Restaurant Design

Restaurant Design : The Definitive Guide To Menu, Layout, Website, Brand Design & More (2023)

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Mastering Restaurant Design in every aspect can be difficult,



There is a framework that restaurants experts like to follow when it comes to designing a restaurant,

In this ultimate, we will cover each one of those aspects in-depth,

And here is what you’ll get:

  1. Restaurant Design Fundamentals
  2. Layout design
  3. Kitchen Design
  4. Menu Design
  5. Brand Design
  6. Website Design
  7. Tips & Tricks
  8. Design examples


So without further due,

Let’s jump right into it,


What is Restaurant Design


The first step in every process is to get a good understanding of the topic itself,

Now in this case,

I want to tell you a little about what designing a restaurant really means,

And while some people believe that the design is not important itself,

Most successful restaurant owners are saying that it is one of the most crucial aspects of opening and running a business,

The reason is that there are three-pillar in a restaurant’s concept:

  • Service
  • Menu
  • Layout


And 2 out 3 of those are related to restaurant design,

So yes, it matters,

In fact,

Restaurant design has a huge impact on:

  • The atmosphere
  • The experience
  • The customer satisfaction
  • The pricing
  • The reputation
  • And ultimately the profitability



In this guide, I wanted to touch on every valuable aspect,

Ultimately, Restaurant design is simply the study of:

  • The interior design
  • The outdoor design
  • The bar design
  • The kitchen
  • The menu
  • The brand
  • And the website



Restaurant Design Areas


But not only that,

I will also give you some insights on how to use psychological and external factors to make your design even more powerful,

Let’s not waste any time and let’s get started with the first section that will be about the Layout.


Restaurant Layout Design


To tackle this section,

We will be analyzing:

  • The interior design
  • The outdoor design
  • Floor plans
  • The bar Design
  • Lightening design
  • Capacity Management


But before that,

I need you to take note of those considerations that anyone looking to design a restaurant should prioritize in the first place:

  • The concept
  • The types of restaurants
  • The theme
  • The style


In fact,

The most important factor here is the concept,

And your priority should be to keep your concept in mind when designing,

The concept must go together with the atmosphere and ambiance created through the layout design.

The design should be the reflection of your concept,

And if this is not the case,

It could lead to confusion and ultimately to fewer customers,

Now with that in mind,

Let’s rock on the interior design


Interior design

Now this one is big,

The reason being that it is the first impression that you give to the customers,

And the problem here is that,

We only have one chance to give it,

So we need to make sure that we are taking that opportunity and leaving a mark on the customers’ minds,

That being said,

A great interior design will lead to:

  • Enhanced experience
  • Higher satisfaction
  • More customers
  • Higher retention



Restaurant Interior Design Benefits


And I could go on,


Here are a few components you need to consider when designing the interior layout of your restaurant:


Capacity :


Fast food will usually have a more claustrophobic seating layout to increase turnover,

Fine dining will more luxurious spacing telling the customer to stay longer and to have a great experience


Flexibility :


You need to make sure that in case you want to host an event or anything of that sort,

You can modify whatever you want and you are not restricted by your own layout




This is key, and we will touch on it when talking about the psychological factors that affect the design


Lighting :


You can create an ambiance only by using the power of diverse accent lighting


Technology :


Nowadays it is becoming a must-have in every restaurant for both customers and businesses


Ventilation :


One of the key factors to consider is human comfort,

So you need to make sure that Your HVAC systems are well functional in terms of sonority, efficiency, and design


Sun exposure :


If your restaurant is having sun exposure trouble, you need to factor it into your design


Ceilings :


Using a ceiling can add a certain ambiance to your design by contrasting the lights, colors, and textures


Now keep in mind,

When it comes to interior design,

Let your creativity speak,

But always come back to those fundamentals to make sure that you don’t end up having problems once the design,


But what now?

You know what is important and what to consider,

But what should we do with all this juicy information,

Well, the idea is to gather all your thoughts,

And to so you can use this spreadsheet,


Restaurant Layout Design Ideas


Once you have your thoughts gathered up,

Let’s actually put them together and see how we can create a floor plan with a simple framework.


Floor Plan

When it comes to putting together a floor plan,

Most people think that you need a certain amount of experience to do so,

And this is a wrong assumption,

In fact,

Here are all the areas to need to include in your floor plan:


Restaurant Floor Plan Areas



Once you have all the areas that will be included in your restaurant,

You can just go ahead and use the fundamentals that we mentioned previously to design it in the way that you like,

And tools such as SmartDraw make it super easy,

Once you have some floor plan draft,

Keep them aside,

Because this was only the first part of your design,

Once you learn more about the upcoming section of the article,

You will actually need to come back to it and make it better every time you learn something valuable,

So let’s continue with the bar design,


Bar design

The bar design will totally depend on your concept,

Maybe you want an old-school bar serving only whiskey-based beverages,

Or maybe you don’t serve alcohol and you only make a fresh smoothie,

Whatever your concept is,

Your bar design must be adapted to it,

But there are some general guidelines to follow such as:


Bar Equipment


Now if you had a bar in the floor plan,

You can go ahead and add things that you forgot,

If it’s already all in,

Let’s jump into the next section,



Restaurant Kitchen Design


When it comes to kitchen design,

You need to prioritize:

  • Efficiency
  • Kitchen staff productivity
  • Restaurant standards
  • Health and Safety
  • Chef requirement


It will have a huge influence on the service efficiency and quality,

And whether you decide on an open kitchen or a regular kitchen,

Those fundamentals will not change,

So to make sure that you are doing it the right way,

Here is what you need to know,


Make an equipment list:

The first step you need to take is to go ahead and make your equipment list,

And again,

This should be in line with your concept,

For instance,

Buying a huge amount of deep fryer while your concept is providing guests with healthy food,

Is both a financial error and a concept mismatch,

So you want to make sure you have all the necessary equipment to run the kitchen efficiently,

The best way to do so is simply to brief your kitchen chef,

As he will know exactly what to have and what to avoid in terms of costs and efficiency,

Here are some examples of what a sushi restaurant might have in the kitchen:

  • Cookware
  • Rice Cookers and Warmers
  • Cutting Boards
  • Vegetables slicers and mandolins
  • Mise en place containers
  • Rice Pressers
  • Utensils
  • Skewers
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Take away Supplies
  • Smoking Wood
  • Low-temperature freezers
  • Shamoji Spatulas



Sushi Restaurant Equipment List


Design with food wastage in mind:

Food waste is a huge problem in the restaurant industry,

In fact,

We have a whole article covering this topic and giving you some tactics to reduce it,


You need to consider it in your design,

And you could potentially include some wastage equipment such as:

  • A composter
  • A disposer
  • Food waste recycling bags
  • A compactor


Health Procedures

Whenever you are building a business,

There will always be some legal requirements that you must follow,

You could be in huge problems if you don’t comply with them,

And those will vary depending on your specific location,

So make sure you check your local government requirements,

And see whether there are any specific licenses and permits you need to operate your business legally.



If you want to have an idea of what to include in your kitchen to increase efficiency and productivity,

Here are some of the fundamentals that every kitchen must have:


Kitchen Fundamentals areas



Now that you have an idea of what the kitchen should look like,

Let’s have a look at how you can actually increase your profitability by designing your menu.



Restaurant Menu Design


The menu design is one of the steps that require the most of your attention,

Even though it is not the first contact point between your restaurant and your customers,

It is actually both a selling and marketing tool that will either boost your profitability,

Or kill your profitability (if not well designed),

For those reasons we have a plan that you can follow to increase your chances of success,


Menu design plan


Menu Design Process



The first step when writing your plan is to actually lay out your restaurant concept,

Because again,

You need to make sure your menu design is consistent with the concept itself,

If your concept is providing guests with a unique digital experience,

You don’t want your menu to be an old-school card,

Once you have your concept laid out and you know what to do,

You will need to go ahead and set SMART Goals,


SMART goals


And we do so to make sure that we know where we are going with the menu,

And to make sure that we are pairing it with the concept,

Now you can go ahead and choose what type of menu you want to be featuring in your restaurant,

And that will usually be between:

  • Set menu
  • A la carte menu
  • Online Menu
  • Interactive Menu


Each one of them has its own pros and cons,

And you should choose one depending on your concept again,

Now I want you to write out all the menu items that you will be included in your menu,

We will not be covering how to choose menu items in this article,

However we have a whole article covering all of those steps in-depth and that shows you how to create a menu,

But I won’t say this enough,

It should be in line with your concept,

But you have all of that done,

We can start designing the menu,

And the first thing you need to know is that menu design ultimately affects the guests in many ways:

  • Influence the guest to choose one item over the other
  • Stimulate appetite
  • Communicate your concept
  • Bring profit to your restaurant


And to do so,

You will need to see some of the menu psychology tactics that we can utilize to increase your chances of success.


Menu Psychology

When it comes to menu psychology,

There are many factors that you want to consider,

And let’s start with the color psychology:


Color Psychology In Restaurants


The next consideration is interaction psychology,

In other words,

What can we do to influence the guests during that first interaction with the menu,

And here are some tactics:


Interaction Psychology In Restaurants


Now we can go ahead and start to think about the typical design psychology that most successful restaurants are using:


Design Psychology In Restaurants



The last step in this process is to tackle the pricing psychology,

And while you will have to learn first how to price your items,

Here are some ideas you can use to put a temporary fake price just to get an idea of the design:


Pricing Psychology In Restaurants



This was only to give you a general idea of what menu psychology looks like,

If this is something you want to dive deeper into,

I actually did put together an article covering this topic,

So if you have time you can take a look afterward,

Yet, we’re almost there,

So let’s jump into the next section and briefly tackle the brand design.



Restaurant Brand Design


The Branding design is a huge part of developing your restaurant concept,

And since it is a huge topic on its own,

We have a whole section covering restaurant marketing where you can find more about branding,

However let’s briefly tackle some of the fundamentals that you will need to design to give a reputation to your restaurants,


Logo design

Most entrepreneurs waste too much time on designing a logo,

And no,

I am not saying that a logo is not important,

In fact, designers are getting paid thousands of dollars to design a logo,

It is a huge thing,

However keep in mind that your logo might change over time,

So what I want to do here,

This is just to tell you some basic factors to consider when designing your logo draft

  • Start with your concept in mind
  • What is your mission statement?
  • List all the impactful words that you can think of in line with your restaurant
  • Lay out your buyer personas
  • Choose color and fonts in line with your concept
  • Draw or generate sketches


Their many ways out there to design a logo,

Here are some resources that I find helpful:



Color palette:

When you want to choose your color palette,

Come back to the color psychologies,

And understand what each color means,

You want to prioritize user experience,

By giving life to your colors,

I found this article to cover all aspects of color palette design,



The same goes the typography,

You need to make sure it is in line with your concept,

You don’t want your brand to be represented by modern typography while your restaurant is an old-school pub for example,

Keep this in mind and if you want to learn more again about the typo,

Here is an article that I read this morning and that I found useful,


Online presence

Your online presence is extremely important when it comes to brand identity,

This is in line with the next section where we will cover the website design,

But here I want you to understand that you will need to consider the following to make your online presence unique:


Online Presence for Restaurants




Let’s jump right into the website design and tackle some of the processes you can take to make your user experience design optimal,



Restaurant Website Design


Your restaurant design also involves your digital design,

And the representation of your brand and design will be through your website,

It is indeed a critical aspect of your overall design and marketing strategy,

And when it comes to website design,

There isn’t a particular method that is singular to everyone,

It will highly vary depending on your needs and concepts,


There are two concepts that you must understand and take into consideration whenever you are designing a website,


Difference UX and UI


So what I want to do is to give you a clear user experience design process,

As well as some UI design principles that you could follow to create your website.


User experience design process:


UX Design Process


When it comes to UX Design,

The first step you need to do is to lay out your buyer persona,

You need to know who your target customer is,

And when I am saying you need to know,

It should be really specific,

And it depends on your concept,

Targeting a specific market comes with the concept development,

So once you have you have your target market in mind,

You should design a buyer persona to make sure you are offering the right product to the right customer,

You don’t want to offer alcoholic beverages to kids (that would be quite wrong),

So here is an example of what a buyer persona could potentially look like,

Buyer Persona

Once your Buyer persona is ready,

We can go ahead and start designing your site architecture,

And this is a critical aspect of website design,

As it is the skeleton of your restaurant,

Site architecture should look something like this:


Restaurant Information Architecture


You need to show how you want to structure the hierarchy of your website,

To better understand how the customer will navigate through it,

And that leads us to the next step where you will have to design your customer journey,

It is all the experiences and interactions that the customer will take when interacting with your restaurant,

Here is an example of a customer journey:


Customer Journey For Restaurant


And in here you need to consider all the following:

  • Stages of consumer behaviors
  • Channels used to interact with the customers
  • Touchpoint with the clients
  • CTAs
  • KPIs
  • Departments involved in the process
  • Leverage price, technology, and prices


That will give you a clear picture of how is the customer interacting with your restaurants at every step of their journey,

You will then be able to include some of those features to your website accordingly,


Your next step will be to design some wireframes for your website,

These are just rough sketches that will show what the pages on your website will look like,

And here are some examples:


Restaurant Wireframe example


Don’t worry too much about it as you will design it later on,

And the last step comes in to give you even more clearance about the interaction with your website,

And this step is the User Flows,

The user flow is showing what are the potential path your customers can take when landing on your website,

When you have a clear understanding of how the customer is navigating through your website,

You can make them follow a specific path where they will end up purchasing your products,

But all of this process will not work if your website is not user-friendly and does not have a great user interface,

That is the reason why I want to share with you some UI design principles


User Interface Principles

Here I am just briefly going to share some principles that you could take into consideration when designing your website,

And here are some of them:


UI design Principles


You can learn more about UI in this article that I found useful,


Content Marketing

When I talk about content marketing for website design,

I specifically talk about including a blog,

And you should think about developing a blog within your website,

This is becoming extremely powerful as it provides you with authority on the search engine,

And it allows you to educate your customers on your restaurant or product,

As this is a whole topic on its own,

I have put together this article that outlines how you can leverage content marketing for your restaurant,



Restaurant Design Tips and Tricks


Now we are almost done,

But before that,

I wanted to give you some tips about restaurant design,

Just to give you more ideas on what you could potentially include in your overall design



Make sure to design your entrance in a way that will attract customers,

Remember, it is the first impression you give to your customer,

Make it last,



If in addition to a great design,

You also make sure that your restaurant doesn’t smell like old meat or fish,

You will increase your customer retention and loyalty.


Consider all senses

Remember that customers don’t come only for taste,

You should meet all their senses to provide them with a unique experience,

That will increase the chances that they come back and talk well about your restaurant


Leverage Location

If by any chance your location is in front of the beach,

Or is having a great environment around it,

Leverage it,

Use it to attract even more customers,

Especially if it is a high-traffic location.




I really hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide on restaurant design,

Hopefully, you have learned many aspects of design that will help you with:

  • Opening a new restaurant
  • Renovating your existing restaurant


We will have posts dedicated to each one of the sections covered in this article,

If you want to learn more about them, jump on it,


So what’s next?


Well now that you know how to design a restaurant,

You can go ahead and learn more about some marketing strategies to reveal your design to the public,

And if you need help with your design,

Make sure to drop us a couple of lines,

We would love to help you with it,

See you at the next one!

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