Whether you’re opening a restaurant or re-designing and renovating your premises to freshen up your business, there are some important restaurant interior design principles that can help you save money and increase profits in the long run. With the right environment, your guests will want to come back again and again, feeding more and more money into your till. Moreover, the right layout can increase the efficiency of your restaurant, allowing you to save money on unnecessary mistakes. To that end, we’ve provided a list of 10 ways you can improve your design to save money in the long run.
First, let’s briefly touch on why interior design is important to begin with. With such a high level of competition in the restaurant industry, it’s imperative to think about how you can draw customers to your restaurant and improve the dining experience of your guests.
Imagine yourself as the customer: when was the last memorable dining experience you had? What made it so good? Think of the sounds, the smells, the layout and the ambiance. What did the plates and cutlery look like? What did they feel like in your hand? When people eat in a restaurant, they don’t just enjoy the meal; they soak up the atmosphere, which is made possible by the design. The interior design of a restaurant is, without a doubt, as important as the quality of the food. Thus, without further ado, here are 10 basic principles you can follow when tackling the interior design of your restaurant.
Forming an identity for your restaurant is key if you want a regular flow of customers. The interior of a restaurant should be designed in such a way that it reflects the essence of the city or town in which it is located. Diners will always have a preconceived idea about a restaurant’s identity from the immediate encounter. Therefore, maintaining the consistency of design from shop front to menu is essential.
Research the area of your restaurant – certain patterns will emerge in local eating habits or preferred layouts. Diners will judge your restaurant from the moment they encounter your establishment on the street. Therefore maintaining the consistency of design from shop front to menu is essential.
There’s much to consider when formulating your restaurant concept. Every town has restaurants, and the best way to beat the competition is to offer something unique – something no one else is offering. The kind of food served in the restaurant can also influence the concept of the interior design theme. For instance, if you own a restaurant offering cuisines belonging to a particular foreign country, then its interior and decor should represent the spirit of that country – or at the very least should be inspired by the origin of the cuisine.
Let’s imagine you decided on a Seventeenth-Century England restaurant concept. As soon as your customers step foot in the door of your restaurant, they should encounter an interesting combination of period features, modern furniture and vintage decor. Paintings and lyrics might adorn the walls and overlook your customers as they settle down to browse the menu. The mixture should be subtle and clever, and should capture the atmosphere and mood of 17th century England.
Space planning and furniture layout of your restaurant are the foundation for creating the perfect atmosphere. The floor plan and layout must work effectively in terms of circulation. You don’t want to create traffic jams between the staff and customers. Not only will this interfere with comfort; it will cause unnecessary distractions resulting in bad customer reviews.
Make sure that the distance between tables, chairs and space meet the standards of human movement – this distance should be at least 60-90 centimetres wide. Generating a seating layout that maximizes capacity and allows flexibility is also important for hosting parties or events.
The kitchen is vital in any restaurant design process. With an optimised kitchen layout, your staff can work efficiently and reduce food waste. You can also maximise the flow of the preparation, cooking and serving process, reducing unnecessary interruptions between the kitchen and the dinner table. Be sure to look into the ergonomics of the kitchen space, as this will improve the flow and increase the number of dishes served. It is also a space where your staff will spend most of their time, so make sure it’s comfortable for them too. You should also ensure the traffic, noise and lighting are adjusted to aid the kitchen’s functionality. This will help you save money on unnecessary mistakes that, in the long run, can add costs to your daily operations.
This is key. How often have you been to a restaurant and thought to yourself, “It’s way too cold in here” or “The smell of the kitchen is overwhelming.” A poorly circulated room can ruin a person’s dining experience and even affect their judgement of the food. Remember, taste is governed not only by the taste buds but by the olfactory system as well. An unpleasant odor from the outside or from the kitchen can undo all the kitchen staff’s hard work.
Similarly, you should have maximum control over the temperature. If it’s too cold, customers will complain. If it’s too hot, customers will complain. In short, it’s an absolute must to include heating and ventilation in your interior design plan. Failing to consider these aspects could put your restaurant’s future at risk, as customers may be less inclined to return or tell their friends. Every design decision affects the potential return on your investment.
Have you ever walked into a restaurant or a store and found yourself squinting because the lighting was too bright? If there’s one place where people don’t want to feel “in the spotlight”, it would be a restaurant so opt for lighting that is soft – such as dim lighting, chandeliers, light bulbs in colours other than white. You might even consider using candlelight.
The use of well spread-out lighting can go a long way in fostering a comfortable atmosphere. Dimmed and low lights are perfect for a romantic meal and natural lighting is best for breakfast and lunch. A mixed use of lighting is also effective for drawing attention to menu boards or art pieces. You want to consider the position of your customers – what areas they travel through and the direction of their seating – to alter the mood and provide a memorable experience. The more memorable the experience, the more likely it is your customers will return with friends. These elements should, thus, not be taken lightly, as they can increase the value of your restaurant in the long term.
Once you have decided on your concept, create a colour chart to portray the ambience you are aiming for. Colour is one of the most important methods of ‘setting the mood’ as it correlates with our emotional and physical responses and can even manage them.
For example tones of blue associate feelings of calm, peace and harmony in contrast to red which incorporates excitement, action and adventure. The right combination can encourage guests to stay for much longer, or eat quickly and move on. So, as you’re selecting the colour palate, make sure that it’s warm, inviting and comfortable. You want people to feel relaxed while dining at your restaurant.
Finding the right balance is crucial at this point. You want to be careful whilst selecting which pieces go where as you want to avoid decor that is ‘too cold’ or ‘cluttered’. Decoration pieces might also become a signature feature of your restaurant once combined with the other factors mentioned above.
If your walls happen to be made of brick and the flooring is hardwood, you’re already in a good place, as these features can add a lot of character to your establishment. But otherwise, look for something “extra” to put on your walls whether it’s some artwork or a few mirrors or even some boxwood spiral topiary trees to stand in front of the walls.
A crucial part of the interior design for restaurants is the design of the exterior. This is the first point of contact between you and your customer, but it very often doesn’t receive as much attention as the interior. This is a big mistake. Make sure that the exterior design does justice to your business’s identity. Have you thought of the importance of the window display and the effect it has on the passers-by? Will a sneak peek reveal the atmosphere that you wish to relay?
Again, make sure that it represents your values and is coherent with your branding as well as the neighbourhood. Consider the placement, colours and size of the logo and signage. Lastly, the exterior menu display is vital, as it provides potential diners with essential information. So find a place where people can easily read the menu, and be sure to craft the menu so that it complements your restaurant’s brand.
Many business owners try to reduce the restaurant start-up cost by designing the restaurant themselves. Some of them also entrust the design to low-skilled artisans or builders with little or no knowledge of interior and building design. Many business owners aren’t aware of the long-term costs that can accrue around poor interior design.
So when designing your restaurant, you need to work with professionals such as graphic designers, interior designers, architectural designers or an architecture practice that provides restaurant design services. This may increase the start-up budget, but the impact will be worth the cost.
Each of the above-mentioned tips can go a long way toward developing an attractive restaurant design. A solid interior design can affect the customers’ overall experience and can even affect the taste of the cuisine, which is the heart of any restaurant.
Don’t forget: the overall design of your restaurant and its ambience will offer you major returns in the future, as customers will be more inclined to tell their friends about their “lovely experience” at your restaurant. What’s more, a good design can help your restaurant’s overall flow. With an effective restaurant interior design, you can make your establishment far more efficient, reducing the risk of unnecessary (and costly) mistakes. Thus, skimping on design at the outset will only leave you in the lurch down the line – even if your food is out of this world.
If you need help pursuing your dream as a restaurateur, reach out to Urbanist Architecture today. With a multidisciplinary team, we are more than equipped to turn your establishment into the next dining hot spot.