Designing the right floor plan enhances your guests’ dining experience and sets the stage for a welcoming
atmosphere. The restaurant chair and table are the building blocks of your
scheme. Let’s look at the key aspects needed to create a successful
front of house.
To seat people properly you have to know how much space you
have. Tables that can be moved offer you more options. Different sizes can
welcome couples, fours or even sixes. Placing smaller tables together lets you
accommodate groups of many sizes.
Booths, while maximizing seating in a smaller space, offer
little by way of movement. Make sure they are comfortable and offer privacy
with high backs. There aren’t many places where
considered good form to have small children looking over the seats of the next
Comfort is a major factor when people decide whether or not
to return. Furthermore, research shows that when you place tables too closely
together people spend less per minute. What is the magic number? For banquet
seating, the least liked variety, you need at least 12 inches and you need 17
inches for tables. These are minimums, so try to increase them if you can.
Also, anchor tables to walls if practical. Guests don’t
like to be on display in the middle of the room.
Create seclusion and coziness by dividing your floor space
into smaller dining areas. If you have several rooms, this is easy. If you have
one big space, you can use dividers, layout or furniture to create an
appearance of isolation. People hate to feel as if they are the only ones in a
large dining area.
Consider your air flow. No guest likes to have the vent
directly overhead. If you have control over this aspect of design then put
vents on the floor, along walls or over server stations. Offer protection from
air that comes in each time the door opens. I can’t
imagine anything as unappealing as having a blast of cold air every few minutes
Set Up Stations for Speed
The general recommendation is to place tables no further
than 60 feet from a food distribution point. This reduces problems with slow
service and cold food. Basics such as drinks and extra utensils should be
available at all stations. Clear lines of service should be available to all
areas on the floor.
Waiting for a Welcome
Your host or hostess has welcomed in your guests, but they
have to wait a bit for their table. The area near the door should be
comfortable and offer a look at the floor. This whets the guests’ appetites and lets them know what to expect. It should also offer a
bit of protection from the elements. Something as simple as double doors can
make a big difference in how people feel inside, isolating them from the noise
Designing your floor plan carefully lets your guests know,
from their first moment, that they are your primary focus.