Managing a restaurant is not as easy as some young entrepreneurs think. It seems easy at first glance. You just have to serve good food in a pleasant atmosphere and at a reasonable price. However, achieving these goals does not guarantee financial success. Many factors are involved in determining whether a restaurant is profitable. According to many studies and researches, the design and atmosphere of the restaurant are among the top criteria that affect how profitable the business will be.
functionality prevails over aesthetics in a successful restaurant
Restaurant design methodologies can vary greatly depending on your idea, cuisine and budget, but there is one area that is paramount, regardless of design aesthetics. Your restaurant should be running smoothly, otherwise there will be unacceptable delays and many problems. Initially, this means that you need a special section where customers can place their orders. You definitely need to create easy access to toilets and outdoor areas. Your tables should not be close to each other so that waiters and customers can move around comfortably. Hosting wheelchairs and other assistive devices is also essential.
Storage: An Aspect That Is Often Overlooked in Restaurant Design
The design of the restaurant affects all parts of your restaurant. It must be attractive to the customer’s aesthetic preferences and create efficient flow patterns that facilitate cooking, service and payment of orders. It is important, however, that we do not allow aesthetic concerns to interfere with effective functionality. For example, a cozy and clean dining room with a central decorative theme may be desirable, but it may not help the restaurant functionality. A beautiful curved wall or a central aquarium can serve as a great decorative element that charms customers. But keep in mind that this decorative element may prevent customers and waiters from moving smoothly.
Storage is vital both for the design of the front space and for the design of the interior of the kitchen. You may also want to create clear paths from loading points to storage areas. If you have storage space in the basement or upstairs, installing a freight elevator can prove to be one of the wisest investments.
Functional Themes of Restaurant Design
A common problem is that no one wants to sit in an “indifferent” area or table. You can address this issue before opening your restaurant by tasting each table and noting the view each one has. If a table overlooks the kitchen or does not overlook other customers some adjustments may be needed. The comfort of your guests is important, so it may be necessary to create several dining rooms that will appeal to different types of guests – such as those who want a family dinner or those who prefer the company of more people. Your design elements will depend on your idea, which can fall into one of the following categories:
- Fast food
- Cooked food
- Barbecue-Neighborhood Bar
- With indoor and outdoor areas
- Cafes and bistros
- Restaurant with many different cuisines
For example, it is clear that a restaurant with two different cuisines will likely have to incorporate design elements from both cuisines. Indoor and outdoor restaurants could design a space that provides easy access between these areas. Also, different waiter service points can make customer service more efficient. There are many important areas to consider when designing your restaurant for the ultimate in functionality, and these include:
- The bar and the waiting area
- The entrances and the dressing room
- The main dining room
- Special dining areas, such as group meeting areas, buffets, and private areas
- Waiters’ sections / li>
- The design of the kitchen
- The areas to order your food when you want to take it home
Now, some restaurants offer in the front a lot of food that has been prepared in advance for the “hurried”, even vending machines that serve factories or office buildings. It is important to design these spaces to match the design concept of your restaurant.
Payment of Customer Bills and Orders for the Home
Making payments and ordering at home can greatly impede the flow of a restaurant – especially at lunchtime, when most people have limited dining time. Long queues at the cash register or POS machine can block the path to the toilet or the entrances and exits. These improvised queues could also prevent the waiters from moving efficiently between the kitchen and the tables. Of course, modern POS systems that allow tablet and smartphone orders and prepaid and bank payments can reduce these problems from basic design flaws to manageable functionality issues.
The Restaurant Kitchen
Restaurant kitchens are usually small. It does not matter how big your kitchen is, as long as all the available space is used properly. Professional chefs – those who really understand that restaurants are businesses – try to do their job with as few gadgets and appliances as possible. The equipment should be chosen to meet multiple culinary needs and you and your staff should design ways to make each kitchen area serve at least one dual purpose. Some of the best space saving strategies in restaurant kitchens include:
- Store tools with similar functions together – a missing tool can easily be replaced with something similar when in a hurry.
- Design each of your tools in the toolbox to simplify storing and finding the right tool.
- Design the kitchen parts so that they are functional. For slicing and preparing cooking, frying, sautéing, preparing sandwiches, foods that need heating or cooling, etc.
- Vertical spaces and shelves can make it easy to find basic tools and equipment, as well as cabinets for storing the necessary knives and tools.
- A clear path to storage areas and to the dishwasher is also important for a busy restaurant.
- The spaces under the desks can also become auxiliary storage spaces.
- Design your restaurant so that the most popular foods in your fridge are easily accessible
- Schedule cooking procedures so that your cooks move as little as possible.
- Some “details” are sometimes necessary, such as placing freezers near fryers (frying efficiency).
Sometimes, more drastic moves are required if your kitchen is too small. For example, you may need to drop a wall to expand the space available. Preparing as much food as possible in advance is a very good strategy followed by many restaurants with small kitchens.
Promote your Bar Through Complementary Design Features
Bars often attract a certain type of clientele – young people, modern people who like music and nightlife. A study found that 68 percent of a restaurant’s customers are willing to spend the night in a restaurant with an attractive bar. The design of the bar includes the creation of a comfortable space where customers can eat or drink. It is necessary to design a separate food preparation area, in order to be more efficient in ordering food from the guests of the bar. You may also need very specialized tools and equipment to create the styling of your dishes, to process your own meats and to create dishes and drinks using molecular gastronomy.
Enabling the Change of Your Inner “Taste”
Restaurants are considered by many customers as their second home and therefore it is important to make seasonal decorations, to promote each season and to adapt the decoration for every occasion, such as for parties, special occasions and business meetings. Modular decorations – although more expensive – can prove to be less costly over time if you need to make frequent changes to your interior decor.
Planning the Design Budget
The best strategy is to design it based on functionality, so that you are not “committed” to a specific aesthetic design. You need to consider the brand, the concept and the type of service you will provide. For example, good food requires more investment in decoration than a neighborhood restaurant or a fast food business. The construction cost of a restaurant varies depending on the location and the concept, but the averages range between 85 and 300 Euros per square meter. The design takes up about 10% of the construction budget, but you will spend more on a good restaurant or a restaurant with live music.
If you are planning functionality first, then it will be easier to accommodate aesthetic designs that differentiate your restaurant. When functionality and aesthetic design work perfectly together, the result can be extremely attractive and profitable. No matter how great your restaurant is or how great the food is, your success depends on seamless functionality, efficient service, fast preparation time and customer comfort. You should never try to create functionality in a space that has already been designed and decorated.