Whether you’ve just opened a restaurant, or you’ve had one for years, the interior design of your restaurant can impact your success. There are millions of restaurants in the U.S., and they’re all trying to stand out. If you’re part of the restaurant niche, you must do everything you can to help your restaurant make an impact.
Obviously, it starts with good food and solid marketing. However, once you get people in the door, you have to make sure their entire experience is perfect. From service to pricing, you’ve done all the research. However, the interior design is something that most restaurant owners neglect. The tiniest details matter and can make a huge difference.
So, let’s dive into four design tips for your restaurant’s interior to make sure that your restaurant’s first impression is a positive one.
Tip #1: Know Your Brand
Do you know your brand identity? Branding is an essential component of every business, and the restaurant business is no different. Branding is all about knowing who and what you are and represent as a company. It’s about identifying your target demographic and catering your design, marketing, and food to this demographic.
Do you know who your ideal patrons are? For instance, does your restaurant appeal to families, or is it more for date nights? What kind of colors and motifs communicate to this type of patron? Know your brand identity. This includes, what values you have, what your customers will appreciate, and more. Then, reference this brand identity throughout the entire design process.
Tip #2: Think About the Small Details
Even the smallest details matter in design. Think about silverware. Sure, buying cheap cutlery seems like the most cost-effective solution for purchasing silverware in bulk. However, what does flimsy silverware communicate to your guests?
It says that you’re a cheaper restaurant. It implies that your food is low-quality. This is why you’ll never find a steakhouse with cheap silverware. Beyond silverware, think about everything. Does your wait staff wear uniforms? Does your wait staff need to wear uniforms to stay on brand?
Think about menu design, too. A handwritten or poorly designed menu can say a lot about your restaurant, and usually not good things. Think about the restaurant table tops. Does reclaimed wood, metal, or plastic fit your vibe? What about rectangle versus circle tables?
When it comes to your restaurant’s design, every detail matters. The smallest thing could be sending the wrong message to your visitors.
Tip#3: Don’t Neglect the Bathrooms
We get it. Bathrooms are often an afterthought in design. However, neglecting to think about your bathroom’s design could be hurting your first impressions dramatically. A bathroom’s design is another opportunity to portray your brand.
If you’re a family-friendly restaurant, you’ll want to have changing stations and plenty of room in the stalls. If you’re a date night spot, you might have a vanity style sink, with complimentary lotions and perfumes. Whatever your branding is, you can use the bathroom as another opportunity to make an impact.
When it comes to the bathroom, though, the most important thing is cleanliness. Here’s why. If your bathrooms are kept dirty, your patrons will assume the kitchen is the same way. If you allow a bathroom to stay dirty, even though the customer can see it, they’ll immediately wonder about the state of the kitchen, which the customers can’t see.
Tip #4: Play with All the Senses
Lighting, acoustics, and smell are all critical components to nailing your restaurant’s design. You’ll want lighting that presents the vibe of your restaurant. Low lighting is relaxing. Candlelight is romantic. Bright lights encourage speed. Red lights make people eat more. Study the science of lights and how they affect mood, and make sure your lighting design creates your desired atmosphere.
Acoustics and music are also essential elements to design. You want your patrons to be able to hear each other. You don’t want your music too loud, but you also can use music to set an atmosphere. Like lighting, sounds have scientifically-backed effects on mood. Match your restaurant’s acoustics and sounds to your brand identity.
Smell and food go together. If your restaurant doesn’t smell appetizing, you’re in trouble. Make sure your ventilation isn’t letting in unwanted odors. Also, make sure the scent of your restraint is what you want it to be. If your restaurant isn’t fragrant, use fake aromas. Studies show that aroma is a necessary component of successful design.
For instance, if you want to sell more desserts, try lighting dessert-scented candles in hidden locations, and watch your dessert sales rise. The science between senses and sales is pretty remarkable, so make sure to play with all the senses in your restaurant’s design.
Be Thoughtful About Your Restaurant’s Design
These are just four tips to get you started. Ultimately, it comes down to branding and making sure that every detail is well thought out. Don’t underthink first impressions, because your restaurant’s design can literally make or break your success.