Designing for Dayparts: How Shea creates spaces that work and adapt all day long

The former definition of “fine dining,” which brings about connotations of dressing up and eating atop white tablecloths, is on the rapid decline. Flexibility and casual eating are on the rise, with consumers looking for the best-quality food on their own terms and time. And with margins slim in the restaurant industry, it only makes sense for eateries to get as much use as possible out of their spaces.

Enter: the all-day restaurant. A trend sweeping the country, these restaurants cater to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between, never closing or slowing down, always giving customers exactly what they’re looking for that time of day. But these aren’t your parents’ 24-hour diners or truck stops—each daypart gives guests a different vibe, a different menu, and a completely different experience, thanks to Shea’s careful planning of space and design. Whether it’s creating a bar that adapts to coffee for early mornings and reveals an extensive happy-hour display in the evening, or building a bakery that operates through midday and blends into dinner service, the Shea team knows how to keep people coming in. Read on to see how we were ahead of the curve, and why it’s crucial to build spaces that cater to multiple dayparts as well as what diners themselves crave all day long.

Benedict’s

The tagline at Benedict’s is “Morning Heroes,” and Chef Mike Rakun and his staff take on that mantle with aplomb, feeding crowds into the afternoon. The always-busy midcentury-inspired modern diner serves up breakfast and lunch daily, with guests dropping in for pancakes until closing and ordering turkey-avocado sandwiches early in the day.

The variety of dishes, all available throughout the morning and into mid-afternoon, is further proof that diners love the option of dishes that aren’t defined by dayparts. They may be eating their first meal at noon, making huevos rancheros the perfect choice, or could be ready for a BLT by 10:00 AM. These breakfast-and-lunch spots are a perfect example of places that could easily blend into all-day dining joints—the full, expansive bar and cocktail program at Benedict’s makes it particularly well-suited to all-daypart dining.

The fun, preppy, colorful design at Benedict’s is perfect for bringing an extra dose of cheer and festivity to breakfast and lunch, proving there’s no reason for them to be less celebrated than the dinner hours—right down to the brightly colored booths and servers’ pineapple-printed polo shirts. After all, for some, a daily main meal eating out may be at 11:00 AM or 2:00 PM, rather than during traditional nighttime hours. With brunch culture constantly on the rise, diners appreciate the flexibility of being able to order exactly what’s craveable at that moment, and breakfast/lunch spots like Benedict’s give them the chance to make any time of day a special one.

Fire + Grain

The newest, most modern restaurant at Hershey Lodge, Fire + Grain uses clever zoning and space design to bring everything from buffet breakfast to after-dinner drinks to the families, business travelers, and millennial groups coming to stay at the hotel. As Hershey’s preferred food and beverage partner, Shea worked with the team to create a restaurant that would be destination-worthy for visitors and locals alike.

Breakfast is a crucial daypart for restaurants in hotels, because it’s a great time to reach hungry guests. Fire + Grain wanted to best serve diners during this period by offering both buffet and a la carte dishes, so we created a plan that would repurpose the bar and communal-dining areas to serve as the perfect spot to lay out buffet dishes, while those who prefer a full-service experience can order from the main dining room.

The restaurant is back in swing by 3 p.m. to serve snackers in the bar, with a menu of fun bites and cocktails made for midday noshing and sipping. The mirrored doors behind the bar slide open to reveal Fire + Grain’s vast display of bottles, illuminated by the backbar lights and transforming the restaurant into an evening haven. The buffet dishes have long been cleared from the bar and communal tables, making them ideal spots for gathering. A convivial, lively vibe emanates from the bar area and passes through to the main dining room, open extended hours for early birds eating with kids and late-night noshers grabbing dinner after a convention ends. And for the real night owls, the vibrant bar area stays open late, the fireplace crackling and pendant lights glowing, for bites, sips, and laughs.

Bellecour

Bellecour was designed with the idea of being invited into Chef Gavin Kaysen’s own French country home—where guests are welcome regardless of the time of day. This meant creating a concept and space that would serve as a gathering place not just at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but at all the hours in between.

The first step to accomplish this sense of daylong hospitality was to create a bakery space that would be an all-day spot for patrons to pop in. The flexibility of the bakery means that it can slide from an early-morning coffee spot right into lunchtime sandwiches, still satisfying cravings in between. And the bakery stays open into evening service, blurring the lines between dayparts when the bar and dining room open later in the afternoon.

Opening the bar earlier in the evening not only gives a great spot for happy hour, it helps bridge the gap between dayparts and ease the transition into dinner service. The bar and lounge area is ideal for meeting up with friends or sipping a cocktail alone, whether guests intend to settle in to dine there or are waiting for the main dining room to open for dinner. It also gives late-night eaters a lively spot to go after most restaurants in town have closed, or to indulge in an after-dinner drink or dessert.

Patrick’s Bakery

Shea was ahead of our time in 2014, when we created a bakery that would serve all day and transition easily between dayparts. While designing a new location for the Patrick’s Bakery concept, we worked with the team to evolve the “just-a-bakery” into a full-service French bistro and wine bar that would be a destination for all meals as well as in-between times.

A visit to Patrick’s has a choose-your-own-adventure vibe, which is exactly what our team intended—it’s as conducive to remote workers looking for somewhere to settle in with their laptops as it is to romantic French dinners out. One side features the marble-topped bar and café seating, where the full menu can be ordered at the counter. On the other, dark booths beckon those looking for a full-service experience. And all day long, sweet and savory pastries tempt from the oversize counter, serving as the heart of the space.

The bar is key to the all-daypart appeal at Patrick’s. Writeable mirrored doors announce specials and welcome guests during the daytime, but when cocktail hour rolls around, the staff slides the heavy wood doors aside to reveal stunning rows of wine bottles, an artful display in itself. It truly transforms the vibe of the space from casual café to nighttime bistro, taking the wood-and-marble counter from a lunch spot to a true bar and serving a completely new market.