning images which convey a real sense of humanity."
Phil Vernon
Director of Programmes
International Alert
"Whether on a farm in East Africa, a Trawler in the Atlantic or a Royal Palace in London, Jonathan consistently delivers photography that makes us look good to our clients. "
Paul Campbell
Director of Purple Patch Group
"Quality photography is absolutely essential to our brand. It’s who we are, what we do and the impact we have on the world. And that means working with a photographer like Jonathan, who understands what we are trying to achieve with our work."
THOM MCKAY,
Director of Communications
RTKL.COM
"Jonathan has been a pleasure to work with, professional, well organised, creative and always delivering to the brief. Considering the breadth of topics we have asked him to work on around the world, he has also shown himself to be resourceful and flexible. "
Judith Batchelar,
Director of Sainsbury's Brand
"Jonathan has travelled to Intergen's power plants in Mexico, Australia and Europe and produces consistently high quality photography. Intergen's values are all about a high-quality work force for which we consider him part of. "
Mark Somerset,
Vice President
InterGen Europe
"Waiting on a quote from the British Red Cross "
Wendy Solesbury MBE
Youth Development Manager, British Red Cross
"We work with photographers that try to capture the essence of our work and reflect our company values in terms of design. Jonathan produces excellent results every time with creative flair. He is highly professional to work with as well as personable. "
Sean Collins & James Felstead
Directors of CGL Architects.
"Whether on a farm in East Africa, a Trawler in the Atlantic or a Royal Palace in London, Jonathan consistently delivers photography that makes us look good to our clients. "
Paul Campbell
Director of Purple Patch Group
"Jonathan has been a pleasure to work with, professional, well organised, creative and always delivering to the brief. Considering the breadth of topics we have asked him to work on around the world, he has also shown himself to be resourceful and flexible. "
Judith Batchelar,
Director of Sainsbury's Brand
"Waiting on a quote from the British Red Cross "
Wendy Solesbury MBE
Youth Development Manager, British Red Cross
"Jonathan Banks has captured the faces of different people that vividly represent the human side of the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh where each individual remains above all a human being with his or her right to be what they are, wherever they live, with dignity and in peace. "
EU Ambassador in Yerevan
"Jonathan has travelled to Intergen's power plants in Mexico, Australia and Europe and produces consistently high quality photography. Intergen's values are all about a high-quality work force for which we consider him part of. "
Mark Somerset
Vice President, InterGen Europe
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News

30

Nov

Turning the Tables: Designing a chain restaurant

  • By Jonathan Banks

In August I photographed the new Nando’s restaurant in Altrincham. STAC Architecture has come up with another incredible unique design concept while adhering to Nando’s heritage.

Positioned in the prime location near the station and the main shopping area, the restaurant is spread over two floors. The dining space is generous with a mixture of large and small tables, plus intimate dining booths. STAC Architecture has worked with the original architecture of the building which was designed to showcase the latest products and attract shoppers through ornate detailing and sumptuous entrances. From the outside we can clearly see the distinctive bright yellow loose chain dividers around the booths and incorporated in the chandeliers plus in a sculptural curtain hanging from the ceiling.

If we move into the heart of the space, the design transitions from bold and vibrant, to the more natural, earthy elements of African design and materiality.  The centre of the restaurant is a study in basics and calm, creating an oasis to enjoy and relax within. There is an amazing spiral stair case which is morphs from steel and glass to natural wood and cork. It joins the two floors with a natural fluidity. The lighting is a mixture of spots, Edison bulbs, concrete mounted bulbs and “Pulp Fiction Lamps” by Knus. The furniture ranges from bespoke benches and booths covered with leather and Kettal and Luna chairs.

Having photographed many restaurants in my time it always interests me how designers afford space for “the experience of dining” rather than maximising the number of diners. Most observers would say that chain restaurants are in the business of selling food. A strong counterargument is often made that these restaurants sell experiences, that food plays an important but by no means the only part. From the restaurateur’s viewpoint, however, a restaurants true inventory is the availability of a seat for the duration of the meal experience. To be able to increase the volume of sales, one needs to expand that inventory by increasing the number of available seats. Owing to the physical constraints of most restaurants, adding seats is not feasible. That leaves only one good way to increase inventory: turning tables more rapidly. Methods of increasing service efficiency and thus increasing seat turnover have been explored in depth. Improved server training is one popular approach; another is using operations engineering techniques to identify and correct service bottlenecks. But little attention has been paid to the power of the restaurant environment itself to contribute to table turns.

Design is an exciting and important component of a restaurant chain's success. Building an understanding of effective design can enhance the restaurant industry by creating more successful concepts for the customers to enjoy.