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The Secret Ingredient for Staying Popular & Profitable | FoodPower is a restaurant consulting firm that coaches industry leaders to leverage strengths, create concepts, refine menus & identify opportunities to increase revenue & capatalize on the changes in today's dining out patterns.
 
At UCLA's Annual Restaurant Industry Conference I finally met the man of my dreams... Adam Tihany.  He is widely regarded as the preeminent hospitality designer in the world today and I have been following his work for years.  And guess what he said...music to my ears... " I never work with a restaurant that does not have a strong story!"  WHY?  We build on that story to create the details that create the total experience.
 
Tihany has designed more than 300 restaurants, many of them grand, high-end affairs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten's eponymous restaurant at the Trump International Hotel & Tower, Thomas Keller's Per Se, Sirio Maccioni's Le Cirque, and the Las Vegas outposts of Wolfgang Puck's Spago and Charlie Palmer's Aureole.
 
If you've been following my newsletters and work, you know that we at FoodPower focus on working with independents where food is the power.  We work to coach the owners to fill every silo of the business with their story to build their brand.  We like to do it subtley and blatantly - for the the sophisticate and the novice.  The story promotes the food, the service, the ambiance, to create a memorable experience providing the guest, not to mention the press, with something to BUZZ about!
 
Here are some of the restaurants that Tihany designed that tell the story both dramatically and simply.  There's no reason for us not to get ideas from the top. 
 
Charlie Palmer's Aureole at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is one of Tihany's most spectacular and innovative concepts.  It is a stunning example of restaurant as theater and an exciting backdrop for Chef/Owner Charlie Palmer’s star cuisine.   Tihany Design created this exhilarating Las Vegas space — with its elevated glass walkway — that features a spectacular four-story, steel and glass Wine Tower that soars to its sky-lit ceiling.  A wine angel dressed in black spandex, traverses the tower as if mountain climbing.  Wine Spectator writes, "With nearly 2,000 selections backed by an inventory of 35,000 bottles, Aureole's list is the best in Las Vegas for imagination, intelligence and range." 

Now that's a wine tasting experience!
 
Earlier this year, Chef Heston Blumenthal opened his newest and first restaurant in London, DINNER by Heston Blumenthal, at the Mandarin Oriental, and its fully booked up to the end of May 2011! Not only has the Chef been praised for this restaurant, but Tihany has been praised as well!

In the main 120-seat main dining room, floor to ceiling glass walls provide guests with a full view of the chefs in action in their spectacular kitchen, pictured above!  An extraordinary, one-of-a-kind custom pulley system operates the wood fired rotisserie at the left inspired by a 16th century pulley system designed for the British Royal Court kitchens.  The gears and crank recall the assembly and efficiency of a watch, mechanically rotating a spit in an open-fire rotisserie. The exposed mechanical cooking system over fire in the kitchen, a type of spit to express the traditional roots of the restaurant is a design conceptualized and executed by Adam Tihany that now takes pride of place in the center of the restaurant.
 
A definite addition to my growing Bucket List!
 
I love the way Tihany tucked the name of the restaurant,  TWIST by Pierre Gagnaire at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, on the wall in the lower left corner.  I love to see the name tucked in corners, on the floor, several times at the entrance, etc.  And the lighting is suburb.  On a limited budget, in most cases, the best "bang for the buck" is to upgrade the lighting.  Often, after the installation of great lighting;  washing the walls, highlighting the tables, adding whimsy and intrique and making the guests look attractive...other items which seemed vital fade into the background and an all new perspective is presented.