Exterior Design of Restaurants Guide

Design is sometimes referred to as a visual language because we can convey quite a lot of messages by the design alone without using any words. That’s why setting the right tone to your restaurant’s entrance is an important factor in its success.

The exterior of your restaurant provides a visual clue to your guests and potential guests about the type of experience they can expect. Although there isn’t any one specific element that will instantly convey everything you want the right combination of elements will provide just that. As part of our long experience in furnishing the insides of countless venues we have come to appreciate and learn the importance a well-designed entrance has on a restaurant’s success. Below are six factors you should take into consideration when designing your venue’s entrance:

Where Are Your Customers Coming From?

This sounds like a simple question but you may find that it’s a tricky one. First time or inexperienced restaurateurs may think that it doesn’t really matter where customers are coming from as long as they are coming. But actually the way to look at this question is by splitting it up into several different ones.

For example, are your customers arriving on foot, by car or are they using public transportation? These are all factors in how to best design your entrance. If your customers are arriving on foot or by car it probably means that their visit was a planned one and therefore you can downplay the entrance somewhat thus saving a little on the cost of the entrance while at the same time promoting the idea that they are going to enjoy a more exclusive and private experience compared to other venues.

If however, you rely more on walk-ins and impulse visits then you should probably design a more visually attractive and “noisy” entrance to entice the customers to your restaurant rather to the one further down the street.

Class vs. Glass

In our day to day we often come across designs that use glass to convey a message of opulence and wealth. And it’s true when designing for big office spaces or private homes. In the restaurant business it actually works the other way round. Glass doors and windows are usually perceived as more downscale by customers and are associated for the most part with fast food restaurants, diners and coffee houses.

If you own such a venue then a glass entrance is the way to go. Just remember to keep it spotless by cleaning it daily and to keep your interior including commercial furniture as appealing as the entrance in order to entice your customers and convince them that your place is the one they should enter.

If, on the other hand, you are going for that upscale, expensive restaurant look a better design would be to use wood doors and small windows or no windows ant all in the front walls. A metal door would work well for the more modern industrial look that is fashionable in many city centers worldwide.

Entrance Construction

Awnings and canopies, upright plantings or other decor enhancing your doorway will also make an impact on your patrons. Non expensive yet easily seen features such as wine barrels or some upright plantings will attract the attention of passersby and, if chosen properly, will let them know what sort of dining experience to expect.

For example, a wine barrel or a humorous waiter statue will create an expectation of a less formal venue, perhaps a nice bistro or a rural style dining compared to a wooden stand with your menu displayed on it which may invoke images of a more upscale experience.

Different colored pavement tiles and a visible entrance mat will attract the attention of customers and help your place to stand out amongst the rest of the commercial business around it. It can also help people that haven’t diced yet where to sit to choose your restaurant instead of passing it by.

Another important factor is the way restaurant tables are positioned near the entrance both inside and outside. Most people expect a certain amount of privacy and comfort while dining out so having them seated too close to foot traffic going in and out may be distracting and ruining their experience thus most likely losing them as potential returning customers.

Keeping Up Appearances

Lighting, colors and signage are all very important when designing your restaurant’s entrance. Bright and highly saturated colors are generally associated with casual and "fun" restaurants while dimmer and warmer lighting is a sign of a more upscale restaurant.

A less thought of aspect is the font used on the sign. The font you use can speak volumes about your restaurant. Some fonts are considered to be very formal while others are more casual. A mix of fonts can be seen as unprofessional and confuse potential customers as to the type of dining they should expect. A good idea when first creating your sign is to consult a graphic designer to help you select the right font for your venue.

And finally, keeping your entrance appealing and well maintained at all times is as important as its design. It goes without saying that keeping your entrance trash free has to be one of your top priorities. Burned out bulbs, dried plants and cracked pots are also a big turnoff and may give the wrong impression about the neatness and cleanliness of your restaurant as a whole.

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