Every once in a while I get in one of those moods where I really start to question the logic of how things get done. Today happens to be one of those days. It seems that the latest trend in restaurants in the suburb strip malls is that they now situate the free standing restaurants so that the main entrance seems to be at the furthest possible point from the parking lot. To me this just seems really stupid.
I do realize that the restaurants are trying to create an impression for people driving by in the hopes that people will stop in and catch a meal there, but to me it seems rather counter intuitive to situate a building facing the street and have a section of parking to the side of the building but put the actual entrance on the opposite side furthest away from the parking. And then they will often do elaborate landscaping and curvy sidewalks so getting to the entrance from the parking lot is an adventure in itself.
Take the photo of the Elephant Bar restaurant that’s pictured above, they have one that looks very similar in San Marcos, California. In this picture the entrance looks to be centered on the building but it’s actually to the right as the round curved section to the right which is an enclosed by outdoor bar area obscures how far to the left the building actually extends. The way the restaurant is set up, the parking lot is off to the left of the building outside of view in this picture. It just seems really dumb to be putting the main entrance so far from where people park.
I’m not against having to walk a little bit further, but it just strikes me as not very customer friendly a tactic to do this. If you want to attract drive by traffic then I think the approach to facing the entrance towards the street actually works against you during the peak hours of the restaurant. You may have a lot of people waiting outside the restaurant for tables, and it would seem to me that having that visible to the street would make a person feel more inclined to pass on that restaurant than stop and put their name on the wait list. With an entrance facing the parking lot, you could at least hide the overflow of waiting people long enough for drive by diners to have at least pulled into the parking lot before showing them they might be in for a bit of a wait.
It also seems like this could also be a potential liability hazard especially for diners with children. In this day and age of overly sue happy people and parents who seem to have absolutely no control over their little monsters, I mean children, it seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen. The out of control children get into a fight and somehow end up in the street where they get run over and the parents who obviously had no ability to control their children are looking for someone else to blame, so it might as well be the restaurant. So they sue because it’s the restaurant’s fault that the entrance faces the street making it far more dangerous for the children than if the entrance was facing the parking lot. I can just see this situation happening.
In any case, it just seems like a really stupid trend that just seems to be becoming the prevalent way to build these restaurants. Maybe it’ll take a stupid lawsuit like the example situation I gave above for it to be changed. Until then I’ll just have to be annoyed by this seemingly ridiculous suburban trend. For the record the restaurant that inspired this blog post was The Olive Garden in Carmel Mountain Ranch.