When it comes to starting a restaurant, design, layout and theme can be crucial to its success. You want a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere but you also have to think practically. Just because you are in love with a certain type of window treatment that doesn’t mean that it’s durable enough to be used in a busy eating establishment.
Your basic concept is what you will build upon. Do you want an atmosphere more akin to a family dining room or do you want a more upscale ambiance? The age of your target audience is also an important consideration. While a family restaurant will have to be durable and sturdy, a hangout for a young adult crowd has different demands as does a buffet-style layout.
Be sure that your concept and design has longevity. If you buy into the design of a current fad you will find yourself redesigning your restaurant, sometimes within months. You may want to project the atmosphere of an exotic culture like the Tiki bars of the 40’s and 50’s or faithfully reproduce a Far Eastern Tea House. Whichever kind of design you choose, be sure that it is classic and enduring unless, of course, you enjoy frequent redecorating and interrupted traffic.
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of design and can make or break a restaurant. Too harsh and customers wont return, too dim and you may have the same reaction. If you want to create a warm and romantic atmosphere, intimacy is more important than dimness. While customers may not realize it, lighting is one important factor in creating an overall dining experience that is positive and leaves customers wanting to return.
Traffic patterns are important too. Make it easy for your waiting staff to cruise their tables without colliding and provide paths wide enough to accommodate serving trays without intruding on other tables. A central location for dropping off and retrieving orders will keep traffic moving smoothly. Make sure that the public restrooms are easy to find and discreet as it can save everyone’s time if customers don’t have to ask for directions.
Furniture and fixtures should be not only aesthetically pleasing but also durable and strong. You should also consider how easily your staff can move the furniture to clean around and underneath it. There are a variety of beautiful materials and textures for tables, chairs and benches that are durable and look great for many years.
The comfort of your diners is a consideration, too. There are very few successful restaurants with hard wooden chairs and those that do have them are usually the kinds of fast service restaurants that want customers to finish their meal and move on in a hurry.
Consistency is imperative for a successful restaurant. From the design of the plates and flatware to the presentation of the food, your clientele wants to know what to expect each and every time they visit. The manner of your waiting staff is also crucial. Customers should be confident that they will always get a server that is polite, friendly and efficient.
If your restaurant has market appeal and becomes the first choice of those who have the opportunity to go out for dinner, it will be hard not to succeed. A restaurant that looks appealing on the outside, is comfortable and welcoming on the inside and that has a waiting staff that enjoys the job will always have a steady clientele.
Start your restaurant business off right by giving it a practical layout and a design and theme that is marketable and keeps customers coming back for more.