Alanna Hale . In today’s hectic world, people find that the demands of work and life conspire to keep them busy away from home. This hectic pace has prompted people to view meals as a rare opportunity to relax and socialize. As more people seek both nourishment and amusement from their dining experiences, dining out has taken on an increasingly glamorous, celebratory air. This trend toward restaurant dinner parties has prompted restaurateurs to turn to restaurant design professionals who specialize in creating environments that enhance the dining experience.
Providing top quality food is no longer enough to guarantee a restaurant’s success. While fine food and superior customer service are crucial factors in encouraging repeat business, a restaurant’s interior design is equally important. The dining environment should allow customers to enjoy meals in comfort. Savvy restaurant owners understand that developing an appealing, innovative design plan plays a significant role in attracting and keeping customers.
The design of a restaurant sets the stage for a customer’s experience. Loud music and Formica tables set with plastic cups create an entirely different atmosphere than soft jazz and linen tablecloths topped with fine china. By carefully considering all aspects of the restaurant environment, owners can develop a successful design plan.
A restaurant’s design plan should strike a balance between an inviting ambiance and high seating capacity. The dining room should be able to seat enough customers to keep the restaurant busy and profitable while maintaining an environment that ensures the comfort of guests. Some types of restaurants, such as casual diners, will focus more heavily on seating capacity. Restaurants offering fine dining place greater focus on ambiance.
When planning the layout of the dining room, owners should always take into account customer preferences. Most guests do not enjoy sitting near the kitchen, restrooms or front entrance. Tables located in the middle of the dining room are also less popular with guests. Many of these problem areas can be altered or disguised with strategic placement of furnishings that act as dividers. Before finalizing the design of the dining room, take time to sit in each chair and evaluate the view from the perspective of the potential customer.
Music is an important aspect of design, helping to set the tone in a restaurant. Choose music that complements the theme of the restaurant. Hiring a talented musician or group has the potential to draw crowds more effectively than any dinner special. Many modern restaurants feature live entertainment on certain nights, often weekends.
Heating and cooling are important considerations for all restaurants. Because restaurant kitchens create significant amounts of heat and smoke, proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining a comfortable environment. Adequate cooling is also vital, as a dining room that lacks air conditioning will turn away customers during hot summer months. Maintaining good ventilation and temperature control, while expensive, is vital to attracting and keeping customers. Skimping in this area will only lead to lost sales.
Developing a restaurant design that takes into account all of these factors takes time and significant financial investment. However, hiring an experienced, professional designer can lead to high return on investment and years of success.
Paul Kelly is the man behind some of Australia’s most successful food and beverage venues. Coming into our 15th year of business, Paul Kelly Design is turning the corner on 150 projects, each a signature space, each uniquely different and each one a personal creation of Paul Kelly and his team.
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