How to Design an Effective Restaurant Floor Plan

Floor PlanGreat restaurant floor plans achieve several objectives at once. They make the operational flow of your restaurant as efficient as possible, connecting servers with your customers and with the kitchen simultaneously.

They also clearly communicate a specific experience to your customers, be it a casual dining environment, a fast food outlet or a fine dining space. Used effectively, your floor plan can do more than just facilitate movement — it can also give your restaurant a clear feel and brand.

Most restaurant owners use a four step process for floor planning, working from a general floor plan to a more specific layout. Below, we’ve listed all four steps to help you prepare an effective floor plan for your restaurant, eatery or other food service business location.

Start By Planning Your Primary Spaces

Every restaurant has primary spaces — a kitchen, bar area, dining area, entry and waiting area and restrooms. These areas are where your staff and customers will spend most of their time, making them the highest priorities when you’re preparing a design.

Each space has its own characteristics that need to be prioritized. In the kitchen, you’ll need an adequate amount of space. For the dining area, you’ll need a comfortable environment that lets customers sit, relax and eat in comfort.

In short, every space has its own characteristics that need to be the focus of your planning. Get started by listing your primary spaces, then allocating enough space to ensure you can achieve your key objectives in each space.

Plan Your Kitchen First

It’s impossible to run a restaurant without a functional, well-designed kitchen. Because of this, it’s best to start your floor planning process by preparing a detailed, comprehensive floor plan for your restaurant’s kitchen.

Most experts recommend setting aside up to 40% of your available space for your kitchen — an amount that allows for fast, hygenic and efficient food preparation, cooking and communication with your servers.

Add Restrooms Second

Many restaurant owners are surprised to learn that it’s generally best to design your restrooms before you start designing your dining area.

The reason for this is simple — just like a kitchen, restrooms and a waiting area are essential for any restaurant, making them worth prioritizing. Once you’ve got the essentials out of the way, it becomes easier to plan, design and develop a dining area that achieves your objectives

Restrooms are most effective when they’re easily accessible from the dining area but confined and isolated enough to provide privacy. Choose an area that customers can easily locate, but avoid situating your restrooms so that they open directly into your dining area.

Plan Your Dining and Waiting Areas Last

Restaurant designers tend to design from the back of house towards the front, meaning that the dining and waiting areas are usually the final priority on any floor plan.

While kitchens and restrooms are purely functional, great dining areas not only provide a place for customers to dine — they also communicate a specific vision, feeling and atmosphere that’s part of your restaurant’s identity.

In general, there are three principles to keep in mind here. First, keep is simple, as simple done well always beats complexity done poorly. Second, use creative, affordable decorating ideas to your advantage. Finally, remember that customers rarely like crowds — offer space, if possible.

Need Help Designing Your Restaurant?

Are you preparing to open a restaurant? As specialists in restaurant design and planning, we’ve helped a diverse range of restaurant brands achieve better results, from improved reviews and better revenue to increased customer loyalty.

From floor planning to decor, our experienced team can help you get the best possible results from your restaurant. To learn more about our services, ask for a quote or talk to a member of our restaurant design team, contact us now to request a consultation.