In this article, I want to tell you the ten things you should be sure to consider when designing your restaurant layout. These bits of advice will help you sell more and attract new customers.
Once you’ve found the perfect location for your restaurant, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to the work of furnishing and decorating your establishment in ways that will make your customers feel comfortable.
When they’re comfortable and feel welcomed to your establishment, you’ll sell more and make more profits.
Decorating your restaurant space is more than just having good taste and a knowledge of architecture. It is also about marketing. Thant means using the space to promote your restaurant and sell more. Food and beverage experts speak of restaurant concept development.
This should definitely be of paramount concern for restaurant owners and managers.
Even if you offer the very best food on earth, if the interior design of your restaurant doesn’t enrich the guests’ dining experience, they’re not likely to return or recommend your establishment to friends and family. Added to that, as you’ll see below, many factors contribute to increasing business.
I can’t give you lessons in architecture. That’s not my job. What I do hope to do is get you to reflect upon some of the aspects that are frequently overlooked by both managers and entrepreneurs.
I’m talking about critical factors that can help you save money, increase your revenue and keep your guests coming back for more.
In the food and beverage arena, it has long been known that ambiance, atmosphere, in short, the architecture of your restaurant can make the difference between a highly profitable enterprise and a so-so business that just gets along. Or even worse, failure and closure.
As an example, a number of Chinese restaurants take a space in a strip mall. They hang a couple of Chinese paintings on the walls and open up. The only attractive thing about these is that for people who work or live nearby, they’re handy.
The really successful Chinese restaurants make you feel you’re really in China. Their owners have spent a lot more thought on making the décor look authentic. The servers dress in traditional Chinese clothing and customers love it.
In one city, a restaurant named Hung Far Low has that atmosphere. It has been in business now for over eighty years and today it’s as popular as ever. It has good food and service, but just as importantly, it has an “authentic” Chinese atmosphere.
10 Things To Consider When Designing your Restaurant
It would be impossible to create a step-by-step guide to designing a restaurant. After all, every restaurant has its own concept and context and added to that, there are many other factors to consider.
But by following the ten key ingredients below you can do a great deal to create an inviting ambiance to your establishment.
Psychologists have long known that color had an important impact on our brains. Color and its relationship with persuasion make an interesting subject. It is also a controversial aspect of marketing. Colors convey a different feeling to our brains. They have an impact on our bodies as well.
In short, color causes psychological attitudes on us. We’re usually not even aware of this.
In the field of food and beverage, red is king. Look at McDonald’s. Notice their logo, their décor, and the uniforms. Red is the dominant color. It has been scientifically proven that red whets our appetites. Blue, on the other hand, slows our metabolism. Obviously, color is an important factor to take into consideration when you’re choosing a color scheme for your restaurant.
While you may have a great concept, image and have your restaurant target correctly, don’t forget the importance of choosing the right colors for your establishment and the psychological impact it will have on the minds of your guests.
Many don’t realize that customers don’t come to a restaurant for the furniture. While appearance and good taste are important, customers don’t care whether your chairs cost $900.00 each or you bought them used at an equipment outlet for $15.00. Just so long as they’re sturdy, a customer is unlikely to stop to admire them.
While you’re free to decorate and design your restaurant any way you want, you should remember, the more your style tends to modern glass, steel and cold colors — rigid forms and intense lighting — the less hunger you’re likely to instill into customers.
In that sort of café, young people gravitate. But they’re usually not big spenders and seldom become regular steady customers. The moment a new place opens, they forget about your café and head to the new one.
Lighting is a much more important factor than many realize. In a public place such as a restaurant, it becomes even more important. The right lighting can enhance the furniture, hide flaws and improve the customer’s overall dining experience.
Added to the above, illumination is the first thing that may attract a customer passing by. Bright attractive lighting can hook passersby with its warm welcoming appearance. Once they cross your threshold, the interior lighting continues to warm their minds and stomachs as well.
Your proper choice of lighting not only influences the style of furniture but is crucial in the creation of atmosphere.
A warm light, as opposed to cold lighting, will bring warmth to your space. Properly positioned lights at each table encourage soft conversation among customers. Cold lights actually raise the voices of customers! Never forget: the creation of a successful restaurant interior design depends greatly on the lighting.
One day I was dining alone in a discreetly romantic restaurant. The cuisine was very good. But sitting at a table alone, I had the opportunity to look more closely at the environment, the guests as well as the servers and many other details.
If a dining room is half empty, the background becomes even more important. But it this case, despite the great cuisine and atmosphere, the same piece of music came on loud and clear for the third time: A frightening mixture of English and Spanish with a frenzied rhythm that prohibited conversation or even quiet enjoyment of my delicious soup. I very nearly gave up to ask for my check.
Music has an important and significant effect on restaurant guests. A number of studies have shown that background music not only makes employees happier but improves the image of the establishment and stimulates customers’ appetites.
Rock music tends to increase the appetite and makes us chew faster. Classic music tells the stomach to desire calm refined foods. In crowded pizzerias, rock music actually increases orders and help to empty tables more quickly. In higher-end restaurants, soft symphonic music can stimulate a thumbs up for the sophisticated dishes created by a real chef.
Since there’s a definite connection between music and food, so it’s a good idea to create a studied combination of these to stimulate the senses in your establishment.
The power of aroma is amazing. Our sense of smell is characterized by the individual’s memory. The right aromas recreate fond memories of past experiences and can whet anyone’s appetite.
Our sense of smell is much stronger than many realize. The average human has about five to six mission olfactory receptors. These are able to detect and catalog some 10,000 different smells. Often we’re quite unaware of this but something about a place appeals to us…or the opposite can be true.
A crucial element in your food and beverage marketing plan is to take the sense of smell into consideration.
As an example, one of my clients increased the number of young couples who patronized his restaurant by positioning vases of tuberoses about the dining room. The tuberose perfume offers a soothing aroma that relaxes a person as well as enhancing sensuality. The result was a very happy restaurant owner.
Quite often this is a subject that is completely forgotten by many entrepreneurs. But the restrooms are extremely important. Never forget that!
While it would seem to be obvious on reflection, I’ve seen many restaurant owners who have poured thousands of dollars into the purchase of high-quality products and promotions, yet not a single cent went into the construction of bathrooms.
When customers have to walk into puddles of pee to reach the bowl, while breathing the smell of public toilets, they are highly unlikely to return. Maintaining pleasant, clean bathrooms with plenty of paper towels and a full soap dispenser if vital.
When a customer finds the soap dispenser is empty, or the paper towel dispenser is empty, you’re on the road to losing another customer.
Having dispensers that keep the restrooms smelling pleasant is a good idea and it’s important to make sure all the doors lock properly.
In general, any store is no longer the passive place, where people buy their goods or services, but a place where they fulfill dreams and needs. It relates to restaurants, especially.
You don’t have to try to sell the products, like before; you have to create a space that focuses on the product or service you intend to sell and on the relation it has with the guest.
The goal is to exploit all the opportunities offered by the visual merchandising by replacing the passive selling of goods with a proactive one. To do this, you need to plan the layout of the restaurant, creating a visual pathway for the customers, trying to force them to walk through it.
This is what so-called, “Visual Merchandising” does; it uses the space properly to increase the value of your products and services to maximize profitability.
The management of space plays a critical role in influencing purchasing decisions, as it must be able to create a relationship not only physically but also psychologically. To give a practical example, we analyse the so-called Focal Points.
These “virtual” points are those areas of the restaurant which are, on average, more observed by customers. Of course, they depend on how the spaces have been set up, where you put tables, chairs, and all the equipment.
It seems obvious that if, instead of using these spaces to place any cutlery or glasses, we use them to expose certain products, like sweets and wine bottles, the probability that these are purchased will be certainly greater than to keep them out of customer’s sights.
8. Seating Capacity
Your restaurant design should incorporate a balance between the creation of a welcoming atmosphere and the number of seats you offer.
You want to be able to receive enough comfortably seated diners to make a profit. You want them to feel at ease. And the more refined and your presentation more gourmet oriented, the more distance you should have between tables.
Only in special circumstances can you have a restaurant jammed with tiny tables placed so close together that customers may lock elbows during their repast. Generally speaking, that’s not something you want to consider.
9. Heating and Ventilation
While this is one of the more expensive pieces of equipment every restaurant needs, it’s one of the most important. For a restaurant to attract customers and keep them coming back, they have to dine in a comfortable atmosphere.
Kitchens release a great deal of smoke and smell. It’s important that you build up a system in your restaurant that guarantees proper ventilation.
Good air conditioning is crucial to any restaurant design.
Nothing can turn a customer away more quickly than a dining room that lacks air conditioning, especially during the summer months.
Never forget that poor ventilation and air conditioning may well cost you a lot more in lost sales.
10. Kitchen Design
Of course, probably the biggest investment of money in the design of a new restaurant is the kitchen layout. Kitchens call for bulky, expensive equipment that might delay any busy restaurant schedules.
The kitchen layout should allow food ready to serve to flow seamlessly from the kitchen to the dining room. Often I’ve seen new restaurants in a great location, but their small kitchen that they soon realize is far too small to allow them to serve their customers promptly and adequately.
If you have a kitchen layout that slows down your operation, you’re losing business.
In summations, these are some of the most important considerations when it comes to designing your restaurant layout. Remember, you want to enhance the customer’s experience.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please drop a line in the comment box below.