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It is a question that has been asked since the first restaurant was founded: How many tables can I fit in the restaurant and still have comfortable customers? Restaurant dining rooms must be designed for customer comfort, efficiency, mood and optimal number of diners (i.e., fitting in as many people as reasonable).
Restaurant DesignThe type of furniture you purchase for your restaurant sets the tone and the mood in the dining room. A nice restaurant serving dinner will do well with warm tone wooden tables and chairs. If chairs have no cushions, make sure they are contoured for optimal comfort.
Some diners prefer booths regardless of the level of formality of the meal. Have a booth section even if it is small.
Think about the color scheme you want in your restaurant and use the same color scheme or set of matching colors for everything. For example, the wallpaper or paints, the tablecloths, the napkins, the seat cushions, the booths, the waiter clothing all must harmonize.
Restaurant EfficiencyPacking tables too close together results in bad service. When waitresses and bussers cannot reach a water glass, they are in the position of either leaving the glass empty, reaching across the table, or asking the guest to hand them the glass. To offer the best service, you must leave enough room between tables so that employees can walk around each table when the restaurant is full.
In general, assume 15 square feet of space per diner in the restaurant. Banquet dining may require less, as little as 10 square feet per person. For best service, 20 square feet per person is good but in order to make a profit you may need to figure 18 or 15 square feet per person. Calculate the square footage in the dining room of the restaurant, then figure how many people you can fit if you allow, for example, 18 square feet per diner.
Most tables in the restaurant should fit four people comfortably. It is acceptable to have some small tables for deuces, and necessary to have or be able to put together tables to accommodate large parties.
When purchasing furniture for the restaurant, budget in more than you need. It is good to have extra chairs and tables in case of damage or if you need extra on a given night for a large group of customers.
Another aspect of restaurant design and efficiency to keep in mind is how many times do you expect to turn the table? This will have a bearing on how many people you can feed and how much money you can make.
On a dinner shift that lasts from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., deuces will likely take 2 hours for a two or three course meal. Larger parties are more likely to take longer, as will people celebrating anniversaries, birthday, and holidays. These calculations are vital to being prepared to serve people, not run out of supplies, and not have supplies spoil because they never got sold.
Remember that people who come to dine are there to have a nice time, as well. In general, they must be allowed to sit for as long as they like. Do not make the mistake of being overzealous and pushing people out the door with rushed service. Rushed service is bad service, and will result in diners not returning.