FAB eZine

SmartDesign Group lends support to airport concession partners’ reopening drive

SmartDesign Group is offering free space planning to small and minority-owned airport concessionaires in May and June as airport restaurant and store reopenings get under way.

“The travel experience will forever be changed. We are committed to helping the industry community recover from the impact of COVID-19.” So says leading airport commercial design consultancy SmartDesign Group, as it offers support to restaurant and retail businesses in North America amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Vancouver-based design house is offering free space planning for smaller clients and Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) members in the region during May and June as they prepare to reopen.

Bringing communications to life: Social distancing clarified in new ways by SmartDesign

The company noted that concessionaires must have a strategic plan for reopening, which will occur under enforced circumstances, with social distancing compounding the challenge of reduced traffic and customer fear, each presenting obstacles to footfall and spend.

Considerations go well beyond the potential loss of seats in stores or terminals. Retailers will have to take into account how they interact with customers, health & safety, speed of service, menu adjustments, sustainability and adopt a transparent communications strategy.

Importantly, SmartDesign recognises that the traveller experience must remain positive where possible, even with social distancing. Here, adding a dash of humour to communications (see images) can make a difference. The industry must “make customers and staff feel comfortable with core safety messages that follow local jurisdiction safety guidelines, but also personalise the message to keep it on brand, and where the opportunity presents have some fun with it,” says the company.

Simple, inexpensive design touches can lift F&B environments, it notes. “Where tables are not in use and not removable from dining spaces we recommend adding planting or artefacts to the tabletop so they still feel part of the designed experience and not simply a social distancing necessity. Of course, budgets play a role in this during these tough times but these solutions are cost-effective experience enhancers.”

F&B partners to avail of the SmartDesign planning service include Tastes on the Fly (through its operations at Vancouver International) and AMAC members Sulaiman Rahim, Hamid Hussein and Farhana Rahim, who run The Goddess and Grocer, Subway and Gold Coast Dogs at Chicago O’Hare Terminal 3.

Smart Design has helped brand The Goddess & Grocer’s communications, down to signage and face masks

Tastes on the Fly CEO Michael Levine says: “The team at SmartDesign Group assisted us on our social distancing strategy for our new locations at Vancouver International Airport. The airport was impressed with the comprehensive planning process in regards to health and safety measures for both travellers and our staff, while protecting the guest experience. We highly recommend any AMAC member to take advantage of this complimentary service with the talented folks at Smart.”

The Goddess and Grocer Director of Business Development Farhana Rahim says: “They listened to our goals and took the time to understand our brand and operational model before sharing their knowledge and advice, making us feel comfortable and excited by our reopening strategy. This was supported with a design package to share with our airport partners. A plan this comprehensive would have been completely out of reach for a small company like ours. We are blown away at how professional this makes us look.”

Quirky, fun messaging that aims to make travellers feel comfortable in restaurants and stores (above and below)

SmartDesign Group adds: “We do not believe this is a one and done exercise. As passenger numbers start to increase and restrictions ease there will be an even greater need to make guests feel welcome as capacity opportunity increases. Protective screens will become important on communal tables, bars and between tables to increase capacity and sales opportunities while accommodating new ingrained consumer habits of social distancing.”

The positive initiative allows Smart Design to support clients in their reopening plans, reducing barriers to spend and hopefully rebuilding consumer confidence in the airport dining experience in the months ahead.

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The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 280 | 3 June 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 12 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit www.moodiedavittreport.com and to subscribe, please e-mail sinead@moodiedavittreport.com

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