Box’d was designed with one goal – to revolutionize takeout in order to give guests more time to take on the world.
With those marching orders from Paramount Fine Foods CEO Mohamad Fakih, Jump set out to reimagine the takeout experience to include contactless order and pickup – well before COVID-19 changed the way that consumers think and feel about dining out. Acknowledging Fakih’s reservations about reducing human interaction in this concept, we knew that the concept needed to work even harder to ramp up the warmth and friendliness in order to maintain a human-ness in the space.
In the Box’d takeout model, customers can order through an in-store kiosk or on their mobile devices, then retrieve their food from a digital cubby – one of many that separate the front of house from the prep kitchen. Each order is assigned to one chef who prepares, seals, and sanitizes both the box and the cubby to ensure a safe and contactless pickup by the customer on the other side. The customer receives a scan code on their device that corresponds to the scan code on the cubby, or their name will appear on an in-store screen telling them when their order is ready, and which cubby to find it in.
Inspired by similar concepts in Europe and leveraging fan favourites from Fakih’s successful Paramount restaurant menu, the concept revolves around the idea that tasting a culture helps a person understand it, and the power of food to unite the world, something that is also becoming more important than ever.
You can feel the energy and movement even before you walk in, despite the absence of a counter and front of house serving staff. Transparency is key to the minimalist design, to emphasize the relationship between customer and kitchen in a design that plants a physical barrier between them. Tall glass window fronts offer a look in, helping to demystify the unique order system for those unfamiliar with it. Glass abounds, both on the exterior and inside, bringing a clean, contemporary finish to the space. Soft wood finishes, friendly messaging, and warm lighting humanize the environment and spell off the high-tech nature of the concept.
Jump was involved in all aspects of development – from initial naming to final execution and promotion of the restaurant through digital assets. Scripting and developing an animated video that explains the concept once again breaks down barriers and helps put potential customers at ease. The video runs both in the space and on the website, and was revised prior to launch to include greater emphasis on food safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are seeing a lot of people struggle right now; there’s a lot of unrest being exposed. At the same time, people are opening their hearts and trying to help one another. I want to provide hope and optimism to my guests and other small business owners.”
-Mohamad Fakih, CEO, Paramount Fine Foods & Box’d
The logo itself is a simple stacked iteration of the four letters of the concept name, contained (appropriately) within the confines of a thick solid-lined box. Together, these elements speak to the nature of the concept, but in execution also appear to mimic a Middle Eastern tile pattern that one might expect to find in buildings in the region. These subtle cues help to suggest the food’s origins without defining a particular nationality, something that comes through both visually and in the menu.
The colour and vibrancy of the food takes centre stage on the digital signage, while playful animations of fresh and natural ingredients spell off warm and friendly messaging on the wall of glass-front cubbies. The messaging and animations speak TO you rather than AT you, again bridging the divide between patron and host that is created by the high-tech cubby wall. This wall of animation is a drawing card, visible from well beyond the interior of the space.
Artwork in the limited seating area includes Arabic script in a tone-on-tone vertical application, emphasizing the core message around understanding a culture through food. This script is also employed creatively on the new Box’d website, where it serves as a visual divide between elements on the scrolling homepage.
Food photography by Jumpstart elevates the offering and again bolsters appetite appeal through the tasteful and artistic arrangement of the food and ingredients. The juxtaposition of rich, colourful dishes and accessories on minimal and clean backgrounds and dishes is in keeping with the overall design theme. The food photography intentionally brings warmth and authenticity to the food offering, creating a visceral connection between customer and chef.
The website leverages the in-store graphics and digital assets developed for the restaurant signage, deepening the brand and connecting the online space with the physical one. The website is simple, but features the full menu, locations, and a media area.
The first Box’d restaurant opens at the corner of King and Yonge in Toronto in the summer of 2020.