Tous Les Jours: Designing “Freshness” for the American Consumer Market
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How can we implement spatial concepts in the café’s design to suit the local market and consumer preferences?
In our efforts for the rebranding of Tous Les Jours (TLJ) for the US market, we researched key differences between TLJ’s South Korean and American consumer demographics.
link to design page
Insight: Perceptions of Freshness
Through analysis of relevant case studies, we deduced a key difference between Korean and American food consumption patterns rests in consumers’ respective perceptions of “freshness.” The South Korean consumer is interested in the final product; freshness is conveyed through clean packaging and tasteful displays. On the other hand, American consumers prefer to know what they are eating; freshness is understood through the production process.
As a part of our study, we experimented with designs in a vacuum, using a tentative site plan area of ~2,500 sf (233sm). With this defined boundary, we implemented a modular study of the coffee bar, baked good displays, and kitchen configurations that respond to the local market’s preference for freshness through production.
Strategy: Open Kitchen
To facilitate a highly visible production line, we tested different arrangements for an open kitchen. Unlike conventional restaurants, where the risk of excessive noise, pungent smells, or fumes may discourage an open kitchen layout, bakeries benefit from both the visual and olfactory experience of freshly baked goods.
Strategy: Fresh Rack
Building on the sensory benefits of the open kitchen layout, we implemented “The Fresh Rack” as a major spatial concept located at the end of the production line. This spatial configuration allows customers to watch as their baked goods are prepared and placed directly on The Fresh Rack - increasing the perception of “freshness,” improving efficiency, and simplifying operational processes.
Insights and Strategies
Strategy: Visibility of Kitchen Equipment
However, there are limits to the level of visibility that afford guests an optimal experience; we categorized kitchen equipment by utilization and level of desired visibility from the main area. By iterating through different hierarchies of visibility and access, we studied various spatial configurations that maximize the connection between the consumer and the baked goods.
The renovations brought the process of bread making to the forefront of the consumer experience so people could witness and viscerally feel the “freshness” of the baked goods. After experiencing success with SCAAA’s designs even through the pandemic years, Tous Les Jours’ parent company reached out to retain SCAAA to re-design more branches across the United States and oversee the rollout of future cafés.