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How to maximise your restaurant space

How to maximise your restaurant space

Whether you’re a restaurant, café/coffee shop, bar or hotel (or any other hospitality venue for that matter) you will want to make the most of your real estate with the best possible restaurant furniture. With so many dining options available to customers these days, competition is fierce and so you will want to make the most out of your premises to ensure your customers are provided with the best experience possible. And, of course, any restaurant owner will want their space to be filled to the brim with happy customers. However, there is an art to making the most of your venue without cramming your customers in like battery hens! It’s such a delicate balancing act, so read on to see our hints and tips for maximising your restaurant space.

First impressions count

To drive home the illusion of making your front of house space look bigger, choose light paint colours and any fabrics. Remember, this is the first area your potential diners will see and if from the outside looking in, they aren’t taken, they may decide to carry on walking, not even stepping foot inside. It’s important to make sure your restaurant furniture is in good condition with your finest pieces nearest the front – Paying customers will not be enticed by old beaten chairs and scratched table tops.

Size really does matter

Different venues and brands all have different needs and won’t all want to portray the same vibe. For example, in an informal setting or fast food establishment, throughput is extremely high, whereas at the other end of the spectrum your fine dining establishments promote a long and exquisite environment and so the layout of these venues will be entirely different.

Within the latter, you can bet your bottom dollar customers won’t want to be packed in like sardines. It’s important diners feel comfortable in their surroundings and for you create an atmosphere that is open, friendly and spacious — even if your venue isn’t made up of the square footage of your dreams. Whereas in a fast food environment you can afford for the distance between tables to be closer and less comfy. Banquet seating works particularly well in this type of venue.

Obviously the size of your venue will dictate how many diners your venue can comfortably seat. However, it’s recommended that each diner is given about 600mm in width, with diners each being separated by at least one person’s width. It’s advised that there should be around 700-800m of space between restaurants/walls to ensure your customers have enough space to comfortably push their chairs back and walk through the venue.

Restaurant furniture

Plan before you buy
It’s so easy to get overexcited and race ahead and buy your restaurant furniture before you’ve really thought about what you’re trying to achieve and what will work best for your space. For example, do you only need tables and chairs? Or, is there a bar area where your customers can enjoy a drink before their meal. If so, bar stools will maximise the space around this area or perhaps sofas, tub chairs or armchairs to invite guests to chill-out in a specific area.

You don’t need to be an architect or interior designer to plan your venue but it’s vital you put pen to paper before buying your restaurant furniture and this also applies to refurbishments too. Simply draw an outline of your room/s including the location of the kitchen, entrance, toilets, bar area and even any pillars or stairs. Use this as your template, make a few photocopies and then scribble to your heart’s content trying as many different layout combinations as possible.

Plan around tables, not chairs
You will have seen from our last blog that it’s really important to make sure you have enough tables for two. Tables for 4 or more will undoubtedly have some diners on, but they won’t always be filled, which can mean a lot of empty chairs and therefore a waste of valuable space. A smart restaurant layout will include a variety of table sizes; lots of smaller tables (which of course can be combined to make larger tables anyway), four person tables for families and a couple of larger tables for group bookings. The best layout is one that is flexible and can be altered to your customer’s needs.

A final point to make here is that it’s really important to cater for those with additional needs including parents requiring high chairs and wheelchair users.

If there’s one point you take away from this blog, it’s to make sure you plan….plan, plan and plan some more. Think about your brand and what you’re trying to achieve and what kind of tables and seating will owe themselves to this type of environment.

Restaurant furniture

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Eclipse Furniture, Eastbrook Road, Gloucester, GL4 3DB