If your restaurant has excellent food, guests will overlook a lot of the finer details. However, a successful restaurant comes down to more than just the food. You also have to think about elements like restaurant design, layout, and functionality.

Why Restaurant Design Matters

For many people, an afternoon or evening out at a restaurant is just as much about the experience and ambiance as it is about the actual food itself. People often choose restaurants based on the vibe and want to spend time in places that allow them to feel a particular way. Restaurant design allows you to inspire very specific feelings in your customers.

“In the age of Instagram, interior design is your restaurant’s silent salesman,” The Restaurant Times explains. “Everybody wants to post where they have been all day, and if your restaurant looks Instagramable, it will make it to your customer’s feed and entice their entire follower list.”

The question is, what goes into your restaurant design? Well, there are a few key elements. This includes architecture, layout, lighting, seating, colors, acoustics, and even scent. Each of these elements works together with your food, wait staff, and service to create an overall experience that (hopefully) resonates with people.

4 Restaurant Design Tips

As you think about restaurant design, there are several different directions you can go. However, we recommend beginning with a focus on the following tips:

1. Make it Functional

Design isn’t just about aesthetics – there’s also a functional element to it. And if your restaurant’s interior design doesn’t work properly from a functionality perspective, it’ll never be a success. Pay especially close attention to the location of different elements and areas – including dining areas, the bar, restrooms, the kitchen, and the flow between each.

“The location of all the elements, from circulation spaces to seating areas to the bar, all contribute to the operations of a space,” restaurant designer Jo Sampson says. “If people can’t get a drink or the food is stone-cold, then the space fails, and that affects the business.”

Creating a functional design that’s still beautiful is one of the bigger challenges of designing compelling restaurants that people want to spend time in. However, if you can build with this foundation in mind, everything else will fall into place. Sites like onepointpartitions.com can help you find a functional bathroom design suitable for your restaurant’s needs.

2. Use Appropriate Signage

Signage is one of those things that people often see as an afterthought. However, good signage has a significant impact on the overall ambiance and practicality of a space.

In a fine dining establishment, you want signage to be very understated and tasteful. You wouldn’t want a big cardboard sign with large red letters that read “R-E-S-T-R-O-O-M.” That would be a bit alarming and out of place. Instead, you might want a simple black sign with a gold outline of a man and a woman to indicate the location of the washrooms.

If you have a bar area, installing custom menu boards with drink specials is a good option. It can even be used to increase the sale of higher-margin items by emphasizing them.

3. Get Control Over Lighting

Lighting can really make or break a restaurant’s ambiance. You can have the trendiest and coziest fine dining in town, but if you have harsh fluorescent overhead lighting, it’ll kill the vibe. Likewise, having dim, low lighting in a casual burger spot that people pop in and out of for a quick, cheap lunch can be a turn-off. It’s all about finding the right fit.

That’s why we recommend installing dimmable canned lighting that you’re able to adjust for different times of the day.

4. Choose Colors Wisely

Colors have a significant impact on emotions. Choose them wisely when designing your restaurant’s interior. When it comes to restaurant walls, think about the type of experience you’re trying to convey.

In a fine dining establishment, warm earth tones like browns or deep reds usually work well. If you have a small space that you want to seem bigger, lighter tones and pastels are effective at creating the illusion of more space.

Adding it All Up

Restaurant design is one of the more challenging yet important elements of creating a successful restaurant. It’s one of the three pillars of success (alongside food and service). It’s also one of the trickiest to get right.

Whether you’re building a new restaurant from scratch or redesigning or rebranding an existing one, keep the aforementioned design tips in mind. Emphasizing them from the start will yield a restaurant that people love.