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Case study

Top U.S. Family Dining Restaurant Chain Determines the Potential for Success of a New Restaurant Design


A leading Family Dining Restaurant chain decided to move forward with a completely new building design after making no significant changes in the current design for more than 20 years. As part of this effort, the client built several working prototypes to serve as test locations and wished to conduct research to test the appeal of several interior design concepts. Specifically, they wanted to garner reactions to various design options, identify individual elements with the strongest appeal and best fit, measure key performance metrics for both the original and the new locations, and provide research-based evidence to help persuade/convince their franchisees to make the investment in the new restaurant design.


In order to test the new designs, Phoenix MI utilized a dynamic, two-phased, qualitative and quantitative study:

  1. Focus groups, comprised of customers and non-customers, were recruited to eat lunch/dinner at a nearby location with the original restaurant design, prior to participating in a focus group held at a professional focus group facility.
  2. An online survey (capturing brand impression, brand preference, visit frequency, attribute performance and future visit intent) was then implemented, targeting a mix of customers who had recently dined at location with the original design and customers who had recently dined at one of the new prototype locations.

The qualitative phase enabled our client to select the most appealing interior design elements and those that fit best with the chosen prototype restaurant design. Results from the quantitative phase showed that the new prototype locations provided a significant lift to key performance metrics.

Coupled with actual revenue data, this not only helped support the case for franchisees to invest in the new design, it also provided an estimated timeframe within which they would start to see a positive return on their investment.

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