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  • Writer's pictureMauli Gupta

Restaurant Design 101: How to plan an effective layout?

Many factors influence the overall customer experience in a restaurant. While we generally center around the food and the service, we frequently neglect the restaurant layout, which in actuality has a huge impact on the general experience of the customer.

Photo credit - Light Speed

Factors that influence the layout of a restaurant:

As you begin to develop your restaurant’s layout and design, try to answer the following from your customers' point of view:

  • What would it feel like to walk through?

  • To sit down?

  • To order a meal?

  • What experience are you delivering to your diners?

Making a restaurant floor plan includes knowing each anthropometric practicality, that is, the space needed for human sitting and movement, the space you have, and making optimum use of the space, remembering the requirements of your business.

The most basic component of any eatery is the chair and the table. Depending on restaurant type, menu, table setting, and the level of intimacy required, table size and general seating space prerequisites can and ought to shift significantly. A restaurant that supports the quick turnover of clients will normally give a more modest tabletop and seat. Then again, restaurants that support restricted turnover and underline the dining experience will normally offer bigger tabletop sizes and more comfortable seats.

Photo credit - Dowel jones
Photo credit - Dezeen

Apart from ergonomic factors, several other factors that influence the layout of a restaurant, namely:

  1. Type of restaurant - The restaurant design will vary depending on the kind of service provided. Whether it is a beverage and snacks eatery, or if it is a fine dining restaurant.

  2. Method of service - The restaurant design will very much depend on whether the staff would serve the food, or if it is a self-service restaurant.

  3. Area available - The restaurant design heavily depends upon the whole proportion and area available. Based on this, the number of tables, size of tables, type of decor will vary.

Importance of Layout and Design

The efficiency of the design will reflect the ease with which activities are carried in the restaurant. Here are a few reasons why paying attention to restaurant layout and design is an absolute necessity:-

  1. Optimum Utilization Of Seating And Smooth Circulation - The space design ought to be made so that it permits the staff to move smoothly with food and drinks in the restaurant and permits the customers to move all through the restaurant freely.

The dining room layout must maximize the seating space, without compromising the comfort and mobility of the diners and the staff. The layout must maintain an efficient circulation pattern, while also focusing on the comfort and enjoyment of the customers.

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  1. Connectivity Between The Restaurant Frontend And Backend - The restaurant design should allow the smooth circulation of the items from the storage to the kitchen. If the storage is too far away from the kitchen, the staff would face unnecessary hassles transferring the stock items to the kitchen and lead to delays in the preparation of food.

It is necessary that the restaurant kitchen and storage are well separated from the customer seating area and ventilated so that the smell and noise of preparation and cooking do not reach the customers.

  1. Comfort for diners and staff

  2. Thermal and Indoor air quality - The internal heat gains are extremely high in all restaurants (particularly in kitchens) because of cooking, lighting, electrical hardware, and the number of clients. HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) forms an important feature for achieving a functional restaurant design.

  3. Acoustics - Restaurants, in general, are noisy spaces. With music playing, and people talking, and the overall acoustical quality of space has a significant impact on the customer experience. Thus, false ceilings and soft surfaces can be included in the restaurant design to maintain the acoustics of the restaurant space.

Lighting - Light in restaurants can be divided into three categories- Ambient, Accent, and Mood Lighting. While Ambient lighting is used for normal functions, accent lighting is focused on a particular area. Mood lighting is for the aesthetic, and it is the combination of these three that define light in restaurant design.

Photo credit - Nickleith Smith

Good Tables - While creating a layout for a restaurant, ensuring that every table is a good table is a struggle. People tend to avoid tables that are prone to disturbances, like near the bathroom or in the middle of the room. Space separators or screens can be used to utilize these areas while maintaining proper circulation.

Photo credit - Archinect

Basic Requirements of a Restaurant:

The spatial arrangement of the floor plan ought to be so that there are two essential practical spaces. These are "the front of the house"- comprising the entrance, waiting area, Billing, Dining region, Bar/Lounge area all well connected with "the rear of the house"- addressing the kitchen, storeroom, admin, and staff room.

1. Entrance -

Your Restaurant Entrance should be:

  • Able to draw people in and make them feel immediately comfortable.

  • Well maintained & easy to open.

  • It is inviting and welcoming.

A well-designed restaurant plan ought to preferably give sufficient space at the entrance that is inviting and evokes curiosity in the customer to come in and eat.

Photo credit- Design milk

2. Dining room layout

Tables - The seating area should be designed with at least three sizes of tables with the motive to accommodate small, medium, and large parties accordingly. Between every dining table, there should be a standard of 3-4 ft to avoid any chaos and disturbance. There should be ample space that allows for the free and seamless movement of the servers.

source- freepik

Waiting - The waiting area is often overlooked while creating restaurant designs. There should be an area where customers can sit or stand while they wait for a table, without disrupting the flow.

Billing - There should be a minimization of the staff running back and forth between the payment stations. There should be enough space for customers to form a queue if required.

3. Kitchen-

Kitchen must be planned in a way to form zones like : pre-preparation area, food assembly and packing, and washing area. This allows the kitchen staff to move in quickly, swiftly, and efficiently.

4. Restrooms-

Restrooms leave a lasting impression on the mind of the customer. They should have sufficient lighting and be easy to clean and maintain. Every customer will appreciate sparkling, clean, and large enough restrooms to accommodate multiple guests. The restrooms should be easy to access for the customers without unnecessary wandering.

It is advisable that the restrooms shall also have wheelchair access for catering to the specific needs of physically challenged customers.

Photo credit - Archdaily

Key Takeaways

Restaurant floor plans are ultimately a balancing act between various functional needs and requirements of restaurant design. Designing a floor plan may appear to be a little simpler undertaking when contrasted with financing, authorizing, or development that accompanies beginning a business. But the restaurant floor plan is a critical aspect of effective restaurant design.

Include these tips in your restaurant design and plan, and they’d surely help improve the overall ambience and customer experience and also increase the efficiency of your restaurant!

If you need help with designing your restaurant, email us at or leave us a message here. We'll be happy to help you out.

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