Common Restaurant Design Problems
When designing a restaurant there are many factors to consider to satisfy the ever-changing demands of customers. Customers are leaning more towards experiences than ever before, thus it is imperative to ensure that every aspect of restaurant design appeals and leaves a lasting positive impression.
Below are some common restaurant design problems and considerations on how to solve them;
The Greeting Station
A wise man once said ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ and he wasn’t wrong! The first point of contact with the customer will be at The Greeting Station. This should be positioned close to the entrance with adequate room to wait if required, a space used solely to welcome customers to the restaurant with an engaging approach and a friendly smile. It is important this area is kept clean and tidy, displaying only the resources essential for the host or hostess to perform their job are kept here. Personal items and unnecessary clutter should be kept out of sight to avoid distracting the customer from their initial overall restaurant impression.
Ensure every table is a good table
In a perfect world, every table in the restaurant would be as desirable as the next. However, a common problem is that there tends to be an area where customers prefer not to sit. ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner,’ Dirty Dancing, 1987. In reality, this might be due to proximity to the restrooms, a draught coming from the entrance, or noise from the kitchen. Consider and capitalise on the psychology of seating to enhance the customer experience.
In order to truly assess every part of the restaurant, put yourself in the customers’ shoes and test every single seat in the restaurant. Think about the atmosphere in each seat, the surroundings, the view from the table and of the table, the smells and noises you notice, the temperature in each area and the location of the bathroom. Consider the use of dividers or plants to enhance the ambience and make less desirable seating areas more appealing. Why not consider installing discreet hanging hooks on tables where customers can place their bags? This will not only minimise tripping hazards but will also enable the customer to feel secure knowing that their belongings are safely next to them.
Whilst serving as many customers as possible maximises revenue, it is crucial to make the most of every area in the restaurant, finding a balance between the number of seats that fit comfortably and aesthetically, and the customer experience.
Staff and customer comfort should be taken into account in the design phase. Observe the traffic flow throughout the restaurant to ensure maximum efficiency, check there are no obstructions for staff on the route to and from the kitchen. The same applies regarding access to the restrooms. Think about how you would like customers to move around the restaurant from one space to another.
Consider the use of flexible or modular tables so these can be easily moved to accommodate larger parties. There should be adequate spacing left between tables so that customers feel comfortable and can enjoy their own dining experience without disrupting patrons at the next table.