Restaurant Design and Concept Development

Food is personal to everyone and the menu items you serve speak in high volumes about your restaurant concept, brand, and services. A restaurant concept can define an overall theme and idea of a restaurant, but you will increase your odds of attracting more investors and customers if you concentrate and articulate your concept to a broader clientele base. As it is, the methodologies and approaches to restaurant design are wide-ranging are current restaurant concepts. There are over a million restaurants alone trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Please note that your restaurant design theme can blur the lines between various concepts to make your venue unique.

What Is A Restaurant Concept

The process of creating a restaurant design , developing layout plan, color scheme, menu, and dining room décor all embody the restaurant concept development. Restaurant concept development necessitates market and competition research, exploring emerging and fading trends, financial modeling, implementing damage control, brand evolution, addressing supply chain issues, and even brand portfolio management in certain scenarios. Whether you are renovating an existing space you purchased or are developing a new prototype, you must include a restaurant development concept. A restaurant design cannot be looked in a vacuum. Nor can you solely rely on interior designers and architects to help you develop a concept.

Various concepts will differ in color scheme, menu items, furniture style and decor. Examples of a few various concepts can be seen in the image below:


restaurant concept ideas

Narrowing Your Focus

The more you concentrate on your restaurant concept, the easier it will be for you to develop a statement. If you serve regional food, you’ll be able to present your concept better and describe your brand. You may commence your concept statement with a clear description of the food you’ll serve and the reflection your restaurant trappings have on the brand. The more clearly you are able to spell out the direction your concept will take, the more you are likely to gain confidence and trust among potential investors and customers.

ultimately, a good restaurant concept will adjoin an array of elements with one defining cohesive mood or tone. Every detail contributes to the restaurant concept from the name of the restaurant to the color scheme. For instance, the name of your restaurant gives customers an idea of the type of food you serve. The name should be memorable, authentic and simple. When it comes to designing a menu, your approach should sync with the context of your items and theme.

Food Service Styles Paired with Décor and Ambiance

The type of food service you provide directly relates to your restaurant concept as it has an impact on the customer’s dining experience. Below are various food service styles that can define your concept:


Color, lighting, restaurant furniture, table settings, music and décor also largely contribute to the restaurant ambiance. Even though food takes center stage, making basic decisions for your décor should be calculated into your concept development plans. Do you want your venue to emit a fun and casual vibe or become a romantic spot perfect for date nights? Taking the needs of your customers into consideration can act as a focal point for décor and theme decisions.

Choosing a Restaurant Concept

Deciding on a single concept may seem easier than it actually is. As an aspiring restaurateur, you may have a vague idea what concept you want to use. A strong concept develops a branding strategy, identifies suppliers, researches competition, exploits culinary trends, and analyzes whether to franchise the concept. The process is broken down in the following steps:

  • Know your service style
  • Define your unique brand
  • Identify your customer base
  • Select your theme
  • Consider location, design and equipment
  • Design your menu
  • Write a business plan
  • Make a budget for your restaurant design

Budgeting Your Restaurant Design

Like most things, a restaurant design project includes costs. Budgets may differ from project but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The cost to build a restaurant per square foot estimates to $59-$220.
  • Restaurant design and layout planning costs around 10% of the construction budget.
  • 30%-40% of the total cost budget is allocated to restaurant furniture, equipment and fixtures.
  • Type of restaurant you run is a big factor. You would be spending more on square foot for a fine dining establishment than on a fast-service concept.

Further Design and Concept Development Considerations

There are myriads of elements to consider in your restaurant design. These days, successful restaurant concepts have extended beyond good service, good food and good atmosphere. Restaurant concept development projects are more complex. Steps in a restaurant design and layout process can be adjusted to suit your preferences for level of detail. There are over a hundred of interdependent steps and decisions to make. The average timing of these projects can range from several weeks to over a year. Large scale development projects tend to move at a steady pace. It is advisable to invest more time in planning and soft costs of a development with a professional rather than to rush into the design and spend more money trying to undo mistakes later. Hence, it’s much easier to make a minor change on a digital file than it is to fix a major mistake on a completed building.

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