So the time has come to design and fitout your venue - are you excited?
All the years of planning and scheming have finally come to fruition, and your dream venue is on it's way to reality. However, it is at this point that many of us without hospitality experience will get a little bit...distracted.
From napkins, to paint colours, to the choice of music playing in the bathrooms; nailing the decor and overall 'vibe' feels like the priority when it comes to welcoming in new customers. But did you ever stop to consider how the actual layout design of the venue could affect business?
Fact: the way people move in your space has a direct correlation with your venue's success.
A great design on a piece of paper does not always equal a successful design on the floor: without proper preparation and help from experienced professionals, it could leave you with a venue with serious issues. Too much furniture could make it crowded, not enough could leave it empty. Poorly placed desks or bars could hinder easy flow through the venue, whilst badly located bathrooms are a disaster.
So, here are a few simple steps to making sure your venue's design ticks all the boxes:
Cooks in the kitchen, waiters on the floor
One of the primary rules in designing an efficient front-of-house is to make sure that the service staff have access to the kitchen team wherever necessary, but they never cross paths. Any conflicting flow patterns, where the movement of back-of-house and front-of-house staff overlap, are disasters waiting to happen.
POS near the food pick up area
When a POS system is located near the food pick-up area, it requires servers to walk by the food pick-up window on a regular basis. This promotes efficient food delivery, as a manager or expediter will ask servers to run food in the window whether it is for their tables or not.
Create easy walkways
In the dining room, the seating configuration will create the aisles and passages used by the servers to travel through the restaurant. These aisles are an incredibly important component of the service function, and besides - no one wants to feel too big to squeeze through the aisles!
Have visibility across everything
Consider service stations in the dining room. When located and configured properly, the server can keep an eye on their patrons without appearing to hover. Always be visible, and ready to help - it will take a lot of the stress out of the customer's dining experience.
Keep the service and dining areas separate
Without banishing your staff to social Siberia, it's really important to keep the food prep areas out of sight (and earshot!) of your customers. Having a diner overhear the conversation between wait staff can feel both intrusive and distracting.
And this is just the beginning.
Venue design is a complex balance of your creative vision, and what's proven to work - it goes without saying that looping in the experts is a smart choice.
Professional shopfitters have been doing this job for years, and will pick up on issues that you won't even know to look for. Hospitality venues require a unique set of design needs, from kitchen setups (taps, sinks, gas outlets, fridges) to specific safety requirements.
So take your time to measure twice and cut once with your new venue - napkin choice is important, but getting the bones of your building right is crucial.