The manner in which a restaurant advertises itself to customers involves more than flashy signs and catchy commercials. It also markets itself to the public with the very restaurant design it chooses. When you want customers to regard your establishment as customer-friendly, convenient, and welcoming, you should avoid these common restaurant design mistakes.
When designing your restaurant interior, avoid these mistakes.
Cluttered Host Station
The first impression made upon customers is the host station, which should be conveniently located close to the front door or in the front foyer. This station ideally should be free of clutter and messes. It should signal to customers that you are ready to seat and begin serving them right away. With that, you would do well to tell your hosts and hostesses to leave personal items in the back of the restaurant in their lockers or the employee area. The host station should have necessities like the seating chart and a pen. Trinkets like breath mints and balloons for children can also be on hand for customers as they depart the restaurant.
Dim or hard lighting is definitely a deal breaker for many. No one wants to struggle to read menus or see what’s on their plate. Create a layered light effect by using natural light from windows along with lighting fixtures. The perfect brightness is enough light to be able to read menus. Remember to avoid harsh lighting that creates shadows so think soft, romantic lighting.
We’ve all seen it – A beautifully designed restaurant ruined by cheap, outdated carpeting. The floors are just as important as the walls so choose a carpet that is just as beautiful as the rest of the place. A neutral carpet that matches your motif is your best bet.
Confusing or Cluttered Floor Plan
An important element in modern restaurant design demands restaurant owners use open floor plans for their establishments. Floor plans that are cluttered with tables and seats too close together, for example, can be difficult for customers, hosts, and servers to navigate. At the same time, you want to avoid placing tables and chairs so far apart that customers feel displaced and not connected to the rest of the eatery. Instead, you could use a combination of booths and tables that are conveniently placed along walls, close to the bar, or spaced reasonably in open areas. This will leave enough room for everyone to walk around the restaurant without bumping into the furniture and each other.
Mixed Message Decorations
Many restaurants adhere to certain themes in their decor. For example, sports bars often hang up pictures of favorite sports teams as well as memorabilia like trophies, basketballs, and baseball bats on the walls. Restaurants with Italian themes may use empty Chianti bottles and pictures of Venice in their decorations. Cohesive and sensible decorations that stick to a particular theme go over well with customers. However, restaurants that use decorations that send mixed messages can be unnerving for customers to visit or in some instances repel paying customers entirely. Rather than attempt to mesh together several different themes or decoration ideas, you should choose one and decorate to reflect it accordingly.
Lack of Directional Signage
Directional signage in a restaurant can be helpful and comforting to customers. The signs tell them where the exits are, in what areas of the restaurants the bathrooms are located, and even in what direction to walk in and out of the dining area. If you forget to place directional signage, you could unintentionally make your restaurant off-putting and unwelcoming to your clientele. You essentially are telling them that they are on their own to figure out the layout of the place and that you are too busy or do not care enough to help them feel at ease while they are dining there.
Exposed Service Areas
Few things turn the stomachs of paying customers than seeing or hearing what goes on in the service areas of a restaurant. After all, who wants to look at a tub full of dirty dishes or a bin full of dirty restaurant linen? These sights take the fun and intrigue out of dining at their favorite restaurant. While you need service areas for your hosts and wait staff, you should make sure they are out of sight of your customers. You could place them by the kitchen or food pickup window, for example. You also could set them up in each corner of the restaurant so the main area is reserved for seats, tables, and your customers.
Inconvenient Bathroom Doors
The doors on the bathrooms can also influence how happy customers are with their experiences at your restaurant. You ideally want the doors to swing out rather than in toward the bathroom. If they swing in toward the bathroom, they could hit someone on the door’s other side and also inadvertently expose customers who are using the facilities. These common restaurant design mistakes are critical to avoid if you want customers to feel happy and at ease. They allow patrons to enjoy their meals without being inconvenienced. They also are practical and provide for a certain measure of safety for people who come in and out of your restaurant.