I'm a restaurant designer. It's what I do. But my job involves so much more creative planning besides making it work visually. There's a lot of other strategy and planning done prior to make sure all floor plan adjacencies are cohesive for proper flow. I have to follow health code per city. There's usually some landlord requirements to follow. Then, there's marketing.. the restaurant - first off - needs to be in the right market, that's your first step in the door (no pun intended?) to marketing your restaurant properly; then you need to make sure it's marketing itself while it's standing as a living breathing engine. Everything you put into a restaurant is marketing - the quality of the materials you use tell your guests what kind of brand you are. Did they have their shit together while specifying the chair I'm sitting on, enough to know that this fabric won't rip or the wood won't split and rip my clothing? Why are there stains on the tables? Wasn't the developer of this restaurant smart enough to buy tables durable for a restaurant setting? Maybe they're just not smart overall, therefore my food may not have been properly cooked either...
That's my perspective on how food establishments function - you either do it right, or well, you did it wrong.
Now, more background on why this bit is titled 'the dark side'. Currently, I'm designing Tender Greens restaurants. They are fine-casual, heavy on lunch but busy with dinner as well. I'm being asked to design as if it were a dinner restaurant with lunch sprinkled in, opposite of what it currently markets itself as, just by the menu itself. Therefore, I've piled up some images that will kick start my dark side, and get me going on designing a dinner based restaurant that could work for the day time too!
BeanBar Cafè // Qingdao, China