With restaurants, as with people, it’s what’s inside that counts. But the outside of your restaurant is also very important. After all, it’s the first area that your customers see.

Your bar, dining area and kitchen are important parts of your design, but the first thing your customers will see is your restaurant’s outside area and entrance. So get these areas looking in top shape to ensure that your restaurant is seen in the best light.

Put your best foot forward

As mentioned earlier, ensuring that the outside area of your restaurant looks its best creates a good impression of your establishment. And remember that first impressions are important. Perhaps some inviting music playing in the entrance will add the right note to your restaurant. An attractive awning will add a welcoming look and protect patrons from the sun and rain. Decorating the outside area with plants will dress up an entrance and help to make patrons feel at home. Always ensure that the outside area is clean and in good repair.

Make the right signs

The sign for your restaurant represents your business to potential customers so don’t scrimp on design or materials and get it made by an experienced professional. Unfortunately, many restaurants don’t have staying power in this competitive industry and a poorly made sign is (excuse the pun) a bad sign that the owners don’t have a professional attitude. You will also need to ensure that the sign complies with the regulations in your area.

Also, don’t neglect other signs that you might require, including parking, no smoking, directions to the entrance and so on. Well-made signs will not only add a professional touch, but will last longer.

Light it up

Lighting is an important aesthetic element and creates the right ambience for your restaurant. It’s also an important safety feature. Place lights strategically outside for adequate visibility but don’t go overboard or your restaurant might look like it has police spotlights.

Put your plan in place

Your outdoor seating plan will depend on how much space you have and how you want to utilise it. So a bar area or a chill area will be different to outdoor dining.

You will need a balance of tables – enough that you are doing good business but not too much that it feels cramped. Remember to keep seating away from awkward spaces such as the busy reception area and noisy kitchen. You also need to make walkways that allow customers and staff to move around without getting in each other’s way.

The outside impression of your restaurant design is important, but don’t forget that your establishment’s success rests on your restaurant’s fare and your customers’ experience at your eatery.

Check out our e-book for more holistic advice on the secret ingredients for a successful restaurant.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst