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Considerations to make about your restaurant layout

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Having your own restaurant space can be an exciting opportunity to get everything exactly how you want it to look. It’s about creating a unique space that can be functional, and inviting, that people want to keep coming back to. Your layout needs to be something that works with your workflow and shows who you are as a business. Here are some things to consider when designing your restaurant layout.

Identify Spaces

While your restaurant is one coherent unit, there are separate spaces within that must function both independently and together. Spaces like this include the following:

  • Kitchen - This is a central part of your restaurant where a lot of things happen. It will usually take up about 40% of your space. This should be at the top of your list when considering your layout

  • Dining room - Basically the rest of your restaurant will be your dining room for your customers. Think about it this way, do you go to a restaurant just to stand in the kitchen?

  • Bathrooms - Do not skimp out when it comes to your restrooms. Think about their placement in terms of plumbing, and ease of access for customers.

  • Main entry - This will be where the first impression of your restaurant happens, so make sure it is a good representation of the rest of your business. The size will depend on your anticipated crowd size. If you expect extended wait times to be seated, allocate a larger area, but if you’re planning to have people in and out at a quick pace, you can have a smaller entry.

  • Bar area - This is completely optional as many restaurants do not have a walk-up or bar seating area. If you have space and want to invest the money, go for it! If you have other things you need to focus on, this won’t be missed.

Seating Capacity and Seating Areas

Although it is tempting to fit as many tables in one area as you can, this is not going to help you accommodate your customers. If your dining area is crowded and uncomfortable, you’ll lose most of what could be your returning business. Think about it from a customer’s point of view when arranging your seating. Plan to have enough seating to be making a profit, but not so much that your customer service suffers because of it.

In terms of seating areas, people do not want to sit by the bathrooms, the kitchen, and most, do not want to be too close to a door that is constantly opening or closing. Think about how to design around the “bad” seating areas. The best way to identify if your layout suffers from these areas would be to sit in every seat in your restaurant. From there, you can relocate, or redecorate, certain areas to up the aesthetic of what would typically be an avoided seating area.


Having a small, or dingy restroom will absolutely be something that your customers will remember. Make sure they are still easily accessible while also being somewhat separated from the dining area and in a convenient area for your plumbing. As a general rule of thumb - make your restrooms spacious, accessible, clean, and ADA compliant.

Outdoor Space

Would a deck or patio complement your indoor dining area? If so, make many of the same considerations that you did when designing your indoor area. Your decor and layout should flow the same in an outdoor area while keeping true to the aesthetic that you created. If your outdoor view is not as pleasing as you would like (parking lot, main street, etc.), consider adding dividers such as plants, fencing, etc. Outdoor space must also be prepared for weather changes with a kind of overhead protection for customers. 

When it comes to your table spacing, consider the following in this kind of space:

  • Keep your overhead protection high enough to easily be walked under.

  • Don’t add too much greenery that your customers cannot walk between them.

  • Make sure you have enough space between tables. 

Remember that every space has a purpose and should be well planned out. Think of your restaurant design from a customer perspective. Are the tables too close together to a walkthrough? Are the bathrooms spacious? Is your decor appealing and representative of your business?

HBi has the resources you need when looking at designing, or redesigning, your restaurant layout. Contact us today to be put into contact with our most trusted brands.