Restaurant Design

The design of a restaurant can affect the product, atmosphere and the hospitality provided by your staff. Whatever the designer creates, you have to live with that. That’s why, even though form is important, it can never be at the expense of function.

If the food line is positioned too far from the dining area, it can affect the responsiveness of the wait staff and the speed at which food can be served. If little more than a swinging door separates the dining area from the kitchen, extraneous light and noise can find its way to your customers, ruining the intended atmosphere.

The atmosphere has to feel good, and it has to look good to the customer. That’s why I encourage designers and operators to collaborate during the planning process. The designer should have an intimate knowledge of the owner/operator’s vision, and the operator is going to have to live with what the designer creates, so he or she should be involved at every step.

As the owner, you need to pay attention to every detail of your restaurant’s creation. Getting involved on a macro level isn’t enough, because every detail — the furniture, the lighting and the music — can have a positive or negative effect on the customer experience. And every design detail isn’t necessarily right for every occasion, so you need to build flexibility into your vision.

Restaurants are living, breathing entities. They’re not static. The environment is going to change as the time of day changes. For example, at lunch, people are moving at a much faster pace. They’re talking shop on their lunch breaks, and you’ll want a more energetic atmosphere to accommodate that kind of clientele — more light, up-tempo music. At dinner, people want to relax and enjoy themselves, so account for that with your lighting and music.

 

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