The principal of the firm, Karen Hanlon, has been designing Restaurants, Bars, Luxury Theaters and Food Markets since 1988 when she joined the New York based firm, Zakaspace Corporation. After 10 years as their Director of Design, she opened her design firm in 1998 based out of Hollywood, Florida. Her degree from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and her study of Architecture in Florence, Italy combined with many years of working in the restaurant industry gave her an unparalleled head-start in the foodservice design business.
Working with industry greats like Houston’s Restaurants, The Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, Hard Rock Cafe, The Restaurant People, Big Time Restaurant Group, IPIC Entertainment has enabled her to gain considerable knowledge in the operations and marketing aspects of the industry. Throughout her lengthy career, the contacts, resources and relationships that have been made allow Karen Hanlon to create Innovative and Classic Designs that have played a major role in making these projects successful and highly profitable.
Karen’s passion for this industry is undeniable and is apparent not only in the end result of every project, but in the way she understands and accommodates the needs of the client as well as their customers throughout the entire process. Working closely and respectfully with all of the people involved in a project is just as important in the success of a project as the concept itself.
Our approach begins with analyzing the concept, the target market and the budget.
Our next step is to determine how the energy within the space should be created. After all, the energy is the driving force that keeps the customer coming back. Energy is the life-force and must be properly tuned and designed so that the tone and the level is proper for every concept. If the concept is menu-driven, the food must be featured and the theater may become the cooking process. In other instances, the bar should be the center of the action and the location, shape and proximity to the other elements within the space play a major role in accomplishing this task.
Regardless of the concept, Karen Hanlon believes in maximizing the potential revenue sources by marketing the “product.” It is also critical that the concept have a clear and cohesive identity that is easy for the customer to understand and that there is a thread that weaves consistency throughout the concept. We believe the menu is the driving force behind the physical design of the restaurant. The design must reflect the nature, personality and ethnicity of the menu. In concepts where location and energy play the largest role, it is important to understand the motivations of the customer and to accommodate their needs.
Making it “easy” and “unintimidating” for the client upon their arrival sets the tone for their entire experience. Making each customer feel important is what we strive for in every project.
We realize that meeting a budget is crucial to the success of every project. As a result, we understand how to engineer the design to meet those needs – to determine how to maintain our stated goals while keeping our budget on track. We pride ourselves on our ability to get the most visual impact for every budget level.