What constitutes a great restaurant design is very much a subjective matter. It’s unlikely, however, that a restaurant that pleases critics, owners and staff but makes no profit would be classed as a successful design. The aim of any restaurant must be to please customers and make enough profit to remain a viable enterprise. When considering design for restaurants almost anything goes but here are three design ideas.

No design

The food, service and ambience customers bring with them can be considered by some to be all that is necessary to make a restaurant great. All that’s required is a functional layout that allows kitchen staff to prepare great food and for it to be served successfully. The rest may be simple, with basic seating and tables. Whether this constitutes design in itself is for discussion, but it is an approach tried successfully many times, particularly with so-called ‘pop up’ restaurants. With pop ups the design element is kept to a minimum with full emphasis being placed on the preparation and service of good food at competitive prices. The customer is left to his and her own devices to create atmosphere.

Keep it open

Not a new idea but still a popular one is that of the open design restaurant. Here the kitchen and bar, if one is present, become part of the restaurant itself and contribute, if not dominate, the overall design theme. The preparation of food and drink becomes a spectator event as customers are seated around the kitchen and bar. The interaction between staff and customers in this environment breaks down many of the ‘old school’ barriers and makes for an informal experience. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the format has proved extremely popular. Popular means returning and new customers and continued turnover, making for a successful recipe for profit.

Old school re-imagined

There’s nothing wrong with what is considered ‘old school’ or ‘traditional’ restaurant designs. A kitchen tucked away from view, quiet, polite and formally-attired staff waiting at tables, and a very traditional cuisine are still very popular. What does make some people uncomfortable is the way in which this traditional approach requires a traditional and formal response from them. Such restaurants are not popular with those with smaller children or who simply want to call in on the spur of the moment in an unplanned way, dressed casually and wanting to eat informally. Starting with the traditional approach and then de-formalising can work wonders. Staff dressed casually, yet still polite and relatively unobtrusive, can help create an atmosphere that has all of the comfort of familiarity and yet is added to by a more relaxed style. For example, starched linen tablecloths can be done away with, but clean linen napkins or even paper ones ready on every table.

Help is at hand

Getting style and design right is not easy. Fortunately there is help available through such companies as Dawnvale who specialise in restaurant and bar design.