If you asked me to describe my favourite restaurant, I’d probably tell you about the best dish I’ve tried there, how wonderful the wine is or about the diligence of the waiting staff. I probably wouldn’t describe the lighting, the ambience, the layout of the tables or the level of sound. However, these restaurant design choices have a subliminal effect on how your customers enjoy their experience, and how much money they’ll spend.
If you want customers to spend more in your restaurant, you need to get them to spend more time there. If the restaurant is comfortable then they’ll hang around longer and order more food or drinks. So the question then is ….how do you get customers to linger for longer?
Two of the most important restaurant design considerations are sound and lighting – these two elements are extremely important for making customers feel happy, stay longer and eat more.
Sound and acoustics
Loud noise stifles conversation. If you can’t hear your friend then you’ll move onto somewhere else where you can talk and listen. The sound in the dining area affects the feel of the restaurant: good acoustics are important although they can be difficult to get right. Some of this comes down to the hardness of the surfaces in the restaurant. Even though hard surfaces such as brick walls, metal embellishments and stone surfaces are easy to maintain, they don’t absorb sound well and can make the setting quite noisy which isn’t condusive to a good conversation. Soft furnishings absorb sound if that’s the look and feel that you’re going for.
Lighting design considerations
Flattering lighting design in your restaurant can make customers subconsciously feel better about their dining experience; they’ll eat slower, order richer food, and enjoy it more. The obvious choice would be to go for a dark and moody setting, but this isn’t always the best approach although it does work well for couples. Sometimes a light-filled space with high ceilings provides a more positive, elevated mood.
Your lighting choice really depends on what customer you’re trying to attract, the type of dining experience you want to convey and how you want to make the customer feel.
Restaurant colour schemes
The colour scheme for your restaurant should be dictated by the space and the type of restaurant that you’re bringing to market. For example, Traditional thinking is that red is a good colour choice because it stimulates the senses and brings on hunger, but some experts say it can actually deter customers from staying longer: interestingly, red is used a lot in fast food establishments where high turnover is the goal. If you’re running a healthy eating establishment then greens and browns can promoted a feeling of wellness, but they can appear a little depressing in a darker space. Blue has the effect of making the food look unappealing and therefore the customer’s appetite will be suppressed. So when you’re looking at the design of your restaurant, remember that the colour scheme can have a psychological effect on customers.
The layout of your restaurant is another design choice that will add to the overall ambience. Think about how tables and chairs are arranged. Will all the seating be the same or will there be seperate areas for different types of diners? If you’re part of a large group then you’ll need a different type of space to a family or couple. Having a choice of dining space has a psychological effect on your customers and will make them feel more welcome.
As you can see, the design of a restaurant, from the ceiling height down to the choice of flooring, can have a psychological effect on how customers view a restaurant and how much they spend there.