No matter what type, size, or location- every restaurant has a basic layout that includes some general areas including an entrance, the kitchen, and restrooms. However, these areas are often overlooked in the general design of a restaurant, when new owners tend to focus on the dining room or bar. Paying attention to the small details of a new restaurant will help produce a positive customer experience and build business right from day one.
The Restaurant Entrance
The entrance area to a new restaurant can be as important as the inside when it comes to gaining new customers. Depending on your theme, you can use signs, music, lighting, awnings, and flowers to make an attractive restaurant entrance. While the dining room, bar, and kitchen are important parts of a new restaurant design, don’t forget the outside/ entry area. After all, it is the first area that customers see. Signage, lighting, seating, and decorations are just a few areas to consider when opening a new restaurant.
The Waiting Area
Not all restaurants have the space to designate as a waiting area. Those do have space may opt to keep it separate, while others incorporate it into a bar area. Along with benches or chairs for customers to wait comfortably, your waiting area should also have some menus nearby for customers to peruse as they wait. This is also a good place to display a bulletin board of other events at your restaurant (wine tastings, weekly specials, happy hour, etc.).
If you plan to have a full-service bar in your restaurant- one that customers can sit at for drinks and a meal- it should be as welcoming as your dining room. It should also be functional for the restaurant since it is where servers ordering and pick up drinks for their tables.
Your dining room set up doesn’t create a mood in the restaurant – it also affects the way your staff functions as well as the customer’s comfort and overall dining experience. The dining room is where the customers gather, and it should be welcoming and comfortable. Check with the local fire code marshal or other authority about the seating capacity of your dining room. Once you know how many people you can safely serve at one time, you can plan where to place tables and chairs, as well as a wait station. Before your opening day, take a moment and sit in every seat in the dining room, to assess the view and decide if the table needs to be repositioned.
At the center of any restaurant is the kitchen. Even though most commercial kitchens are not in view of the public, the layout is as important as the dining room. The size of the kitchen and the type of food you are serving will dictate what type of commercial equipment you’ll need to purchase and the layout of the kitchen. The size of your restaurant kitchen will also play an important role in creating your menu. Read more about setting up a restaurant kitchen.
Design and ambiance carry through to restaurant restrooms. Restrooms should be checked at least once at the start of every shift (preferably more often if it is busy). A hostess or bus person can be assigned the task of refilling paper products and taking out the trash.
Restaurant Layout Problems Every restaurant has them. Certain areas that always seem to interfere with the flow of the dining room or kitchen. Perhaps it is a table that customers never want to sit at. Or maybe the kitchen is too small during a busy dinner rush. And there never seems to be enough money to solve these restaurant layout problems.