There is a great deal more to restaurants than eating food. Essentially what many successful restaurants sell is something that I refer to as ‘the dining out experience’. It includes good food, setting the mood, and an ambiance that embodies the character of the restaurant itself. The ambiance is essential to successful restaurant design.
How Restaurant Design Draws in the Customer
What is the first thing we do when we walk into a restaurant? We do not reach for the menu or stroll to the specials board unless we already know the place well. We check out the furniture, the people present, and then we look for a space that looks right for us. Almost inevitably, we hope for a table away from the entrance, not too close to the kitchen, and definitely not in the middle of the room. If we do not have kids with us, we generally stay away from tables of young families.
Read: Improve Your Commercial Floor Plan to Increase Efficiency
This makes segmented restaurant design as important as segmented markets. First, we arrange the essential service areas in unpopular spaces, like at the entrance, next to the kitchen, and near the door to the restrooms. Then we group large tables together in the center, with smaller ones around them in booths, or against walls. This will naturally keep the different customer segments together, and promote a pleasant dining experience for a range of parties.
How Ambience Completes the Dining Experience
Haute cuisine restaurants, family diners, and work cafeterias look distinctly different. Cafeterias usually have plastic tables and hard chairs, because they want to churn out their customers as soon as possible. Family diners are more comfortable, and even feel slightly worn just like the homes we live in. Haute cuisine restaurants ooze class and luxury because that’s the dining-out experience they provide.
Eating is a distinctly sensory experience, some may even say it's almost sensual. We smell and taste the food, and we feel it between our tongues and teeth, and the cutlery in our hands. When we want people to relax, we play quiet mood music. If we want them to eat fast, greet, and go, we play something with a faster rhythm. Did you know that warm colors - yellow, red and orange - stimulate appetites, while pale greens, blues and purples incline us to smaller servings.
How Your Restaurant HVAC Can Become an Income Generator
We relax when the ambient temperature is neither too hot, nor too cold. In summer, the average range is between 74 to 80 F, while in winter it is a lower 68 to 78 F. This is because we wear more clothes when it’s is cold outside. We also aim for a smoother transition when our guests enter our restaurant and leave.
Sure, we understand restaurant heating and cooling is expensive. However, we can recuperate the money back when relaxed guests order more food and drink. One way to look at this is by averaging the HVAC cost per seat when it seems a more realistic calculation.
How often have you ducked into the nearest warm restaurant to seek shelter from a surprise onslaught of cold rain?
Outdoor Patio Dining Can Increase Restaurant Sales
I touched a bit on the dining out experience, and how this can increase per-table spend. Folk often arrive to celebrate a special occasion or a significant moment in their lives. They are inclined to having fun, releasing their inhibitions, and spoiling themselves a little, or a lot. Anything that encourages this, within reason, can only be good for business.
Outdoor dining areas can be superbly good at encouraging guests to stay longer and spend more. They feel half as if they are on a picnic, where normal diets don’t apply. By increasing natural ventilation and open air space, you can save on heating and cooling costs. Furthermore, there is space for kids to explore without disturbing others enjoying a quiet night out. Finally, is there a better way to invite shoppers passing by to enter, than the sight of people tucking into delicious food and tasty drinks?
Read: Elements of Successful Storefronts and Restaurant Patios
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Cover Glass USA serves the Southern Californian region, including Malibu, Calabasas, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, San Diego, Santa Barbara and other beautiful cities.