New restaurants are important to the health of the dining industry. They bring freshness of purpose to the industry, and help keep established players on their toes. When you open a new restaurant, then, you aren’t simply aiming to do well by yourself — the industry depends on you for inspiration.
It’s more than the food
When you open a new restaurant, it is rarely just the menu or the service that will be discussed by restaurant reviewers. The idea for restaurants is to sell an experience, and not just nourishment. The ambience and the entertainment value designed into the experience are a huge part of what both restaurant goers and reviewers look forward to.
While you will certainly have expert interior designers taking charge, every choice that they make will be informed by the clarity and knowledge that you bring to the table. You need to be psychologically prepared to walk with the experts.
It is about creating a whole
The standard expected of restaurants tends to be so high today, you couldn’t attempt to think about the different parts of their design on their own. If you catch a certain attractive furniture model on Pinterest that you like, or a design theme for waitstaff uniforms that seems impressive, you can’t simply think about them in isolation. They would need to go with the design theme of the restaurant in appearance, choice of material and quality, as well. It won’t do, in other words, to decide to cut back on the quality of the carpeting, and splurge on the cutlery. Restaurant reviewers easily notice such incongruity.
One of the safest ways to approach design choices is to go with the neutral and the low key. The fewer the patterns, strong colors and shapes that you pick, the safer you will be from the possibility of making a mistake.
In restaurants, quality can be more about wear resistance than beauty
No matter how beautiful delicate silk upholstery, rich wool pile carpeting and fine furniture polishes may be, they are not likely to function well in a restaurant environment. These are high-wear environments where nothing but hardy stuff tends to make it past a few months. It takes thick, strong, materials such as oak, and heavy fabrics, to survive a restaurant environment. Quality is also about the ability to bear weight. Restaurants can have all kinds of guests, including ones who are very heavy. The furniture that you choose needs to be good for any kind of load that it is subjected to.
Aiming for a design aesthetic in keeping with your customer demographic
While you may admire design choices that you see at other restaurants, you need to make sure before you make them a part of your design that they would go well for the kind of guest demographic that you plan to cater to. Minimalism may be very attractive at a high-end Japanese restaurant, and muted lighting may work well at a French restaurant. These choices work for these restaurant themes, though, only because the kind of clientele that they hope to draw would expect it. If you are aiming for a family restaurant theme, a romantic restaurant or a casual dining experience, you need to find the look that your guests would be comfortable with.
Include everyone in the design decisions that you make
Restaurants are a type of show. These can be hard to successfully put together unless every person who is part of the show is fully invested in it. This can only happen when they are consulted and involved in the decision-making process
Ellen Grant has plenty of restaurant experience to call upon and likes to share her industry insights and experiences with anyone thinking about setting up a food business. She is a regular contributor for several business opportunity and lifestyle websites.