Designed for a Purpose – Module 1.3

July 28, 2014

Upon first entering the cafe & bake shop – Panera – it’s pretty clear where you need to go to order, which is nice. They have a really large menu that even I can read (woohoo!) and a bunch of tasty treats on display as you are waiting in line to order. It’s very strategic and always calls out to my inner sweet tooth. The back side of the shop is  a walkway where you order and then pick up the food shortly thereafter. It’s nice because it means there is less traffic in the seating area which can get quite crowded with all the tables, chairs, and bodies. But sometimes the walkway gets backed up, especially near the soda fountain, or when they are a bit behind on orders. I’ve noticed that it’s quite difficult to navigate that area when you pick up your tray of food, especially soup, and really hope no one bumps into you. All in all, the design makes it so people can pick up food on the go, or they can choose to sit at their leisure.

Here’s the sketch

The tables near the windows were designed to have parties of 4, but because they are the only tables with outlets, many lone workers with their laptops like to sit in these spots and spread out on the bigger tables and do their work. Plus, it’s simply nice to be next to the windows! It gives Panera a certain atmosphere – one that says it’ a cool place to do work in (with the free wifi and the calm acoustic music, it is a friendly study space). However, on the weekends when more people come out for a quick lunch in between shopping (it’s located on a street with a lot of shops), stealing a table of 4 so you can plug in your laptop is a little less awesome… especially when you’re with people like my grandpa who’s 86 and just wants to sit down (he’s the nicest man however he wouldn’t say boo to anyone)! So while this has been designed to be a quick place to grab a bite to eat, it has turned into a hip study area – which is ok if the shop isn’t busy. It would be nice if there were more outlets, especially where the smaller two-seat tables are towards the back of the cafe. Perhaps a simple solution would be to switch some of the larger tables towards the windows with some of the smaller tables towards the back, though I’m not sure how that would work with the flow of traffic.

One thing I did learn while here was that I’ve found a new study space! For when it’s quiet of course…

Entry Filed under: INF536. Posted in  INF536 .

3 Comments Add your own

  •    Miriam  |  July 29th, 2014 at 8:55 am     Reply

    Hi Shannon
    Your post has me thinking that it is not only about how the cafe was designed but also about how we design learning. It really does have o be anytime-anyplace. Educators & designers need to imagine how students will access content and connect with classmates. It may mean participating in an online chat session while sitting at your cafe.

  •  |  July 29th, 2014 at 12:41 pm     Reply

    Too true Miriam! The beauty of online learning is that it can be done anywhere at anytime. The drawback to this (if you’re anything like me) is that I’m usually fearful that I’ll miss something important to do for the class, since it doesn’t have a structured time and place to meet!

  •  |  August 3rd, 2014 at 7:34 am     Reply

    Hi Shannon,
    the difference in design here from some other coffee shops, is the fact that the coffee machine and register is not near the entrance. This wouldn’t be a problem if there was not a lot of take-away, but I imagine that there would be. Drawing customers deep into the shop can help impulse buying, which is a design feature of many retail outlets as well as coffee shops. The identification of solo customers using the tables for 4 would be problematic and one that the owners should address. I understand the frustration customers feel when one person is taking a space that you need for your group of 3 or 4.

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