While of course restaurants are about the food, that’s not all you need to keep your customers coming back. When setting up your restaurant, it’s important to keep several things in mind to keep your patrons pleased.
Seating: Capacity vs Comfort is the line you’ll need to draw as you layout the seat plan. You’ll want to keep enough seats in house so that you can seat enough customers during rush and bring in a profit, yet have enough space between tables so that waiters - and customers - can comfortably navigate to each of the tables.
Stand by the Brand: Ensure that your brand is reflected in all aspects of your restaurant. If you serve authentic Japanese food, don’t play Portuguese music. Instead, consider choosing furniture and accessories for the restaurant inspired by the cuisine. So in the case of Japanese food, you could decide to decorate with cherry blossoms.
Lighting: Lighting sets the mood of your restaurant, so it should align with your general aesthetic. Dim lighting usually conveys a formal or romantic ambiance, while brighter lights give a more casual impression. Other things to keep in mind: Is the menu readable in the lighting you’ve provided? Are there lights shining directly into the face of any of your patrons? Does the lighting make your food look Instagram ready?
Ventilation: Kitchens produce large amounts of heat, smoke and smells. Make sure you have proper ventilation, with the right kind of hood and fans. Proper air conditioning is an absolute essential to any restaurant, new or old. Without air conditioning, patrons will leave your eatery faster than you can say “Hello and Welcome.”
Be the Customer: Play the part of the customer. Sit in every available seat, and ensure they are comfortable. This means that no seat directly faces the bathroom, isn’t right beside a speaker, or in the direct path of an air conditioning vent. While every seat in the house can’t be the best seat - try to make sure there isn’t a worst one.