Starting From Scratch: How to Put Together Your Brand New Restaurant From Concept to Floor Plan

You’ve always had a dream of opening a restaurant. Now, you have an empty building on your hands, and you aren’t sure where to start. That’s okay because we have some tips for you on how to set up two of the most important aspects of your restaurant: the concept and the floor plan.

Choosing a Restaurant Concept

A restaurant concept is an overall idea or theme that defines the establishment. Concepts include things like the menu design, service style, dining room decor, ambiance, the restaurant’s name, and the style of the food. Deciding on a concept can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you choose a restaurant concept that you and your customers will love.

Identify What Inspires You

You want your customers to feel something special when they walk into your restaurant, so you should choose a concept that makes you feel inspired too. This concept should also inspire your customers to buy food and beverages. It can be anything that comes from your heritage, upbringing, or sense of style.

Figure Out Your Spin

You don’t want your customers to walk into your new place and see that your restaurant tabletops, paneling, new wood siding, flooring, etc., is the same as all the other restaurants in the area. For example, according to National Geographic, more than 30% if the Earth’s landmass is covered by forests, so a lot of other restaurants will have similar wood restaurant table tops. Find something unique that you can offer so you have a better chance of sticking out and getting customers excited about coming to your restaurant.

Research Your Customer Base

It can be hard to figure out what type of restaurant will be a hit with your client base, but you can get a good idea with a little bit of research. Get a sense of the competition in the area and observe how other businesses found success. Also look at things like population size, median household income, and what’s important to the people who live in a certain radius around your restaurant.

Develop a Menu

You don’t have to stick to tradition completely, but you don’t want to throw completely off-the-wall food items on your menu and scare off potential customers. Stick to food that makes sense with your concept. If you choose to be an Irish pub, then you should offer authentic Irish dishes because that’s what people will expect when they walk in the door.

Choose a Service Style

Once you have your menu nailed down, you can pick a serving style that lends itself well to the dishes. So, if you have an Italian style menu, you probably want to have a more formal dining experience. If you chose burgers, then a casual environment will fit well with the serving style.

Tips to Help You Create the Perfect Floor Plan For Your Restaurant

Now that you’ve decided on the overall concept, it’s time to figure out how you want to set up your restaurant. If you are opening a brand new restaurant, or maybe renovating your current one, determining the seating arrangements for your floor plan can be tricky. While your concept will lend itself towards a certain kind of setup (ex. A fine dining restaurant will have different types of seating than a burger joint), there are some general rules to help you set up your new restaurant floor plan for success. You have to take several things into consideration, including the size of your restaurant, what kind of establishment you have, how you want everything to look, and more. Here are some tips to help you nail the perfect floor plan for your new venture.

Primary Space Planning

In primary space planning, the general rule for determining the area allotted is that the dining area should comprise of most of the total space and the kitchen, storage, and preparation area should take up the rest of the space. If you plan on having a waiting area or a bar, your dimensions will have to be adjusted. However, generally speaking, your approximate percentages should be as follows:

  • Dining Room:60% of the total area
  • Kitchen, Cooking, Storage, Preparation, etc.: 40% of the total area

If you have a 5,000 square-foot restaurant, you should have 3,000 square feet dedicated to the dining area and 2,000 square feet dedicated to the kitchen area.

Designing your floor plan will completely depend on what kind of restaurant you want to open. You have to remember that banquet seating may use as little as 10 square feet per person, while fine dining may need as much as 20 square feet per person.

General Seating Guidelines

  • Fine dining: 18 to 20 Square Feet
  • Full-Service Restaurant Dining: 12 to 15 Square Feet
  • Counter Service: 18 to 20 Square Feet
  • Fast Food Minimum: 11 to 14 Square Feet
  • Table Service, Hotel/Club: 15 to 18 Square Feet
  • Banquet, Minimum: 10 to 11 Square Feet

For safety reasons, allow for the free flow of traffic for the serves and the diners. So, you should leave about four to five feet between each of the barn wood table tops, reclaimed wood table tops, or whatever material you choose for your tables. You should also include the space of the chairs in this equation.

The United States had milled more than three trillion board feet of lumber since 1990. Whether you want to use barn wood table tops or some other material, make sure you follow these tips to help you create the perfect concept and floor plan for your new restaurant.

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