In the real estate business, we depend on curb-appeal to cause potential buyers to slow down when they see our sign in a front yard, maybe stopping long enough to write down the realtor's phone number or website address. Or, with an open house to come inside.
Quick Service Restaurants need a different kind of curb-appeal. Customers have to make split second decisions on which parking lot to turn into. This is why QSRs were so garish in the 1950s and it's still important today. The entire building should say, "Welcome, Come in, it's fun in here".
The McDonald's pictured below has all the curb appeal of a mausoleum.
We shouldn't expect to attract kids and families to a Playplace in a Darth Vader building.
Maybe this is a trend in Chicagoland but it's a mistake in America.