Successful Restaurant Design

A successful restaurant design brings its brand and brand personality to life for all to see. To accomplish this, it needs to appear focused, functional, inviting and consistent — all while making enough room for possible expansion, renovation, and longevity.

Much like yearning for success in the early stages of any business, we need to keep reminding ourselves about the goal and why we started. CEOs often have paintings or quotes on the wall they can look at to remind them exactly to continue the work. This is why we should regularly evaluate the progress of the current state of the business and look far ahead into the future as hard as we can.

What makes a successful restaurant design?

A well-defined concept always has a better chance of long-term success than some vague notion. So know your brand and make sure it’s concrete in vision and focus. A compelling brand connects with clients in numerous ways and also serves as a catalyst for your restaurant’s future. Once you know your concept, ask yourself the following in relation to it:

Does your restaurant design have longevity?

Can you maintain your vision and success over the long term through your vision and brand? Or will you ultimately have to revise your brand repeatedly to adapt it to trends or client needs?

Is the restaurant design consistent?

No matter what, a strong, concrete brand strives to produce the same successes day-in and day-out, no matter the circumstances. That means everything in your restaurant must remain the same all the time, from the décor to the plate presentation to the manner of speech used by the wait staff. Without consistency, your brand loses credibility and appeal.

Does your restaurant design have market appeal?

Your brand may garner nationwide recognition or dining awards early on, but if it doesn’t connect well with clients in your city, it still needs focus. The goal of every restaurant, after all, is to be considered the first place a customer wants to eat when he or she wants to dine out. Achieve that and you’ve got yourself a winning concept.

Can your idea expand easily?

Winning brands always want to grow and reach more people. The ones that do this best possess the following qualities: broad customer appeal; consistency of quality and service; and management systems that are well-established and adaptable to nearly any situation anywhere.

I’ve got my restaurant design down. Now, what about actual construction? Because each restaurant is different, composing an effective restaurant design basically becomes a one-on-one undertaking between the operator and his restaurant designer. Before beginning to develop the concept, the restaurant designer must understand the operator’s concept, market position, and operational goals. Once knowing this, the team can then target its efforts towards visualizing those goals.

Once everyone is on the same page, you can start focusing on the specifics, such as size or amenities. However, while doing so, always ask yourself if these choices will successfully express personality of your brand or not.

Restaurant Design: Size and amenities.

Are you looking for a quiet atmosphere or a noisy one? Do you want soft lighting or energetic lighting? Do you want to promote a bar area or lounge or keep your restaurant primarily a place for dining? To determine this, examine your brand and ask yourself how each item fits into your overall scope. Also, look at your prospective profit margin, compare it with others in your niche and try to figure out how your sales would jump or fall with the addition of a bar area or liquor. How many people do I want to have in the restaurant at a given time? How fast do I want to deliver my food? Do I want my atmosphere to be casual or formal? In deciding this, remember that your goal is to cater to the most patrons possible without sacrificing service — and to convey your concept’s personality on all fronts, including those the customer never sees (kitchen, behind-the-scenes, etc.).

Restaurant Design: Location.

Most owners search for functional, visible places with affordable rents and utilities. But just as important is seeing how your brand fits in its external surroundings. If your concept is strong but your choice of location isn’t, your brand will still fail. This can be avoided by knowing your targeted customer base well — find out what they want, and their dining habits, then fill that void for them.

Restaurant Design: Cost.

An accurate budget is key to any restaurant design. You need to bring your concept to life, and purchase enough essentials like equipment and furniture, without bankrupting the rest of your plans. Likewise, you also need to create a budget that’s flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected. The last thing you want is to exhaust your funds before your concept opens — or worse still, while it’s still taking shape. Also, remember to put money back into your concept so that it remains fresh over time.

What else should I consider?

Don’t skimp on staffing. Though they may not be part of the immediate construction or décor, your staff will still be your primary brand connection to your clients. Without their help, you run the risk of alienating your customers.

By choosing the right people, and training them correctly, you will see your vision better realized and brought fully to life. To ensure your staff properly conveys your concept to the public, train them well by having them attend workshops in product knowledge and service tips. Also, hold pre-shift discussions regarding specific instructions.

Another good step, to ensure longevity of staff, is to create a work environment that encourages career growth and cross-training for other positions.