Serving Up New Ideas Business Helps Restaurants Keep Pace with Times

Article excerpt

Byline: Jean Murphy Daily Herald Correspondent

Business profile

Name: Keith Youngquist

Business: Aumiller, Youngquist, P.C., in Mount Prospect

Education: University of Illinois

Residence: Mount Prospect

Hobby: Running his Toyota World Sports Racer in grand prix races

Philosophy: "We try to capture each project's uniqueness and avoid trendiness and copying."

The restaurant business is a tricky one.

One out of every two restaurants opened in the United States closes within its first six months, according to national statistics. So restaurateurs wanting to succeed must stay on the cutting edge.

Keith Youngquist should know. He's in the business of helping restaurants stay on that edge.

"We have a more discerning public than in the past. The food, decor and design of a restaurant must all be special if it is to succeed long-term. It is hard to do any restaurant project these days without some theme or storyline," said Youngquist, founding principal of Aumiller, Youngquist, P.C.

The internationally known architectural firm located in Mount Prospect specializes in creating themed restaurants.

"Even those restaurants which survive past the six-month mark need to remodel about once every five years if they want to keep patrons coming back," he explains.

Since Youngquist and partner Bill Aumiller founded the firm in 1980, it has become a leading architectural and interior design firm in the restaurant industry.

Today Aumiller, Youngquist has 26 architects and interior designers, and does business all over the world from Europe to Japan to Malaysia.

The firm's work has been showcased in some 20 books, including textbooks used in architectural schools. In 1989, the firm was inducted into Hospitality Design magazine's Platinum Circle, which is limited to just a handful of restaurant designers worldwide.

Chicago-area diners know the firm's work through Rich Melman's Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, including Bub City, Ed Debevic's, Shaw's Crab House and Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. …