Great food and outstanding customer service are the most frequently cited keys to restaurant success. While quality food and service are two foundations of a successful restaurant, good restaurant design is vital to customer gratification and long term success. Good interior design creates a beautiful and functional dining space that enhances customer’s enjoyment of meals and entices guests to return.
Creating an excellent dining experience for customers requires a balance of design, technical considerations and function. While planning the restaurant interior, consider the architecture and infrastructure of the building. Create a harmonious design by combining existing aspects of the structure with attention to detail in several key areas.
Begin by identifying the expectations of the restaurant’s target clientele. For example, fine dining customers may expect more space and privacy when dining than guests of more casual establishments. Families with children may prefer a relaxed environment that appeals to children. Understanding the needs of guests allows owners to develop a design that pleases customers.
When planning the dining room, consider the number of guests expected at peak meal hours. A good restaurant design will accommodate this number while maintaining customer comfort. Customers should be able to move around easily and dine without feeling crowded.
Create the right atmosphere by choosing furnishings, colors and lighting suited to the restaurant’s theme and clientele. An owner of a family friendly restaurant, for example, may choose bright colors and lighting to create an environment suited to children. Restaurants that cater to adults and fine dining often choose more subdued lighting and furnishings that create a more intimate environment.
Owners of restaurants that serve alcohol may benefit from creating a separate bar area. A bar serves as a place for guests to order a drink and relax while waiting to be seated. This area also allows single customers to sit for a meal without waiting for a table. In restaurants with heavy weekend traffic, the bar area should be as large as space allows.
A restaurant serving high quality meals requires a well-designed kitchen. The kitchen should be able to accommodate all necessary equipment along with all needed kitchen staff. Include areas for food preparation, storage and handling. Areas for handling shipments and washing dishes are also necessary. A well planned kitchen allows the restaurant to operate efficiently, ensuring customer satisfaction.
When space allows, a restaurant’s public restrooms should be able to accommodate several guests. Tables should be located away from restrooms or separated from them by partitions. If possible, employee restrooms should be located away from public restrooms.
Staff and Office Space
The restaurant layout should include a space for staff to store their personal belongings. A restaurant’s office should be a secure area suitable for storing money and important items or documents. Ideally, office space should be located in the back of the layout.
At all stages of restaurant planning, keep the customer’s needs and expectations in mind. Thoughtful attention to these details allows the restaurateur to create a dining environment that encourages customers to keep coming back.