What makes a good restaurant?

Designing a restaurant that will be functional but provide an enjoyable experience for diners presents a number of issues. With thought and planning it is possible to overcome these and lead your establishment to success.

The most important thing to consider at the start of drawing up table and seating plans is what type of restaurant is being designed. If it is to be a fast food outlet, then simple utilitarian-style seating arrangements will suffice. There’s no need for a relaxed ambience into which diners can settle for a lengthy period. Lighting can be bright and the service geared to serving as many customers as possible.
If the restaurant is not of the fast-food type, then a very different approach needs to be taken. Striking the balance between enough tables to accommodate sufficient diners to ensure profits and maintaining their comfort needs some thought. Table spacing should allow customers to sit and stand at their table without difficulty and, when seated, to have sufficient space around them to feel comfortable, with room to move and talk without having to make an effort to hear. It is also worth considering how freely service staff will be able to move between and around tables.
Although difficult to do, every effort should be made to avoid creating ‘bad’ tables. Tables close to kitchen and convenience doors and entrances are going to suffer, but using screens, large plants or other ways of separating them from the negative part of the location should be considered.

Lighting and decoration
Bright lively lighting is good for fast food outlets. For a more relaxed fine dining experience, creating the right ambience means taking care with lighting. Crucial areas should be well lit to ensure safety, but not so bright that when seated diners feel they are literally in the spotlight. Soft lighting is good, but it should allow diners to see each other and what they are eating, yet not be obtrusive and cause discomfort.
Decorations should complement and follow the general decorative theme. For example, Moroccan decorations in a restaurant serving contemporary British food will not fit. Decorations also need to be unobtrusive, placed so that they can be easily cleaned, and not intrude on customers’ space.

The best restaurants have an overall mood. This is created by use of space, colour, lighting and décor. It is important to decide what kind of overall mood is desired.

Creating the right climate for customers to eat in is vital. Nobody likes to be too hot or too cold, or to be bombarded by smells and vapours from the kitchen when eating. Extraction devices, heating and air conditioning should all be employed to enhance the eating experience.

Whatever the overall design, a restaurant needs to be functional. Entrances, exits, the paths customers and serving staff will take must all be carefully considered. With the rise of mobile technology, decisions need to be made about whether such services as wi-fi and power outlets for tables are to be made available to customers. Possibilities here are potentially endless.

With so many things to consider, when you are thinking of designing or re-branding a restaurant the above factors should be high on your priority list.

Visit our projects page where you can see (amongst other examples,) some of our restaurant renovations.