5 Restaurant Design Mistakes + How to Fix Them
Neon ‘OPEN’ signs
This is honestly my number one pet peeve when it comes to restaurants. I have driven past many high end looking restaurants and then immediately cringed when I saw the neon lighting. While these lights are great for late night chemists or grocery stores, there are much nicer looking and more effective ways to bring business to your restaurant, without compromising on aesthetics. Consider large outdoor string lighting underneath a verandah outside your restaurant, or alternatively try and ensure that there is enough visible lighting indoors either from pendant lights or candles on tables. As long as people can see that there are lights on inside, customers will come. If you are still after an ‘open’ neon sign, go for one that shines warm white lighting as it looks far less cheap and the colours will not reduce appetite.
Visible toilets from the dining area
Australian building code regulations dictate that there must be an airlock between the bathrooms and the general area. However, depending on the layout of the building, this does not always mean that the toilet is hidden! There is nothing more unappealing than looking up from a delicious meal to see a toilet, or someone washing their hands. Adding extra walls to hide bathroom entry is an ideal option to remove this eyesore, however, this can be expensive, therefore not an option that everyone can consider. Large pots with indoor plants can create a great affordable interior screens, as can paper panelled room dividers.
Re-using old equipment when changing locations
Re-using old equipment may not be the best idea for a number of reasons. Firstly, using old equipment may not work with the new layout of your restaurant. You may face issues with maintenance as old equipment tries to keep up with new services. Finally, old equipment may detract from the ‘wow’ factor of a sparkling new fitout, particularly when the kitchen is visible from the dining area.
Having store areas in corridors that customers use
Much like the issue with bathroom visibility, this can sometimes be unavoidable. However, wherever possible this should be fixed. Adding tall narrow cabinetry along the insides of corridors where possible can be an easy way to maintain storage while hiding mess from the public eye.
Not cleaning custom lighting
Custom lighting can be stunning and add beauty and class to any space. However, all too often, stunning feature lighting is installed and then never touched again. Unfortunately this means that guests to the restaurant have their eyes drawn to this feature, only to immediately notice all the dust and grime surrounding it. It is important when choosing custom lighting to also consider accessibility for cleaning and maintenance, and to ensure that this is done regularly so that the stunning feature can be noticed for all the right reasons.