Co.Design

Seeking A Fresh Start Abroad, Burger King Channels A Family Barbecue

With natural, rustic materials and a communal vibe, this restaurant looks more like a vegetarian cafe than the home of the Whopper.

Fast-food joints are embracing high design--especially abroad, where fast food is younger to the market and sometimes carries a premium halo. Consider that McDonald’s recently enlisted Patrick Noguet to trot out a new family-restaurant concept in France. And now Burger King is getting in on the act, with a garden-patio theme intended to appeal to both families and teens alike. “We noticed that one word that kept popping up was ‘flame grilled,’ and we used this clue as a starting point," writes the design team OutofStock. “From collective experiences, our mental picture of flame grilling is closely associated with garden barbecues and camping cook-outs.”

So OutofStock brought the outside in, furnishing the restaurant with lounge-y seating upholstered in weatherproof fabrics and set against a collage wall of materials and textures, including everything from raw concrete and clay bricks to cork and copper. Traditional stick-backed chairs surround wooden metal-framed tabletops reminiscent of folding camping furniture. And a roof trellis serves to hide air-conditioning and heating ducts, while anchoring pendant lamps made from clay gardening pots. Other homey touches: wooden shelving for holding framed BK posters and potted plants along the window ledges. The overall atmosphere is more evocative of a college-town café serving heirloom-tomato salads than a burger-flipping fast-food chain.

BK corporate financed the “Garden Grill” and recently unveiled it to Asian franchisees during an Asian-Pacific conference in Singapore--no doubt as a way to gain a stronger foothold in the growing Asian market. The first concept store is now in full operation in Singapore; the next is set to crop up in Japan. “Changing the perception of fast food was one of targets,” OutofStock’s Gabriel Tan tells Co.Design, “to become a place where people would want to sit for a while to enjoy the experience, rather than just to eat and go quickly.”

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13 Comments

  • Gusttavopv

    Looks great.  The interior design and the location (by looking at the pictures above) fit to one another.  It may be the same old stuff when speaking of food but lets not forget that its the Design that matters here. 

  • Josie

    Have to agree with 2tight. Why do they always try stuff on the other side o the world? Do they think if another country likes it the U.S. will too? Why not try it here first?

  • Chad

    This kind of change is good. It's not just about retaining current customers. It's about gaining new customers, while holding on to the current ones.

  • Rick

     in the U.S. BK has a place in consumers minds. It's not the cafe look. It's McD's w/ the smell of smoke. I don't know how entrenched they are in markets outside the US and what consumers there think of when they see BK. 
    McD's cafe look re-do's were weird at first, but now they fit. Maybe the lesson is people have short memories and if you are consistent and persistent and have enough money you can change people's minds.

  • Lara Mulady

    Mutton dressed as lamb. Looks good clean and unused, but in the end, it's a fast food joint.

  • boom

    pleeeease.  Just because it looks differently doesn't mean it isn't the same shit

  • sketch

    Clean, modern and homey. Much better than that stupid king they used to have.