How to Create a Restaurant Floor Plan | Kitchen CUT

Are you putting together your restaurant floor plan, but not sure what to do? It needs to be not only appealing, but efficient. Here’s how to do it.

Your restaurant’s success, whether brand new or undergoing changes, is determined by more than just your menu. Restaurant owners need to create an inviting space for customers and a functional restaurant floor plan to enable staff to perform at their highest capacity for the best return on their investment. There’s much to consider when designing your restaurant floor plan, from the entrance to the dining rooms to the restrooms, the kitchen, and storage areas. Yes, the process can be daunting. But if you know some general guidelines, it will make the process easier.

Without further delay, here are some smart tips and guidelines to design a restaurant floor plan that’s comfortable, productive and keeps patrons coming back.

  1. The Big Picture

Effective restaurant design should plan for all facets of restaurant operations. It must provide a practical and functional floor plan that’s efficient, offers easy access to food storage, and creates a good work path to and from the kitchen and dining rooms for your wait staff and employees.

  1. Some Guidelines to Keep In Mind When Planning

The New York food service publication titles “Total Food Service” suggests that you use approximately 60 percent of your restaurant floor plan for your dining area. The other spaces in the restaurant, according to the magazine, should make up the rest of the space. This includes the kitchen, storage areas, and the restrooms. When organizing the tables, ensure air and heating vents don’t blow directly over tables. Use your design to direct the airflow to prevent drafts from coming in from the exterior door.

Have you ever been in a restaurant with soft lighting so low you can’t read the menu? Don’t let this be your restaurant.  A way to maintain soft lighting is to use secondary lights with better lighting that shine on tables for easier reading and to view the beautiful food presentations prepared by your chefs.

  1. How Much Space Do You Need in Your Floor Plan?

Restaurant space should be based on square feet per customer. Add in spaces for corridors, foot traffic, bus staff, the cashier station, the entrance way (or foyer) and other areas.
For upscale dining restaurants or eateries with countertops, reserve close to 20 square feet per customer. For typical dining spaces, reserve 15 square feet per patron. Fast food restaurants and buffets can devote 10 to 15 square feet per customer. Kitchen space should equal around five square feet of kitchen space for each restaurant seat.

Keep in mind space can depend on other factors and can vary from city to town. A small restaurant in New York City might have to compromise on the lower end of spacing requirements.

  1. Dining Room Layout

The layout of your dining room should invite patron comfort. Guests shouldn’t need to squeeze between tables or have to turn sideways to avoid brushing against other patrons when they leave their seats to take a bathroom break.

For this reason, The National Restaurant Association recommends reserving three feet between tables.  When using booth-style seating and small tables, arrange spacing so customers have at least twelve inches of elbow room so they don’t bump into others in their party who they are seated with.  Ensure tables in the dining room remain within 60 feet of pickup stations to regulate food temperature. This also cuts walking times down for bus and wait staff and decreases foot traffic in the space.

How Seating Affects Your Dining Room Layout: When constructing your restaurant floor plan, take into account the shape and size of seating areas in the dining room. Seating and table dimensions greatly influence patron comfort levels.  Total Food Service magazine says table heights should be around 30 inches and seat heights approximately 18 inches. Meanwhile, The National Restaurant Association suggests the backs of booths be about 52 inches up from the floor so the restaurant’s surroundings remain visible to customers.

  1. Kitchen Design

Efficiency and productivity should determine your kitchen’s layout design. It is wise to keep cooking stations and refrigeration far apart from each other.
Cooking areas should have fume hoods positioned directly above cooking equipment. Make sure your kitchen has enough space for your staff to work safely around one another.

Additionally, focus on ergonomic solutions that minimize repetitive, unproductive tasks that could slow down your kitchen employees. Brainstorm with employees to get their input when you set objectives. Ensure your kitchen design complies with all health codes and safety regulations such as where you place electrical outlets and floor drains.
Keep water away from power outlets when drawing up your plans.

  1. Kitchen Layout Patterns

In organizing your kitchen and equipment design, there are several patterns you can emulate. One design pattern is an assembly line formation. This style benefits restaurants that prepare a small menu in large amounts. An example would be submarine and sandwich shops. Another restaurant floor plan for the kitchen is a zone configuration. This setup divides the kitchen into several areas such as a meat preparation area, a cold foods section, a grill or cooking area and a section for dishwashing and cleanup.

This layout design allows a variety of individual tasks to be performed simultaneously without kitchen staff getting in each other’s way.  The island configuration, another layout pattern, features cooking spaces or a particular area in the center and all other spaces on the border of the kitchen.
Finally, an ergonomic setup, often in fast-paced, high-volume kitchens allows for maximum staff effectiveness.

  1. Restroom Design

For maximum cleanliness, design doors to open outward. This avoids patrons and employees exiting the bathroom to avoid touching the door handles after they have already washed their hands.
Consider installing sensor-technology soap dispensers if it’s in your budget so people don’t touch soap dispensers and spread germs.
When planning your counter and sink design, using a deeper sink will avoid soap from forming on the counters and puddles forming on the floor which can be a safety hazard.
Keep hand dryers and dispensers a sizable distance away from the sinks to prevent crowding other patrons in multi-use bathrooms.

  1. A Room with A View–and Privacy

Most patrons don’t wish to be the center of attention.
Instead of placing tables in the middle of the room, position them against a wall or near a partition. This also makes it easier to join tables together for larger parties and to save space.
This table placement will also make it easier for a diner to attract a server’s attention, instead of twisting their necks around uncomfortably behind them to locate their server.
Want to create a romantic ambiance in the room? Set up intimate nooks for additional privacy. They can also be used to provide additional privacy for friends or family members.

Final Words on Your Restaurant Floor Plan

Incorporate these eight restaurant floor plan ideas into your restaurant remodel or new restaurant design for a pleasant patron dining experience, efficient staff work conditions and to improve your bottom line.

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