When restaurant owners first begin the interior design process, brand personality and visual communication of concept are firmly situated as the top priorities. And why not? When choosing the lighting, the ambience, seating, wallpaper, the counter, windows, even the doorknobs – it all serves to establish a tone and carve out a niche for your bar.
However, how many restaurant and bars undergo serious design overhauls within five years? Or ten? Truly succeeding on the interior design front involves more than perfecting color schemes and finding the perfect vintage framed photos. Here’s how to incorporate business savvy so you can optimize your space and consider more than simple bar trends.
One of the most persistent issues managers have is perfecting layout to maximize flow and circulation. When designing your restaurant, don’t sacrifice pathways and cohesion for a couple of extra seats. Though fitting in an extra table may seem like top priority, dealing with crowded areas or consistent foot traffic problems will frustrate employees, eat up precious time and money, and lead to lower customer satisfaction.
A few Yelp reviews detailing your tight and crowded spaces can spell disaster. Assume you won’t have an issue attracting customers when designing your space. Bring in an expert to ensure optimal flow even when full to capacity.
Don’t overlook the details. Sometimes, lavish and beautiful interiors completely fail to impress customers. You can spend thousands on unique and iconic decorations only to be dismissed by core demographics. The prolonged bar trends focus on social factors and comfort. You must appeal to all senses in your design.
How’s your sound design? Is your bar or restaurant playing the music too loud, or not loud enough? Is the soundscape relaxing? What about the smell? Have you consulted with an aroma expert to make sure customers aren’t losing their appetite before the meal arrives? Also ensure your lighting design is functional beyond being aesthetically appealing – if it’s too dark customers won’t engage with each other, but if it’s too bright they’ll be itching to leave.
Finally, don’t rely on current bar trends or current events to dictate your theme or layout. When designing the interior of your restaurant, craft a unique feel that can weather a changing cultural landscape. If that sounds too lofty, just cut it down to business sense – don’t choose an interior that doesn’t have universal recognition and appeal. We all understand the feel of a flannel-decorated, oaky lumberjack bar. But one based around a local sports team might not be relevant in a few years. Take all of these tactics into consideration to create an interior that will remain likeable and profitable for years.