Interviews Restaurant Design

Design Tips with Contract Manager and Lead Designer, Peggy Marvel


Peggy Marvel, Contract Manager and Lead Designer for the Hawaii Division, has 28 years of combined restaurant and architectural design experience under her belt. We sat down with her to get the scoop on all the best tips and advice for creating a functional and beautiful foodservice space. Read below to learn more!   


Designer, Peggy Marvel 

Describe your design background. What has your journey been like up to this point?

My design career is primarily foodservice equipment and design based. I have been with Bargreen Ellingson for 18 years, designing numerous kitchens, bars, and restaurants; new or remodeled. I also have an additional 10 years of experience in architectural interior design.

What interests you in restaurant design?

I love meeting new clients and listening to their story, as well as helping them achieve their dreams and goals. Every space is different so it is both fun and challenging to be part of the process.

What motivates or inspires you during each project?

The restaurant design world is always influenced by current trends in fashion, home decor, and the most current color trend forecast, so it is fun to pull those elements of style, color and finishes into the design of the restaurant space. A well-designed restaurant won’t distract from the food but it will create a memorable experience.

What has been your favorite design project in Hawaii?

I have been fortunate to be a part of quite a few wonderful establishments. The Moana Surfrider, the new upcoming Moena Cafe, Lava Lava Beach Club and Huggo’ s on the Rock’s. 


Peggy Marvel and Niki Doyle at the Moena Cafe job site. 

What are some design mistakes that should be avoided by those looking to remodel or open a new establishment?

Being too trendy can be a mistake. Things can still be fun and whimsical but designed in a timeless way. Kitchens need to have the proper flow, function, and equipment to help support the menu. This also includes fire-exiting and health codes. Also, owners having an unrealistic budget can be a common mistake. That is why we as foodservice and design specialists can assist to avoid any unnecessary design flaws.

How often should a restaurant or bar be updated?

Typically it is 7 to 10 years.

Describe the process of developing a new design concept. Does this process change depending on the type of establishment?

We as a team start with a few simple questions: What kind of establishment do you want to open? Do you have a menu? Do you have your location? Budget and time line is also important to find out. Then it goes through the schematic design and design development process, laying out the flow of the restaurant, seating, kitchen, and bar, as well as the layout of the appropriate equipment, and following necessary codes. Once the floor plan is established, then we figure out the cost of equipment and any furniture and put final touches on any the front of the house design. We will then complete our mechanical plans for the General Contractor and his subs to build the establishment.


Loulay – designed by Peggy Marvel

4 Tips for Great Design 

  1. The layout is very important! This includes the space plan of the main dining and bar area, and also the function and flow of the kitchen area.
  2. Lighting is also another important element to help create the mood of the restaurant.
  3. Comfortable and appropriate furniture for the restaurant, whether it be for fine dining or a bistro cafe, helps complete the design experience.  
  4. Pathways and sight lines are also something that I take into consideration when I do my space planning. You don’t want servers passing through the path to the restroom and it is also a good idea to conceal the service stations.

How can the Hawaii show help those looking to open a new restaurant/remodel their current space?
We have a professional, knowledgeable and experienced design team to assist in answering any questions at the show.

Located in Hawaii and looking to design a new restaurant or remodel a current space? Contact Peggy Marvel


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