Restaurant Design, Layout and Theme Templates
When it comes to starting a restaurant, design, layout, and theme can be crucial to success. You want a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere for your diners but you also have to think practically. Let’s examine restaurant design, layout, and theme in more detail.
While the size and shape of your dining room will determine what your ultimate layout should be there are other factors that come into play as well. These can include local fire regulations, the number of restrooms that you have available for guests as well as available parking.
Plan on allocating at least half of your total restaurant space to the dining area. While there are no rules as such and only guidelines, most restaurants use about 60% of their total space for dining and 25% for the kitchen. The remainder of your restaurant space will most likely be taken up by bathrooms, an entrance way or waiting area and storage areas.
Spend some time studying the floor plan of your dining area. It is ideal if you can come up with a layout for your furniture that makes the best use of the workable space that you have available. You should be maximizing your seating capacity while still allowing for your servers and customers to have enough aisle space to move around easily. Diners will also value their privacy so you cannot place tables too close together.
It is helpful if you have some idea of the group sizes that you can expect. Visit some other restaurants in your area, preferably of a similar size and concept and you should get an idea or the proportion of couples to larger groups.
Booths are a great idea and can create a semi-private space in your restaurant for a small group. However, tables of rectangular shape offer greater flexibility as you can push them together or pull them apart to suit groups of various sizes. A combination of both booths and tables is ideal.
Try to go for an open plan design that minimizes internal walls. Dividing a room up can offer benefits in privacy for your diners but also makes your dining floor feel less spacious. It is also ideal if key restaurant staff can quickly survey the entire dining room floor to check for available tables or problems that are arising.
Having said that though it doesn’t hurt to have a semi-private space where you can put a group or a family with children to give them privacy and to keep them from bothering the other diners. Many diners these days also prefer to sit at a table that is ‘anchored’ to a wall or partition rather than floating out in the middle of a room. Make use of natural barriers such as plants to make diners feel like they have their own space. Private dining rooms in fine dining establishments are also becoming more popular for groups that want complete privacy.
Make sure that the public restrooms are discreet while still being easy for customers to find. It can save everyone’s time if customers don’t have to ask for directions to make sure that they are clearly identified with signage.
Furnishings and Other Restaurant Design Considerations
Furniture and fixtures should be not only aesthetically pleasing but also durable and strong. You should also consider how easily your staff can move the furniture to clean around and underneath it. There are a variety of beautiful materials and textures for tables, chairs and benches that are durable and look great for many years. Make sure that chairs are of the right height for the average diner and that they are comfortable.
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of design and can make or break a restaurant. Too harsh and customers won’t return, too dim and you may have the same reaction. If you want to create a warm and romantic atmosphere, intimacy is more important than dimness. During the day you should try to take full advantage of any natural light that your dining room gets. While customers may not realize it, lighting is one important factor in creating an overall dining experience that is positive and leaves them wanting to return.
Depending on your location you will find that there are times during the year when you will require heating or cooling to keep your diners comfortable. Make sure that heaters or air conditioning units are set well away from your tables. There is nothing worse than being seated next to an air conditioning unit and having freezing cold air blasted at you for the duration of your meal.
Not all restaurants have to have a theme. Some restaurants keep it simple and focus on the quality of their menu. Others try to enhance the customer experience by decorating the interior and exterior of their restaurant to suit the cuisine that they serve. Amazing theme decorations are never a substitute for poor food or service though as these are the primary things that customers are looking for when they come through your doors.
Your basic concept is what you will build upon. Do you want an atmosphere more akin to a family dining room or do you want a more upscale ambiance? The age of your target audience is also an important consideration. While a family restaurant will have to be durable and sturdy, a hangout for a young adult crowd has different demands as does a buffet-style layout. Theme opportunities are almost endless in scope but are usually most appropriate for ethnic restaurants serving cuisine from a specific country or region.
How much you spend on theme related decorations will depend on your budget. Your first priority should be to buy quality tables, chairs and lighting before you look at spending up large on lavish decorations that are not absolutely necessary.
Be sure that your concept and theme have longevity. If you buy into a current fad or short term trend that dies out then you may find yourself redesigning your restaurant, sometimes within your first year of business. Whichever kind of theme design you choose, be sure that it is classic and enduring unless, of course, you enjoy frequent redecorating and interrupted traffic.
If your restaurant has market appeal and becomes an appealing choice for those who have the opportunity to go out for dinner, it will be hard not to succeed. A restaurant that looks attractive on the outside, is comfortable and welcoming on the inside and that has a waiting staff that enjoys serving up great food will always have a steady clientele.