Designed for your Palate

In designing a restaurant, experts have traditionally considered the same kinds of issues that apply to other kinds of public settings: the design flow and the appeal of design to guests.  Recent research as well as informal observation reveals that design may be able to contribute to happier guests, higher spending, and faster table turns, all of which has a definite positive impact on a restaurant’s bottom-line.

The start-up

An effective restaurant design translates these needs to realistic requirements. For example, designs that encourage eye contacts are viable with lots of diagonal seating or a bar in a U shape might be well received in restaurants. “Designing of a restaurant is a very tedious process which involves various important considerations in the pre-design stage itself, to name a few. It’s very important to consider the nature and the format of the restaurant, ie, whether it’s a fine diner or a casual diner, a club or pub or a quick service restaurant. It is important to consider what segment of the market or what audiences are you intending to serve,” says Vyoum Ghai, Managing Director, Buzz

Restaurants Ltd.

The designing might include stimulating elements, such as high contrast in colours and textures, dramatic lighting and tighter seating placement. Care needs to be taken, however, to ensure that the design doesn’t become too chaotic or conflict with the other elements of the experience, namely the food and the personal service. “A basic design may turn out to be non-acceptable for an upmarket demography, whereas upmarket design may turn out to be too intimidating for a mid segment demography. Cuisine being served is a very important design consideration during the pre-design stage. Last but not the least – efficient functionality and layout of the space is also an essentiality,” Ghai adds.

Design process 

The steps in the restaurant design process can be expanded or collaged to suit your tastes for the level of detail.  There are hundreds of inter-dependent decisions and steps. It’s better to spend more time in planning and calculating soft costs of development with an expert rather than to rush in for the design.

Restaurant design is an important aspect for not only the dynamics of the restaurant but also for the business philosophy. There are some definite factors that need to be taken care of:

Cost: An accurate budget is key to any restaurant design. You need to create a budget that’s flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected. Also, remember to keep re-inventing your concept so that it remains fresh over time. “Costing basically depends on the place. It could be a lounge or a restaurant and bar. Investment could be anything between Rs 4 crore to 10-15 crore,” says Basab Paul, Owner, Vie Lounge and Deck.

 Entrance: We’ve all heard the expression “dumb as a doorknob”.  A doorknob requires a lot of attention. These actually speak on behalf of a restaurant before the hostess staff.

Space allocation: Thirty-five per cent of space should be allocated for back-end and utilities and remaining 65 per cent of space for front-end activities and guest areas. “Ideally it is 27 sq ft per person for front of the house. Open space is a bonus and should be used judiciously,” says Shiv Karan Singh, Co-owner, Smoke House Grill. 

Lighting set-up: Lighting can captivate moods and the wallets. “Lighting play major role in a restaurant, it changes moods. Too much bright lighting does not provide relaxed atmosphere and too dark makes hard to read menu. So the right balance has to be created when it comes to lighting. Evening lighting differs from day light,” says Pankaj Khandelwal, General Manager, Cafe Oz. A restaurant without a thoughtfully conceived lighting plan is not adequate.

Acoustical design: Sight, smell, taste and touch are considered in restaurant design projects, but sound gets left out in most of the cases. The restaurant industry and restaurant concept development have become so competitive that one must consider acoustical design, where we do or don’t hear music and ambient noise can make an impact.

Keep in mind

Overall design should be pragmatic enough to match with the format and keep the opex low. Overdoing will only end up in increased expenditure. It should bekept in mind that remodelling after identifying the mistakes is a sheer wastage. So, be cautious while planning the design.

Stay on top – Get the daily news from Indian Retailer in your inbox