Bona says that more and more the industry is seeing the use of natural and/or recycled materials such as reclaimed wood or stone in and outside the store, but also there is a move toward newer composite materials that are much more cost-effective, lower-maintenance and longer-lasting.

“Retailers are moving away from legacy designs that incorporate loud colors, oversized plastic graphics and complicated architectural details,” Bona says. Instead, they’re focusing on creating more authentic and relaxed environments that provide a sense of place. That includes open kitchen designs, focused LED lighting, display cases that showcase the offers, and digital interactions that help elevate the experience.

“It’s about using design to celebrate and ‘hero’ the offer,” Bona says.

In a well-designed space, every customer touchpoint, including lighting and finishes, is considered for adding brand value. According to Geering, providing a comfortable and functional seating area away from the hustle of a busy checkout area, with built-in power strips, quartz counters and sturdy furniture creates an elevated experience and responds to the customer’s needs.

“Providing an exterior dining location for good weather days also increases street-side visibility that foodservice is offered at the store,” Geering says. “Durable flooring choices like polished concrete, terrazzo and porcelain tile are go-to solutions for easy maintenance and slip resistance. Retailers are investing in quartz or stainless-steel counters for long-lasting performance and a quality customer touchpoint.”