Designing the layout of your of restaurant

Looking good!

The design of a restaurant can be very overwhelming for anyone, especially first time owners, as you have to consider building and fire regulations as well as ventilation. The atmosphere and seating also need to be addressed to ensure that your design allows your theme to flow throughout the entire building.

Obviously the main dining area will be where you predominantly focus your attentions in your design. This is where most of your customers will be sitting so you will know from the very beginning the importance of the materials you use and the layout of this area in order to create a warm, relaxed and friendly environment - one in which your customers will want to regular return. Considering what your customers do in your restaurant other than eating is essential when thinking of all these things. We go to restaurants to socialise, be it for pleasure, romance or work so make sure the acoustics enable people to hear each other talk; however, playing relaxing music at the right level might help to create the ambiance needed. Also the type of music will need some thought: jazz is often a common choice. Another consideration is the arrangement of the tables. Using chairs with high backs and soft material as well as providing sufficient space between your tables helps to create this relaxed environment.

Whilst the dining area clearly needs much of your focus in the design, if you don't pay just as much attention to the kitchen, your customers might not have quality food presented in a timely fashion- comfort and a relaxed environment is not enough.

The kitchen is therefore an important part of your restaurant yet it is not on show to the public. Some inexperienced in the business might not realise the importance of taking the time to design the kitchen with just as much careful consideration. It needs to be highly functional with commercial, quality equipment, capable of delivering swathes of food. However the types of equipment you need will depend on the types of food you are creating and the size of the kitchen. In turn all of these will determine the layout of your kitchen. Some experienced in the industry choose to be advised by professional chefs who are used to working in the environment you will require.

Equally it is interesting that some modern restaurants are choosing to have an open kitchen- one which will be seen by your customers whilst they eat. Consequently this forces you to consider the design and aesthetics of the kitchen much more as it needs to work with the rest of the restaurant.

Beyond these two essential areas, the design of your restrooms will also help to make your restaurant feel a quality establishment. Cleanliness is imperative in a restroom so a strict routine of regular cleaning will ensure sanitary conditions for your customers so selecting materials that are easy to wipe down-for example large tiles compared to mosaics. Certain colours exude cleanliness so carefully choosing your colour palette will be important in this room. Often these areas are not vast in size so it allows more to be spent on making the bathroom experience that little bit more special.

All of these areas are irrelevant if you do not entice your customers in by how your restaurant looks from the outside. Spend time looking at the exterior and consider what would help your customers to be drawn in. Where possible, demonstrating your interior with your outdoor seating can help in this regard. Greenery, soft lights, outdoor heating all help in creating a welcoming outdoor area and can encourage customers into your restaurant. Once they step inside, what does your lobby area say about your establishment? In your design, you will need to decide whether there is capacity to have a dedicated area for your customers to be greeted, perhaps also offering a solution for a cloakroom, making your customers feel especially looked after from the moment they step through your door. Alternatively, if there isn't enough space for this, you might want to design having freestanding or wall-mounted coat stands/hooks regularly dotted around the restaurant.

Finally, find inspiration from looking at projects already completed by professionals, through their portfolios and social media. Discuss your ideas with the professionals too as this will help you realise what is realistically possible with the space you have.