• icon1 25 Professionally Trained Staff Members 
  • icon2 48 State                                 Licenses
  • icon3 40 Years of Experience

National Restaurant Designers (NRD), is one of the nation’s largest-restaurant specific Architectural and Engineering firms. The dedicated staff has perfected specialization in the restaurant design world, acknowledging that the design and engineering of a restaurant takes a more advanced skill set and working knowledge of how kitchens operate to produce quality and cost savings to the client. We are capable of full concept development and concept branding which is then translated to technical detailed construction documents which bring the vision of the client to life. NRD has worked with national recognizable brands as well as local premier concepts.

N. Ray Thornton, PE, LEED AP CEO / President
Glen “Oscar” Lehmann, AIA NCARB Principal
Paige H Wood, Associate Director of Client Relations and Marketing

Licensed Personnel

  • N. Ray Thornton, PE, LEED APCEO / President
  • Glen "Oscar" Lehmann, AIA NCARBPrincipal
  • Joseph Morgan, PEChief Mechanical Engineer
  • Ross Stocks, PE, LEED APChief Electrical Engineer
  • Shawn Slyter, PEDirector of Engineering
  • David Mayer, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green AssociationArchitect Director
  • Tammy Davis, NCARB, AIA, LEED APArchitect Director

NRD is professionally registered in the following states:

Our Services

Design Services

Equipment, seating, and décor design

We are experts in the design of seating layout and kitchen equipment which will utilize your space best and provide your staff and customers with the best experience possible. All our seating and kitchen plans are designed to meet all code requirements, including handicap accessibility. Services also include evaluation of existing kitchen designs to improve productivity.

Value Engineering for cost savings

Value Engineering in building design is always at the forefront of our designer’s minds when putting together your space. We combine our design experience with years of construction experience to determine the most practice way to construct your building while considering your budget.

As-built investigations and adaptive reuse design

Service consists of documentation and evaluation of your tenant space for upfit or remodel, including all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural systems, as required for the successful design of your new project.

Interior design

Selections of interior colors, finishes, materials, seating, and artwork- to name a few elements- which brings the space to life giving character and a personal touch to your space. Our in-house licensed professionals will assist in selecting the interior design elements which will compliment the building features and create the overall atmosphere of the space. Each wall color, seating style and lighting fixture is carefully selected to match your vision for your new building.

Engineering design in Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical

PME Value Engineering for cost savings

Budget is always a high priority when we design your space and we will do what is practically possible to design your space most economically while still maintaining quality finishes and meeting all code requirements. We can also review previous project drawings to offer savings during the construction process on your next project. We design to maximize efficiency for new and existing HVAC systems specific to your geographical location. Electrical Energy Savings options are made available for initial construction and life time operations.

LEED Certified design capabilities

Multiple LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Designers are on staff, in all disciplines. We are capable of creating a building which can utilize select energy saving design elements as part of full LEED Compliance and Certification projects.

Project Management

Predevelopment Project Research

Preliminary site investigation reports and feasibility studies to determine if a specific site is favorable in regards to local city and zoning regulations for your specific concept and design parameters. This service will outline a timeline of what to expect while obtaining civil and building permits.

Permitting expertise including Health Department

Extensive experience working with local City Departments to obtain all approvals necessary to begin your project. With our vast experience across the country over the many years in the industry, we have come across almost all scenarios possible and have personal connections with city officials from our home town of Raleigh/Durham to California.

Company Branding

Exterior and Interior branding design

A created unique design will identify your brand to your customers, across the city or across the country. We will translate your conceptual ideas to an interior and exterior design package which express and convey your mission to your customers with visual elements.

Décor design

Interior design capabilities are another one of our strengths with registered NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) staff and our large in house materials library. Designs provided range in color, furniture, products and materials as developed in conjunction with our large working relationship with vendors across fields to provide you with the best options.

Full computer 3D renderings, exterior and interior

State of the art software technology can be utilized to allow you to tour your space visually prior to any construction to best visualize and ensure that our design is what your anticipate for your new space. A created video file can walk you from the exterior views of your building, through the front door, and into all corners of your space.

Color and material boards

Presentation story boards, physical samples of all proposed materials in a space with identifying color and textures selected can be generated as needed for client review and as required for some municipalities.

default image

Ray Thornton and his band of NRD geniuses are simply the people you go when you want something done right. Building and designing a restaurant is a challenge, and somewhat of a headache, even to the most seasoned operator. NRD knows what it takes to make the process as smooth as possible. It’s hard to describe the increased level of confidence you get when working with them versus one of their competitors. You just know it’s going to be right, and if not, it’s going to be awfully close to start with . Then, they will tweak it, and it will be better than expected in the first place. Look, I’m not big on endorsements generally. But, having been in the business for 30 years, and having counseled numerous restaurants, restaurant chains and restaurant operators, large and small, I can unequivocally state that LMHT’s experience and integrity stand high above the other choices. It’s the only way to go. Period!

Marc Penso President Prime Restaurant Group, Inc. March 22, 2016

Our Projects


  • NRD calls new office home

    11 January, 2016

    After 18 years at our old location, NRD has moved to a new custom office space. Our new custom space, designed in house, is at 3005 Carrington Mill Blvd. Morrisville, NC. We look forward to hosting all of our clients and sharing our new home, at its convenient location situated off of I-40 and close to RDU airport.

    NRD Grand Openings

    13 January, 2016

    NRD is proud to announce the upcoming Grand Openings of three Krispy Kreme retail locations in Greensboro, NC; Chesapeake, VA; and Rome, GA.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.