Restaurants of the future – let’s talk crazy!

Restaurants of the future

Two large restaurant brands asked us to design their restaurants of the future. No rules, no limits to creativity. Areas to address were restaurant design, technology and customer trends. The ideas might seem crazy – they might work, they might not but at least you’re looking forward. If you can get yourself acclimated to being uncomfortable with what you don’t know, you’re doing it right!

What’s Cash?

Obviously there won’t be cash in the future. Will there be human servers? Just imagine – order accuracy could be, well, accurate! Will the restaurant ever close? Will restaurants invest in a physical space or just exist in digital kitchens like oomi? That’s all happening already.

Unbranded food might as well be those jello bricks on the last train car in Snowpiercer.

Ultimately, food without unique, brand-based features or restaurant brands without experiential features will become commodities. A taco made by a robot, delivered by a drone and left on my porch is just a taco.  Now, if I ordered a #3 Spicy Chicken Tikka taco in the metaverse, paid for it with cryto currency and it’s delivered to my house in a heated drone every “Taco Tuesday” at 7pm… that’s a brand experience!

If you’re not planning your future now, you’re behind. Reach out, let’s talk about something crazy for your brand!

Why did you buy that product? Package design is critical to consumer purchase decisions.

Are you launching a new product?

As a package designer, I talk to lots of people who are launching new products. Just last week, Ingrid and I tried samples of a hangover remedy, a gluten free brownie and a bbq spice mix. Next week, we get to try a craft beer and two new flavors of gelato.

You are also a consumer!

When I’m talking to new package design clients, I always tell them to go home and look in their pantry. “Ask yourself, what made me buy that product?” Maybe it’s because you grew up with that brand or it promised to solve a specific need or maybe they just bought it because the package was cool. This happens to me all the time. I love food packaging of every kind. You’re a consumer! You are making decisions based on packaging at every single purchase, so – remember that your product package is subject to the same scrutiny.

Like packaging on the catwalk.

Package design is like the ultimate fashion statement for products. Think of it as the stylish outfit that your favorite brand wears to the party of store shelves. It’s the art of creating a visually captivating and functional exterior for a product’s packaging. As a brand designer with a love for clever and edgy packaging, I appreciate how critical packaging is to function, marketing and sensory appeal of a new consumer product.

Nobody will ever try your product if your package can’t compete. Make sure you budget appropriately for professional package design.

Smells like branding to me.

Yes, you can own a scent.

Anybody who’s ever walked into an Abercrombie and Fitch knows what I’m talking about. They have a proprietary scent that is probably as recognizable as their logo. Years ago, we were looking at a Darling Homes model home near Houston. That home smelled SO good and SO homey that when we contracted to build, I inquired about it. Turns out, that scent was developed specifically for them. They owned a scent.

I like restaurants that smell good.

Because I work primarily in the restaurant branding business and I’m also a consumer, I’m keenly aware of how important the smell of a restaurant is.  Scent is an important part of the customer experience and it works best when it is integrated with the overall branding. Tip for newbies – yes, your restaurant should be clean but it should not smell like cleaning supplies.

Last spring, we were awarded work for the international yogurt franchise, Yogurtland. During the project, we researched scent systems and discovered ScentAir who has been in the business for more than 20 years and has offices on three continents. They work with hotels & resorts, retailers, restaurants, offices, and casinos to name a few.

Our journey to find the perfect scent for the yogurt brand began with a discussion about what emotional connection we wanted to make with customers. The obvious answer is sugar – the ultimate dopamine-delivering scent of something sweet. Since froyo doesn’t really have a specific scent, we selected from samples of baked goods scents like those with vanilla and brown sugar. The scent is delivered via a small unit that plugs in and operates via an app where you can control the frequency and intensity.

I can think of so many brands that I could identify by scent alone – Auntie Anne’s, Starbucks, Subway, Nestle Toll House Cafe, Cinnabon, Burger King, Jimmy John’s (the “Free Smells” neon is genius).

What if packing peanuts smelled like peanuts?!*

If you think your ONLINE brand can’t take advantage – think again. Brands are using scents in their packing materials! Amazon – listen up – there’s opportunity here -ask me about scented ink!

*Would you have to include an allergen warning I wonder…

Weed, Sandbox and Branding in the METAVERSE

Three white House of Grass weed hats sitting in a row on a blue abstract background.

Weed. The newest thing in lifestyle branding

Despite its reputation, marijuana is a legit segment loaded with brands selling the benefits and lifestyle. From cute, innocent little gummies that help you sleep, to uber cool street wear by Cookies, big brands are getting in on the growing consumer base which, by the way, includes senior citizens says the New York Times . Not only is it big business on this planet but the metaverse could be the new frontier. Read what FastCompany has to say about pioneers like Snoop, Vans, Gucci & Nike.

Studio B is in the business of branding. In this case, the brand is House of Grass– a dope hat company–that opened an online store during the week of 4/20. Aimed at weed enthusiasts, golfers, skaters, hat-wearing fashionistas, the “House” launched with 4 hat styles and 4 designs–all crisp, all white. It’s an apparel brand with distinctive decorations and a convenient little tag that can hold your golf tee or a blunt. The brand is at ground zero for marketing but they’re open to the future.

Branding in other worlds

Let me paint a picture for you. You build your website and activate your social and maybe you even have an actual brick and mortar store in THIS world. But what about brand building in the other worlds? What? Crazy? Stupid? Well, hellllloooo, the concept of the future is suppose to sound crazy – that’s how it works. According to the brand team at House of Grass, they’re working on a pop up shop inside Sandbox right now. “It’s more about learning how it works and getting comfortable there than actual sales. BUT, we have seen how an online experience results in a physical delivery of goods, so, we won’t rule out sales!”

Open a store in the metaverse!

Enter Tyler, Anel, and Jerry – real estate agents offering space for lease in Tron Tower – inside Sandbox. It’s a few blocks from Snoop Dogg’s district – just past the Chipotle – wait that’s Roblox – I’m getting my metaverses confused. Tron Tower offers space in their futuristic multi-story building where you can office, open a storefront, exhibit art, or just have a bachelor/ette pad when you need to get away from it all…Ahhh.

Curious? Chill out and click some links:

weed and golf

weed and fashion

chipotle inthemetaverse

Check out this HubSpot blog post that features terms you need to know and early metaverse opportunities for brands.

Snoop Dogg’s NFT collection

Fast Company’s take on the topic


Studio B develops brands anywhere people shop. Get a dope hat here .

Girl walking next to Black and White illusion wall in Deep Ellum in Dallas, TX. Wearing a blue shirt, jeans and house of Grass Fuzzy Buddy Hat.