Restaurant Design

For millions of Americans, dining at a restaurant is more than eating a meal out — it’s a form of entertainment. That means guests don’t want to “feel at home.” They want a memorable experience away from home. Savvy eateries understand that restaurant design is critical component of that memorable experience.

Well-planned restaurant designs contribute to the success and the profits of any dining establishment (for all segments and categories: QSR, fast-casual, family restaurants, etc.) Planning your design begins with market research, continues with understanding market trends, and concludes with strategic execution.

Design has made its mark on the restaurant industry with concepts like the Rainforest Café, Planet Hollywood, and Mars 2112. Of course, it’s not necessary to wrap your restaurant interior design around a space-aged theme to provide a pleasant atmosphere for guests. The point is the design should cater to the tastes of its target market.

The way a restaurant is designed has a dramatic impact on the type of guests the restaurant attracts. The Rain Forest Café’s restaurant interior design, for example, appeals to environmentally-minded guests who enjoy a nature-made experience, while the 50’s Prime Time Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios appeals to guests who get a kick out of a blast from the past.

Creative restaurant design, however, does not require a million-dollar investment if you understand the nuances of consumer marketing.

Design experts with specific expertise in the restaurant industry are equipped with the knowledge and skill to create a dining experience that fosters word of mouth marketing long after the meal is over and guests have left the dining room.

When it comes to designing a restaurant, not just any designer will do. Restaurants require a different flavor, a different flare and different experience than the average residential interior designer or corporate designer has to offer.

To be sure, restaurant design requires an in-depth understanding of how restaurants flow, how employees will interact with the design, and how site architecture could impact the design. The most successful restaurant design, blended with irresistible food and impeccable service, breeds repeat guests, spirited employees and greater profitability.

We rounded up some of our best insights on restaurant design to give restauranteurs a better idea of what’s involved.

Restaurant Design Tips

When opening a new restaurant, building first and asking questions later is expensive, and with some guests you only get one chance to get it right. From restaurant branding and interior decoration to silverware and dinnerware sets, façade, signage, ambience, and ventilation, we present 18 restaurant design tips to stand out when launching a new concept.


Elements of Restaurant Design


Restaurant Design and Development Considerations

In this article we provide insight into the considerations and complexities of designing a restaurant as they relate to both independents as well as multi-national chains pursuing renovations and new growth concepts.

Common Restaurant Interior Design Mistakes

Walking inside a restaurant is like walking into the belly of an advertisement.  Everything communicates. Unlike typical ads which often just engage one, two, or three senses maximum, a restaurant engages all five of the human senses.  This raises the stakes substantially on customer expectations and performance levels necessary to compete effectively today. We rounded up some of the most common restaurant interior design errors.


Mistakes in Restaurant Interior Design

Restaurant Floor Plans

Restaurant’s specific needs need to be considered before jumping into the design process. Restaurant floor plans and layouts should be influenced by business plans and branding strategy and kitchens, restrooms, and seating have to be optimized for efficiency.

Restaurant Interior Design

To be sure, restaurant interior design requires an in-depth understanding of how restaurants flow, how employees will interact with the design, and how site architecture could impact the design. The most successful designs will blend with irresistible food and impeccable service, breeds repeat guests, spirited employees, and greater profitability.

Pizza Restaurant Design Ideas

The pizza restaurant industry sells about $145b worth of pizza each year globally. In the U.S., close to 60% of pizzerias are chains. In this context, it can be hard to differentiate. Being “inviting” is not enough. We present some pizza restaurant design ideas and novel design elements that can be considered in remodeling a restaurant.

Hotel Restaurant Design Ideas

We present examples of innovative hotel restaurant designs that maximized their available space, improved revenue with higher table turnover, and achieved excellent guest scores.

Hotel Design Ideas from Around the World

The way of thinking about lodging has gotten much more creative in the last few years. In this article we present innovative hotel design ideas that can inspire your concept development.

Design for Restaurant Uniforms

Branding every element of your operation is key to creating an image that stands apart from the crowd. Restaurant uniforms are a great opportunity for branding.

Questions to Ask of Your Restaurant Design

We present what questions to ask so that the design of your restaurant can successfully represent your brand.


Aaron Allen & Associates works alongside senior executives of the world’s leading foodservice and hospitality companies to help them solve their most complex challenges and achieve their most ambitious aims, specializing in brand strategy, turnarounds, commercial due diligence and value enhancement for leading hospitality companies and private equity firms.

Our clients span six continents and 100+ countries, collectively posting more than $200b in revenue. Across 2,000+ engagements, we’ve worked in nearly every geography, category, cuisine, segment, operating model, ownership type, and phase of the business life cycle.