When you own and operate a restaurant, you might think that you are simply providing people with a meal and that the quality of the food is the most important aspect of your business. But consumers can create their own delicious meals at home for a lot less money. While it is certainly important to make sure that the quality and appeal of your menu is a priority, the truth is that what you are offering is more than merely a meal; you’re providing a dining experience. And people are willing to pay more to dine out because of the experience they get to enjoy. Part of that revolves around your food and part of it has to do with the service your customers receive. But the ambience is also extremely important, especially if you want to endear diners to your brand and ensure repeat visits and word-of-mouth referrals. For this reason, layout and design are crucial to the success of your restaurant.
When you begin to think about the design of your restaurant, there are several things you’ll have to consider. The exterior, for example, provides the first impression of your business, so you need to consider the facade, including landscaping, signage, and the entryway. But the real challenge begins once customers come inside, and there are three or four areas to consider: the waiting area, the seating area, the kitchen, and possibly the bar (if your restaurant has one). And within each section you’ll have to account for both form and function.
In terms of functionality, size is obviously of the essence. You probably don’t want to waste a ton of space on your waiting area, and yet, you also don’t want customers to line up outside the door, standing in the cold or heat for extended periods of time while they wait to be seated. If you anticipate a problem, you might want to make your indoor waiting area small, to maximize indoor seating, and think about including covered seating areas out front, complete with heat lamps or misters, depending on the season. This way you can provide comfort while people wait. These kinds of logistics could make a big difference in the popularity of your restaurant.
As for seating areas, you mainly want to make sure that the layout is designed for movement, since waiters will weave between tables to deliver meals and you don’t want them bumping seated guests or spilling food along the way. The trick is to arrange for maximum seating while still leaving room for movement. And of course, you need to consider design elements like colors, materials, lighting, and even acoustics in order to create the ambience that helps guests to relax, unwind, and enjoy a superb feast.
The kitchen is the last area of layout and design to address, and you’ll need to consider essentials like adequate cooking surfaces and products from HoodFilters.com, ample food prep and staging areas, sinks, and the placement of your walk-ins and other food storage areas. You’ll also need proper lighting and likely a list of building codes, as well as rules and regulations associated with food health and safety considerations. It’s no easy feat opening a restaurant and turning it into a success, which is why many restaurateurs hire specialized consultants to guide them through the process. But when you factor in not only food and service, but also layout and design, you should be able to create a fantastic dining experience that has customers coming back for more.