We understand that when it comes to designing a new restaurant fit out that at the start it can feel like a challenging experience. There is a great chance you will be busy working on plans daily, and new ideas always pop up. You will most likely be dealing with a lot of different contractors and have to stick to hospitality regulations and so forth. So where do you start, what is most important and how can you make better decisions.
To get the restaurant fit out you want it is usually all about working with the right people. Having trades people and equipment suppliers that suit you can even make your renovation an enjoyable and hopefully trouble free experience. Of course there will be some stress, after all you make big decisions with real money, but just remember you are working to turn your plan into reality and hopefully success. That is something to be excited about, not to be stressed about. On that happy note, here are a couple of tips that can help you get your fitout completed faster, with less hassle and hopefully the best chance of a busy future.
Flexibility can be a huge asset, especially in smaller restaurants and cafes. If you can move tables together for larger groups, and likewise break them apart for smaller ones, you can cater to a wider demographic. This can be planned for with the tables you choose and perhaps window or bar seating too. Mums groups, single business people with a laptop, gym groups having coffee after a workout, a local coffee drinker reading the paper (or looking at their phone more likely these days). If you can make all feel welcome you can attract a wider audience. Just remember your staff need to get around safely and quickly too, that leads to our next point.
With the goal of serving as many people as possible, it can be tempting to cram as many seats in your restaurant or café than is comfortable for everyone. This can cause problems such as poor service, excessive noise, and people getting bumped around as staff and guests squeeze by. We all know a café we don’t go to because it is too poky. One general rule of thumb when it comes to setting up dining tables is that each table should be spaced between 24 and 30 inches apart. This of course depends on seating styles. Booths, communal tables and bar seating can save space too. So while it is important to have ample seating, to much can make things awkward for staff and guests alike.
Kitchen / Coffee Preparation Areas
A lot of restaurant designs will start with the kitchen. The better set out your kitchen the faster and more efficiently your food can be delivered. I have never heard someone complain that their food always arrived too quickly.
Usually the kitchen area and service area, such as where coffee is made are joined. This makes it easy for staff to communicate away from clients and also creates just one service direction.
The equipment you choose for your kitchen and coffee / cake areas are often the most expensive investments. Again, flexibility can be key. Kitchen equipment that can be used for multiple tasks can save space, time and initial investment. Some coffee companies will supply you a coffee machine and grinder, again saving you money up front.
It is also important to choose the right display equipment if you have drinks, premade food such as sandwiches and cakes visible for clients to choose from. Glass door fridges for example let people see what you have, instead of having to read a menu. This is proven to increase sales of all these profit generating items.
Pre-Dining or Take Away Areas
There are too many restaurants that forget to allocate some of the floor space to an area that diners or take away customers can wait comfortably. Compare the idea of standing up, shuffling about as other customers come through to order, staff walk by carrying food and you just feel like a nuisance, to either sitting at a bar stool to the side, or in a window, or even resting on a couch with a drink while you wait for a table or for your takeaway coffee to be made. Where would you rather be?
This sort of plan can help again to make your café or restaurant less poky and more welcoming. These days you can even offer free wifi along with local papers / brochures etc to keep your waiting guests entertained.
Buy Cheap, Buy Twice
While it is definitely a fact that the cost of your fitout project can be daunting, the way you do it will likely effect the financial outcome of your business. So it is to see why some restaurant owners will sacrifice the quality of furniture and equipment and shop based on price. You should look for value, not price. In a restaurant environment, most items will face regular, rough usage, so if you buy cheap you will more likely have to buy twice, making cheaper products more expensive that meets the eye.
If you want to save money, before each purchase, think, do we really need this item. If so, choose the one that is going to last longer and perform the function it is required for well. Cheap products can break easier, produce lower quality food and drinks, frustrate your staff and lower the image of your establishment. If it is cheap and quality, great. If it is just cheap, leave it alone.