A restaurant is made up of several different areas, and each area has its own unique purposes and functions. Therefore the design of your entire restaurant has to be well-thought and planned so that each area is capable of doing its job, but also works cohesively with the rest of the space.
If you are currently planning to open a restaurant or doing a major renovation to your existing operation, there are several things you should keep in mind and add to your design plan before you begin construction. It is much smarter to consider every detail – no matter how minute – before you begin, then having to redo at the end of construction. Good planning will also help you keep your budget in line.
A well-planned and well-designed operation will also allow you to hire better staff, deliver better customer service and serve better food. Below are some tips to consider in the key areas of your restaurant, not including the kitchen (as the kitchen is an entity of its own):
1. The entryway
The entryway is important as it is the first place that customers see, and the first impression you make. However, don’t waste valuable space here. All you need is a small and compact host stand for menus, a telephone and a POS system. Instead of a seating area, consider setting up a retail sales kiosk to earn extra profits by selling retail items from your restaurant like hats, T-shirts, bottled sauces or take-home desserts. Have guests sit at the bar instead of waiting at the hostess stand, as you can get your guests to start spending right away.
2. The bar
The bar area should be comfortable and inviting enough for guests to either sit there to wait for their table, or to enjoy their entire meal. The design of the bar should allow for at least 12 stools around the bar, as well as an area to display your wine and liquor collection. If possible, the addition of a few cozy booths and pub tables could encourage guests to stay longer.
For the bar service area, servers should be able to access their own non-alcoholic beverages like carbonated drinks, coffee and water to speed up service, allowing bartenders to pay more attention to their customers, and keep servers from waiting for the bartender to refill pop and coffee.
3. The server area
Make sure your servers have an area that is large enough for them to enter orders on the POS system, garnish plates, slice bread and fetch water. The station also needs to have shelving to hold extra utensils, napkins, linens, tip trays, condiments and other necessities.
4. Customer washrooms
Keep your customer washrooms easy to clean by using tile for both the floor and the walls. Make sure that you include large mirrors with flattering lighting, built-in towel units and garbage cans, and a diaper changing station in both the ladies’ and men’s rooms. If it’s in your budget, consider installing touchless fixtures to help keep restrooms clean.
5. The staff area
Ensure that you have a room or an area with lockers for staff to store their personal belongings, change into their uniforms, take their breaks or eat their meals. Make sure staff also has their own bathroom to use. The staff room can also be a place for your staff to relax, and a place for you to post staff information, schedules, positive customer reviews and contest winners.
6. The office
Every restaurant should have its own office for paperwork, computers and a safe. Your office should also have windows so you can see what is happening outside. Make sure your office is large enough to hold at least 3 desks.
7. The storage areas
A restaurant has several different types of products to store including beverages, food, pantry items, china, linens, chemical products and much more.
Keep in mind that you will need separate areas to store the following items including a separate beer storage area that needs to fit at least 3 to 4 kegs, and the cases of beer, as well as a liquor storage area that should measure around 8 by 10 feet. You will also need a separate climate-controlled area to store your wines.
You will need separate areas for clean linens including chefs’ jackets, aprons, towels, tablecloths and napkins, as well as an area for soiled linens.
Set up areas for your nonfood storage like takeaway containers, backup china, glassware and catering materials, as well as an area for your dry goods. Make sure you allow for a great deal of space between the shelves to fit industrial-sized containers, and that the shelves are strong enough to hold heavy bags of flour and sugar, and canned goods.
You will also need a chemical storage area, which might consist of a few shelves built above the mop sink.
For your walk-in refrigerator and freezer, consider using a computer-controlled climate system and energy efficient units. These additions might cost more at the onset, but will help save you money in the long run.
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