Developing your
restaurant and
bar concept

This website outlines the criteria and processes to be undertaken in developing an R&B concept for your hotel.
This should be used for both new concept development and for concept refurbishments/updates.

The Principles

The 5 core phases summarised in this guide are used at Hotel Indigo to ensure that you have a well-rounded concept proposal in line with our R&B philosophy of being internationally attractive and locally relevant. As part of the creative framework, you will complete a roadmap and a design brief document that provides thorough details on your restaurant and bar concept proposal. The R&B function at IHG will support you from beginning to end to ensure that your journey to an innovative and relevant concept is robust, collaborative and that it takes advantage of the plethora of knowledge that IHG has in this area.


Market Insight

This is the first part of the process where we start by analysing the market, the demographics, the building, the trends and the general outline of the project. We really have to ensure that we have an unbiased view of what the market has to offer.

At Hotel Indigo, we like to look at a good mix of casual, upmarket, fast-food, trendy, various regional cuisines (what does Italian look like, what about French, what about Japanese, etc) and we look at the level of skill and cooking style in general in the locations we are.

While we are at it, we review the clientele that we come across and the price point of the different locations in combination with the visible business levels. We look at key players in the market (chefs, mixologists, service, restaurant groups) and ensure that we have a clear picture of what the landscape looks like.

Download the Paddington market study on the right, which you can use as an example.

Download the Market Insight document to help you develop your concept which covers all the phases of development.

Download the Market Insight Template


Concept Creation

Once we have a clear understanding of the dining landscape, we are ready to decide the type of concept. We use a “Needs and Dilemma” statement to explain the framework of our concept selection, followed by a clear “Reason To Believe” (RTB) structure and global trends that underpin the concept. This initial stage will form the compelling narrative for the entire concept.

After we are done with the framework, we describe the proposition in a lot of detail, the clientele we will have, the food styling, service styling and reference projects that are similar or have similar components of what we would like to achieve. At the end of this phase we provide a financial feasibility study to ensure that the project delivers a desired ROI.

Before we move to the design and build phase, we agree on clear roles and responsibilities as well as project governance. When there are third parties involved, we will also discuss legal terms.

Download the R&B trends document to uncover the relevant trends in the Food & Beverage arena that you can use to inform and inspire your R&B offering.

It’s important to clarify our brands global R&B philosophy at this phase, download the latest PDF here.

You’ll find this example of the Coffee & Craft Beer concept a useful reference.


Design & Build

This is the part of the process where we select the interior designers, the contractors and/or the concept developers. At IHG we have a vast network of proven designers and concept developers that we can draw from to bring our brain children to live. We will assist you in putting a shortlist of potential partners together and to guide you through the pitch process.

Once the designer is selected we decide on the design brief, mood image selection, technical drawings and of course kitchen equipment selection and kitchen layout. For IHG managed hotels, The IHG Design and Engineering team will play an instrumental role in signing off the interior design concepts.

Finally, in this phase we take into consideration the budget reconciliations and building permit needs. In our ROI study we have committed to a investment number that we have to stay true to. Not as sexy, but certainly as important.


Branding & Marketing

In Phase 3 we address the physical identity for our restaurants and bars. Now that we have a design and look and feel, we need a name, an identity and a tone of voice for our concept.

Every great restaurant and bar has a strong identity. In order to achieve this everything from colour palette, logos, uniforms, marketing collateral even branded takeaway bags have to be inspired by the DNA of the concept. Most of the concept developers and designers we have recommended are specialists at this, and at helping you create a unique tone of voice for your concept. But if you need any other advice with agencies, IHG’s network is filled with award winning creative talent.

A very important component in this phase is the Marketing strategy, PR strategy and social media strategy. Before we open the doors we have to know exactly who we will target, how we will target them and when we will target them. We will assist you to write the plan and ensure that it fits in your budget.

View the Marketing Toolkit online, in this concise document, you’ll find all essential information you need.

Here’s an example of what great brand guidelines might look like, these were created for Choix patisserie and restaurants.


Operational Launch

Finally we are ready to open the doors and welcome the public. But before we do that, we need to ensure that we are fully ready for them. The Power of Execution and Making it Happen is probably the most difficult phase in the entire process.

Making sure you stay on track and that no detail is forgotten is tricky business. Our R&B Timeline will help you plan your critical path. It includes everything from recruitment to training and from menu tasting to music programming. This is a very operational process and having operated in over 100 countries and for 70 years we are experts in this field. Our global know how not only covers the operational detail, but allows us to bring different experts to the table. Michelin starred chefs from France, check. Expert Dim sum chefs from Hong Kong, check. We’ve even got master mixologists from Las Vegas and ceviche officiandos from Peru.

We will assist you to ensure this phase gets executed to perfection and that the local team is energised and confident to open the doors.

Download this spreadsheet to help you map out everything you need to do when launching your R&B concept.



Developing a successful restaurant concept is a journey. Occasionally, successful restauranteurs get lucky, but most professionals succeed because they have a clear vision and have been able to execute their ideas through a thorough and well planned process.

The vast concept development experience and expertise in the IHG Restaurants and Bars development team is a resource for you to tap into. We know what it is like to operate a business and we understand the meaning of Win-Win. Hardly ever is there only one solution, we will work with you to find a concept that we are all comfortable with. It will fit the location, the brand, the desires and needs of the hotel owner and it will make financial sense.

We look forward to working with you on your new restaurant and bar!

René van Camp

Head of Restaurants & Bars, Europe
+44 (0)7841 323321

Wayne Horo

Director of Concept Development, Europe
+44 (0)7792 189124

Jordan Kiziuk

Director Restaurants and Bars, Lifestyle Hotels, Europe
+44 (0)7970 405 330