Planning the layout of your restaurant can make or break your business. It decides how many customers you can serve at any one time, influences the quality of the service and allows you to accommodate different groups of people. The furniture you choose is central to the layout so must be considered right from the start.
Of course you need to fit as many customers in as possible, but that’s not to say you should leave a cramped atmosphere. This will displease customers and stop them coming back to your restaurant – they might even complain about the lack of space. Find a happy medium that lets you utilize all the space well. This includes:
Leaving space for essentials like the bar, the waitress station and enough room between tables for waitresses to get through without bumping into each other. This allows your staff to work in an efficient manner and keeps your customers happy. If you make life difficult for staff thanks to a poor restaurant layout they’ll work slower and make more mistakes.
Buying multi-functional furniture. This lets you accommodate varying party sizes easily, from a single diner by themselves to large corporate groups. Many types of furniture can achieve this, two of which are modular styles and also folding furniture. Single diners especially can take up a lot of room without making you a lot of money, so it’s very useful to have smaller furniture options for them.
Not relying on contract furniture measurements in a catalogue. Always go and see the furniture in person or ask for a sample so you can see it in person. Some furniture styles are bigger and bulkier than others and will take up far more room than you expected. This can throw your best-laid plans into chaos as you realize free space between tables has shrunk and the restaurant now has a cluttered, claustrophobic feel.
Using the corners of rooms. A lot of restaurants, especially those with angular bars or interior partitions, find it difficult to use the corners to their maximum potential. You don’t want to cram any poor diners in there and make them face a wall at close proximity, but you don’t want to leave the space open because then it’s wasted. One solution is to use a large, circular table in the corner and utilize the space for groups. This means that someone is sat right in the corner but no-one actually faces the wall.
Finally, planning all the little details that make dining in your restaurant convenient and pleasurable. A coat stand by the entrance for example where people can hang their coats and umbrellas, bag hooks underneath the tables so diners know their belongings are safe and clearly signposted bathrooms that are easy to find and easily accessible. A good space around the bar if diners have to pay here is also a good idea, otherwise you’ll have to deal with queues forming that get in everyone’s way. All these things just make the dining experience nicer and will keep people coming back again and again.