Over forty casual dining pubs and restaurants from across the UK are competing for prestigious design awards at this month’s Casual Dining trade event, taking place at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, on 25-26 February.

Now in its second year, the Casual Dining Design Awards includes three categories – Best Designed Independent Restaurant, Best Designed Multiple Restaurant, and Best Designed Casual Dining Pub. This year’s shortlist, announced in full today, includes high street names like ASK Italian, Nando’s, wagamama, and Pizza Hut Restaurants, plus a range of entries from scalable independents ready for rapid expansion to historic pubs that have been given a new lease of life.

“Consumers are becoming more discerning where design and branding is concerned," says David Worthington, chairman of Holmes & Marchant Design Group, who is back to head up the Casual Dining Design Awards judging panel for a second year. "There’s more to consider than just the senses of taste and smell – ambience and visual stimulation beyond the plate are more important than ever. This year’s shortlist boasts an extraordinary array of talent and innovative projects and the casual dining sector has proven yet again, that design should be at the forefront of business decisions. I look forward to some lively debate with my fellow judges at this year’s awards.”

The Casual Dining Design Awards 2015 finalists are:

Best Designed Independent Restaurant:
• Alston Bar & Beef, Glasgow Central Station (designed by Jestico + Whiles)
• Blue’s Bracknell (designed by Hollington)
• Dishoom, King’s Cross, London (designed by Macaulay Sinclair)
• Dub Jam, Covent Garden, London (designed by Mystery Ltd)
• Kua ‘Aina, Goodge Street, Fitzrovia, London (designed by DesignLSM)
• Moo Cantina Argentina, with sites in Pimlico and Brick Lane, London (designed by Mystery)
• Pavilion, High Street Kensington, London (designed by DesignLSM)
• The Perfectionists’ Café, Heathrow Terminal 2 (designed by AfroditiKrassa)
• Prime Steak & Grill, St Albans (designed by DesignLSM)
• SIM – Salvation in Noodles, Dalston, London (designed by KAI Design)
• Smack Lobster Roll Deli, London (designed by DesignLSM)
• Smithfield, Watling Street, London (designed by Mystery Ltd)
• Speilburger Hampstead, London (designed by Fusion Design and Architecture)
• Spiaggia, Fulham, London (designed by Mystery Ltd)
• WA Café, Ealing, London (designed by SAY Architects)
• Wondertree, Terminal 2 Airside, Heathrow Airport (designed by Fusion Design and Architecture)

Best Designed Multiple Restaurant:
• ASK Italian, Scarborough (designed by Gundry & Ducker)
• Brasserie Blanc, Cheltenham (designed by Black Sheep)
• The Breakfast Club London Bridge, London (designed by Finch Interiors)
• Burger & Lobster, Little Portland Street, London (designed by DesignLSM)
• Butlin’s Firehouse, Skegness (designed by Mystery Ltd)
• Cabana, Leeds (designed by Michaelis Boyd)
• Carluccio’s, Harrogate (designed by DesignLSM)
• The Fable, London (designed by Fusion Design and Architecture)
• GBK, Glasgow (designed by moreno:masey)
• Hare & Tortoise, Chiswick (designed by SAY Architects)
• Nando’s, Salisbury (designed by Fusion Design and Architecture)
• Pho, St Paul’s at One New Change, London (designed by CantorMasters)
• Pizza Hut Restaurants, UK-wide (designed by Harrison)
• Red’s True Barbecue, Manchester (designed by Blacksheep)
• River Cottage Canteen, Winchester (designed by Mackenzie Wheeler)
• Tortilla Lakeside, intu Lakeside, Essex (designed by Fusion Design and Architecture)
• Turtle Bay (Caribbean restaurant and bar), Crawley (designed by Fusion Design and Architecture)
• Wagamama Uxbridge (designed by Blacksheep)

Best Designed Casual Dining Pub:
• Adventure Bar, Clapham Junction, London (designed by Mystery Ltd)
• The Castle, Tooting, South West London (designed by Fusion by Design)
• The Dispensary, Aldgate, City of London (designed by Jackie McWeeney Interior Design)
• The Kings Head, Bessels Green, Kent (designed by Design I.D.)
• Old Bridge Inn and Coffee House, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire (designed in-house by Bulldog Hotel Group)

Reflecting the importance of design to successful casual dining operators – from conveying brand identity to creating ambiance and attracting/retaining custom – the awards will enjoy a prominent showcase at Casual Dining 2015. 

Returning judges include Afroditi Krassa, founder of AfroditiKrassa, and Theo Williams, creative director of Designed & Sourced. Tina Norden, project director at Conran and Partners, who is currently working on two new Park Hyatt projects in Asia Pacific, is a new addition to the line-up for 2015. 

“Design plays a key role in any restaurant environment today – whether you pay £10 or £100 a head. The casual dining scene, in particular, is incredibly creative and over the last years has led the restaurant design world with its energy and new ideas,” says Tina Norden.

The winners of the Casual Dining Design Awards 2015 will be announced during a dedicated design panel session featuring Worthington, Krassa, Williams, and Norden. They’ll be discussing emerging design trends in the casual dining sector in the show’s Keynote Theatre on Wednesday 25 February from 1.45pm.