Successful Restaurant Design Starts with a Plan

A successful restaurant design relies on a hundred of complex invisible variables and factors that all contributes to its success. Some technical and strategic factors like market study and menu analysis are in our hands and some natural and unforeseen factors like luck and economic fluctuations are not. So let’s leave the latter to the universe and discuss what we can do to assure a healthy successful restaurant design.

A restaurant is a complex machine where all parts need to work in harmony, and each element has its own crucial role to play in delivering a seamless operation. The Front of the House (the dining area) and the Back of the House (the kitchen area) both need to sync well to deliver a fine dining experience be it in a café, a bar or a 5 star restaurant. Supposedly, if it’s a fast food restaurant design where there is plenty of space provided for dining, but the kitchen area is not laid out well, it will only lead to long queues and exasperation. On a separate note, if you are selling spa cuisine and you have a big costly deep fryer in your kitchen to serve fried chips. That’s erroneous concept building and just a waste of money.

Conceptualizing a restaurant design is a Capital Investment and a thorough research needs to be done in order to evade undesirable circumstances. The secret to a successful restaurant design would be to build a beautiful relationship between the menu and the design of the restaurant by conducting a detailed market study of the ins and outs and the pros and cons of everything in between.

Here would be a list of seven factors you should carefully consider and research prior to materializing any restaurant plan.

fast food restaurant cartoon

1.  Type of Restaurant Design

Your research should typically start from deciding the type of restaurant you would like to open. This can depend on a variety of other factors like:

  • Location of the place
  • Personal Interest
  • In vogue and demand
  • Budget

A restaurant design needs to be created for a cafe, a bar, a take-out, fast-food, drive-through, hotel, an arcade or a family restaurant, all inviting different menu items and budget to the table. If you have a place near a school or a university or a hostel, a fast food and convenience food items may be in high demand. Or if you have a place near busy shopping market, a family restaurant may do just fine. But this again can depend how well the restaurant has been developed and conceptualized.

After deciding the type of restaurant you would still need to give it a unique identity by choosing from the following factors:

  • Themed or non-themed
  • Ethnic or generic
  • Free standing or Sitting
  • Take away only
typical business lunch

2.  Market Study

The importance of a market study before embarking on the venture cannot be overemphasized. Without it, its simply like shooting aimless darts in the dark. The dart would land anywhere. The most expensive decor and delectable dishes might fail to attract customers if not catered to the local market interests. Studying the market will give you immense knowledge and wisdom to make critical decisions during the restaurant design process. The economics of market study tell us to look into the following factors while doing a market study for any business venture.

  1. Regional Culture
  2. Is there a hole in the market
  3. Competition
  4. Environment
handwritten restaurant menu

3. Restaurant Design and Menu Planning

The aforementioned activities will provide us with immense information to conceptualize a menu, keeping in mind the type of restaurant we are opening and the demand for it in the market. The menu is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and is the most crucial part of the business. The menu has to cater to the interest of the customers living in that area and should complement the type of restaurant it is. So for example a food joint selling spa cuisine should not have fried or fatty items in the menu

A popular menu these days is one which provides appetizing and nutritious meals at prices which are acceptable to the customers. and at the same time covers the operating and service costs. Be honest with your ingredients, nutritional values and quality. Here are some of the factors to be considered before planning a lucrative menu:

  • Type of Cuisine
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Availability of food products
  • Service and Preparation times
  • Customer Demographics,
  • Religious and cultural beliefs if applicable

The restaurant design should revolve around the menu; which should be dynamic, constantly reviewed, renewed and marketed in terms of products and be consistent with your restaurant concept and branding.

restaurant budgeting

4.  Budgeting

Budgeting will allow you cut the coat according to the cloth. With enough market study and planning, you should have the budget with you to move forward to the next phase. Budgeting will allow you to decide.

  • Whether to lease or purchase the location
  • Whether to buy old or new equipment
  • Whether to hire and an interior designer and a consultant
  • Recruitment of staff
  • The Decor style considerations
coffee shop restaurant design

5. Kitchen Planning

The kitchen is the heart of any restaurant design and planning is very healthy for it. Every nook and corner of the kitchen has to be wisely put to use to increase efficiency of work, quality of food and hygiene. The menu dictates what populates the kitchen. In crowded kitchens strategic design plays a big role. Here are some of the factors to be considered.

6. Speed and Style of Service

Fast food restaurants have less execution and wait time and typically achieve this with either precooked or semi cooked to reduce time. If such a restaurant opens in an area with proximity to schools or colleges, the probability of a good show is high. Here should be some factors to be kept in mind while choosing the style and speed of service for your restaurant design:

  • Location
  • Space
  • Population/Demand
  • Budget
  • Strategy
alcoholic bar drinks

7. Theme and Philosophy

Every restaurant design should focus on its own identity and something that makes it special. Either a world famous dish, flawless service or beautiful decor and culinary execution, every restaurant should have a certain theme. Be it traditional, modern, renaissance or fictional. The restaurant should also have its own rules and code of conduct which should be levied in all the chains to ensure continuity throughout your brand

We’ve helped develop dozens of business plans with clients over the years, and know how daunting of a task it can be when you are starting from scratch. We always recommend using a software platform to make things easier after you’ve completed your food cost analysis, using our Free Food Cost Calculator.

Need Help Creating Your Business Plan or Financial Templates?

Go to our Business Resources page to purchase downloadable copies of our templates,
or check out the other valuable business planning resources we suggest to our clients.

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