Feng-shui, what's that? While advanced designing methods may ask you to balance the forces of nature, we've provided you with some valuable tips on achieving harmony in your restaurant space- without the complex checkboxes.
First things first- how do you want your restaurant to feel? Are you located near the shore, going for a nautical or beach-shack vibe? Are you a pub, busiest at night when the hustle and bustle are heavy? Chances are, you imagine how a space feels over focusing on the large details that you think are important. At the same time, a small detail, like your lights being too bright, music too loud, or no music at all, can put a real damper on your space.
Diners' experiences should be all-encompassing to the senses, not just flavor. More is needed than just having outstanding food. You must also consider the visual and audible experiences, and the smells come secondhand to the food being prepared and served all around. Are the table lights too bright or dim? Are the tables so close together that diners can't distinguish their conversation from the neighbors'? You want your space to feel inviting, not abrasive, and sectioned so that it's understandable to those within it. Have clear paths for navigating the space and adequate room between chairs and tables. Your layout should indicate a clear path to being greeted and seated, and then provide plenty of room to leave your seats and go around the room to restrooms and exits. Lighting for your tables shouldn't be overpowering but should give suitable lighting for the mood and for navigating the room. During the day, you may have plenty of natural lighting, but at night you may need to turn on some fill lights to light the space, so people don't stumble and accidentally bump into things. Still, no one likes a spotlight on them while they're dining. Light the room, not the diners.
In addition to suitable lighting and spacing in your restaurant, you want decorative items to be on-theme and on-brand. For example, suppose you own a steakhouse, and you want it to feel like a cozy country restaurant. In that case, you shouldn't have nautical elements inside throwing it off, such as nets, life floats, and anchors. You can imagine, instead, wood paneling with some vintage farming equipment and/or photos. Add plant life to promote the feeling of freshness- this is an excellent tip for sushi restaurants and other restaurants that serve fresh food items like fish and vegetables.
So far, you might think that you've seen many restaurants that fit those descriptions- so how do you stand out? With exciting, unique signage and menus, of course. Let your logo shine and use it as a focal point when diners enter the building. Combined with a unique, easy-to-navigate menu, customers will always remember how your space made them feel when the setting is done right, along with what truly makes you special: your food, ingredients, and ability to provide the right experience.
Add interesting, on-brand focal points on the walls. Wall sculptures, pictures, paintings, and interesting lighting accents can inspire creativity and conversation. Ever heard the saying that you can come up with more creative ideas in a messy room? We want to take the "mess" but make it look intentional and on-brand. Does your decor leave diners sitting there in silence or does it lead to them looking up, eyes bouncing around, shortly to be followed by a sudden idea or thought? As a restaurant owner, you provide the space where people make memories centered around food. Filling the walls with things to find as your eyes bounce around promotes creative thought, therefore, exciting conversation. As usual, keep it fun and professional. You can even host creative works monthly for local artists who'd like to hang their pieces to sell. Doing this will keep the space fresh while bringing in new potential customers, including the artist and those in their circle!
Mirrors are excellent tools for giving the illusion of a larger space, especially in restaurants that are tight on space. One of the things that makes them so versatile for any restaurant brand is the ability to frame or shape them in any way that fits your theme. You can even etch a mirror to put a design or text on it. Not only are reflective elements such as glass and mirrors fitting for a restaurant environment, but they provide the perfect contrast to other elements such as wood, fabrics, and matte-finished metals.
Go bold on your ceiling. Chances are, keeping it white isn't doing you any favors. Instead, make it interesting with a fitting color or intricate ceiling tiles to add texture. If you have unsightly ventilation on your ceiling, paint it monochromatically to simplify it. Then, hang lighting fixtures strategically from the ceiling as new focal points.
Use signage to create flow in your restaurant space. Maybe the layout of your restaurant doesn't allow for a natural flow, or perhaps you constantly get asked questions like, "Where's the bathroom? Where do we sit?" Use obvious but fitting signs to guide diners throughout the space. Also, signage in your restaurant can show much of your restaurant's personality in the design- take advantage of that! Let the artwork demonstrate your professionalism, character, and practicality (make it readable to all patrons- young and old).
Remember, the visuals on your menus, table tents, and signs must remain unique to your restaurant and be on-brand. Using the steakhouse/country cottage-feel example, you wouldn't want a restaurant like that to come out with a menu that has race cars and checkers all over it. It just wouldn't fit. You'd expect a cheap burger and fries from a menu like that, and that's different from how you want your steakhouse to feel. You'd want it to feel more upscale, maybe even rustic, for that authentic, straight-from-the-farm effect. Keep the themes between your decor and your menus/signage on the same page.
The best waterproof option for menus is by far TerraSlate Waterproof Menus. Not only does it repel liquids, including grease, but it's also rip-proof. That means each menu lasts longer and can be easily wiped clean between diners. An added bonus is that TerraSlate Waterproof Menus comes with an antimicrobial, antiviral coating that helps reduce germs' spread. And you know what? People care that the space they're in is clean, especially following recent years. Cleanliness affects the room just as much as any decorative element. In fact, cleanliness can be a deal breaker regarding whether a diner returns to your restaurant.
Values can also shape whether a customer returns or not. Now more than ever, people care whether they're patrons of businesses that source locally, source organically, and are engaged in the triad of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Luckily, TerraSlate can help you. By providing more sustainable menus that can be reused time and time again, you won't have to toss the tired, fraying laminated menus in the trash anymore. The foodstuff, though- that's up to you!