Things to Consider for Your Restaurant’s Layout
The physical layout of a restaurant is one aspect most subconsciously noticed by customers. Although patrons of your restaurant are unlikely to complain outright about the layout and structure of your establishment, an ineffective layout creates issues with flow and ambiance that customers are very sensitive to. To ensure you are creating an atmosphere that is both productive for your employees and inviting to your customers, keep the following information in mind.
Arguably the most visually important part of your restaurant is the entrance. The entrance is the area that makes the first impression on customers, both current and potential. If your entrance looks welcoming and friendly, people will be more likely to want to visit your establishment. There are a lot of options for decorating and designing your entrance in a way that both reflects the atmosphere and attitude of your restaurant as a whole. Consider corresponding types of lighting, outdoor furniture, shrubbery, signage, and other decorations for your specific restaurant when laying out your entrance.
The Waiting Area
A good waiting area will be large enough to accommodate those waiting to be seated in the dining room or bar area without overpowering the rest of your restaurant space. It will also be a type of funnel that ushers people into the areas of your restaurant where they can make purchasing decisions. One of the key things to keep in mind when laying out and designing the waiting area is to make it comfortable, but not as comfortable as the bar or dining room. The waiting area is a great place to get your customers excited about the dining experience they are about the enjoy. Creating a board of daily specials or discounts along with having copies of the standard menu nearby will create excitement in the customers about the food they will soon be eating.
The Dining Room
The dining room is the area where your customers will be spending the most time. But before setting up the seating in this area, make sure you check the fire code standards for your establishment so you are aware of how many people you can legally fit in your dining area. Once you have this information, you will be able to decide if you prefer booths or tables, private or open seating. Different people are more comfortable in different situations, so if you can swing it, it is best to try to have a little bit of everything. Places for large groups as well as areas for more private meals will be enticing to almost every diner. Just be sure that your dining room is comfortable for your patrons and functional for your staff.
Depending on the type of bar you are planning to have in your establishment, you will probably want to have different goals for your bar area. If you want a full-service bar where patrons can get both food and drinks, your bar area should be just as comfortable and inviting as the dining areas. However, if your bar is strictly meant to serve drinks and possibly appetizers, you might want that area to have more of a laid-back feel. While many bar areas are slightly separated from the rest of the dining area, it is still important to keep the layout functional because most servers will be placing orders and picking up drinks from the bar.
The heart of every restaurant is the kitchen. You as a restaurant owner know better than anyone what type of equipment you will need to have in your kitchen. But as you are acquiring this equipment, keep in mind that you will need to fit storage, people, and the equipment in the same room. Your staff will need room to move around comfortably and safely within the kitchen while still having everything they need in close proximity. The amount and type of food you are able to make in your kitchen will dictate a lot about what your restaurant becomes. Make sure your expectations can be met with the kitchen facility you equip your restaurantwith.
As for the layout of the kitchen with regards to the rest of your restaurant, this is largely dependent on how much of that space you want your customers to be able to see. Most restaurants keep their kitchen closed to customers; however, some restaurants have their allure in the customer’s ability to watch as the magic unfolds. Decide which of these camps you prefer and lay out your kitchen accordingly.
Storage and Administration Areas
You will need both storage areas and rooms in which you can do the administrative business for your restaurant. These rooms are best kept behind closed doors. While you might like the idea of having a very open floor plan for the rest of your establishment, keeping stored food or cleaning supplies in a place that isn’t visible is best for your clientele—there are some portions of your restaurant that customers don’t want to see. It is also a good idea to keep the storage area near the administration office so you can always be aware of any upcoming needs. This also helps to prevent theft or vandalism.
Do not underestimate the importance of having a classy restroom. One of the worst things customers can hear about a restaurant is that their restroom is unpleasant. Many patrons will use the restroom while eating at your restaurant, so don’t neglect it. Let your design theme travel from your dining room and into the styling of the restroom. Also, try to find a balance between having enough space for multiple stalls while still maintaining a large enough dining and kitchen space. Restrooms are typically found at the back of your restaurant, generally to either side of the kitchen.
When it comes down to it, you can lay out your restaurant whatever way you like. Just keep in mind that there are some locations that work better than others for certain spaces. If the space and design flows well throughout your entire establishment, that is one less thing you have to worry about when you have a full house.