A good restaurant customer experience is what keeps people coming back for more. A bad restaurant experience, however, can lead to your demise—even if you offer great food.
When it comes to improving customer experience, there are several restaurant design and layout tips you can consider.
Tip One: Showcase Your Brand
Your brand is your business’s personality. When it comes to your restaurant design and layout, be sure to showcase what makes your business special. Understanding what your brand promotes will also help you make design choices later on.
For example, if your brand personality is comfortable and informal, this will influence decor, place settings, silverware, etc., as well as the types of uniforms your employees wear. If your brand is upscale and elegant, it will look very different than the restaurant described above.
Many large corporations create brand guidelines, which are official policies on what the brand is and how it can be used. You can start your own set of guidelines by writing down the basic ideas you have in mind about your brand's personality and expanding from there.
Tip Two: Look at Uniforms
Your restaurant uniform design should be an extension of your brand. The type of uniform you choose will be heavily influenced based on the vision you have for your restaurant and the experience you want customers to take part in.
For the cozy and informal restaurant, you may consider an official uniform of solid-colored slacks and a button-down. Some restaurants even allow employees to wear nice jeans or corduroys. At an upscale restaurant, the uniform will probably consist of more formal attire, such as a skirt and heels for ladies and dress pants and a tie for men.
Tip Three: Enhance the Menu
When it comes to restaurant design and layout, your menu is possibly the easiest element to optimize.
Your menu should be more than just a list with prices. Make menus as easy to read as possible, including professional and enticing photos of menu items. In fact, you should include photos of as many dishes as possible.
Improving your restaurant menu design by highlighting cuisine photos will greatly improve customer experience. It allows customers to better understand the finished product you’re offering and aid their decision-making. This is especially true if the food is something they’re inexperienced with.
Tip Four: Consider the Table
Your restaurant table design is made up of a variety of tables and chairs, tablecloths, silverware, plates, glasses, napkins, etc. How you use these items will vary greatly depending on the image your brand is trying to promote.
Cheap table design, like plastic silverware or paper tablecloths, will give the impression that your restaurant is a cheap establishment. Instead, you should tie your tableware design to your overall brand.
For a formal restaurant, you may consider heavier, metal silverware and fabric napkins. An informal restaurant may try a more basic setup, such as uncovered tables or finger food offered basket-style.
Tip Five: Minimize Bad Areas
While restaurant table design is important, so is the placement of said table. When it comes to customer experience, a lot of complaints can stem from seating in unfavorable or bad areas.
So how do you identify where the bad tables are in your restaurant? First, arrange the tables in your desired layout. Then, sit in every single chair at every single table in your restaurant. While you’re sitting, consider the proximity of other tables around you. Are you receiving too much or too little airflow? Would you hear sounds from the kitchen or smells from the bathroom in that seat?
Once you’ve targeted the bad areas, try to arrange the seating to have as few as possible. While eliminating these areas entirely may be impossible, the fewer the better.
Tip Six: Upgrade the Bathrooms
In every single restaurant, the bathrooms should be clean, well-kept, and checked on at least once per hour. A dirty, dingy or smelly bathroom will only create a bad restaurant experience for customers.
In reality, you should try to go above and beyond when it comes to your restaurant bathroom. It’s another piece of your brand that customers will experience.
If you have a color scheme for your restaurant, be sure to keep it consistent in the bathroom. You should also try to incorporate your brand in unique ways, such as a logo, iconic decor, etc. Be sure that the bathroom is easy to find by all guests as well, no matter where they’re seated.
Tip Seven: Go with the Flow
One very important aspect of restaurant design and layout is ensuring that movement is easy. It’s easy for a restaurant to get crowded when adding both customers and waitstaff.
Consider the customer first. Make it easy for customers to find their way inside the restaurant and to their table. Tables should not be too crowded together, or customers will be uncomfortable. It should also be easy for customers to find and maneuver their ways to the bathroom.
The route waitstaff use to carry food should also be straightforward and open, lending a hand to quicker and more efficient service. This will also reduce the number of accidents related to limited and cluttered space.
Tip Eight: The Total Ambiance
The ultimate restaurant customer experience comes from the perfect ambiance. The ideal ambiance for your restaurant can be accomplished with a mixture of lighting and acoustics.
There needs to enough lighting for customers to easily see their food. Everyone wants to know what they’re ingesting before doing so. However, it shouldn’t be too bright that customers feel uncomfortable.
While restaurants tend to be noisy spaces, soft music in the background can add a beneficial acoustic quality that reduces echo and din. To further reduce echo, some restaurants install soft furnishings and carpets to provide absorbing effects.
Your restaurant design and layout play a large part in customer experience and overall success. If you’re looking to wow your customers and offer a great experience, there are many things you can get started improving today.
Providing a great customer experience comes down to your restaurant design and layout. Follow these tips to enhance what your restaurant already has to offer.