All the Trimmings: How to Build a Holistic Restaurant Concept and Brand

May 13, 2021
Barbara Castiglia

Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.


While the food and beverage portion of a meal is the main focus, restaurateurs also develop other aspects of the business to create a unique experience. Service is one. The design and layout of a restaurant also matter. Everything from ambiance to color, to sound, and to lighting.

On this episode of The‌ ‌Main‌ ‌Course‌‌ ‌Host,‌ ‌Barbara‌ ‌Castiglia‌ ‌talked ‌with‌ ‌Steve Starr,‌ ‌the‌ ‌Founder and Chief ‌of‌ ‌StarrDesign,‌ ‌which helps emerging restaurant concepts define and design their brand to build lasting value. The duo spoke about restaurant design, what goes into it and how the pandemic altered how restaurants are approaching their restaurant design.

Starr’s career in restaurants started when he was young. His family owned them for four generations before his father decided not to participate in the family business. His Mom made sure that he and his sister gained a wealth of experience, with a particular focus on serving people.

“I also learned that I don’t want to be a restauranteur. So, I decided to take the other side of the family business, which my mom is now a retired interior designer, so I ended up going to architecture school.” -Steve Starr

“The best way they believed to do that was to literally do that,” Starr said. “Whether it was working in family restaurants or other restaurants, we had to work in restaurants.”

His time working in restaurants taught him a great deal, as one would expect. He picked up how to run operations and serve guests, and it also allowed him to work a variety of positions. It also taught him the most important thing he learned in his life.

“I also learned that I don’t want to be a restauranteur,” Starr said. “So, I decided to take the other side of the family business, which my mom is now a retired interior designer, so I ended up going to architecture school.”

He thought he would design housing, but by chance, one of his first jobs was with a small firm that worked on restaurants. He realized through this work that restaurant design is what he loved.

Listen to learn about how Starr feels about good design and operational efficiency deliver guest expectations.

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