How To Build Your Own Restaurant Floor Plan

How To Build Your Own Restaurant Floor Plan

October 26, 2020, 08:37 PM UTC

A restaurant floor plan isn’t merely the blueprint for your business in the literal sense. It also drastically influence your bottom line. How you allot your square footage will affect efficiency, safety, profits, and the overall customer experience. Plus, lest we forget, every single staff member will navigate that floor plan daily.

In other words, this isn’t the time to flake. Putting serious thought and time into this stage of building your dream restaurant will save you money and hair-pulling frustration in the long run.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why a restaurant floor plan is important
  • How to create a restaurant floor plan (with professional or DIY sources)
  • Examples of well-designed restaurant floor plans 

What is a restaurant floor plan?

A restaurant floor plan is a comprehensive map of your restaurant. Among other things, the layout details the sizes of and distance between the bar, kitchen and dining rooms, designated serving areas, locations of emergency exits, bathrooms, electrical outlets, and more. Anything you need to make your restaurant physically function should be in the plan.

>>>RELATED: How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan

Why do you need a restaurant floor plan?

It’s a map of a place where smartphones (or even Waze) won’t give you directions. Without a restaurant floor plan, your staff (waiters, hosts, bartenders, line cooks, the whole gang) won’t have a tool with which to properly familiarize themselves with the restaurant. That makes it hard for them to do their jobs. Which means, it’s also hard to have customers. And, yeah, everyone is pretty much lost.

How do you create a restaurant floor plan?

Before we get to the fun part (design!), let’s knock out the features that should always be at the forefront as you craft your restaurant floor plan.

  • Building codes. Before you open your doors, everything must pass a slew of inspections. Review a handy checklist with this compendium of building codes.
  • Accessibility. Make sure workspaces, dining areas, entrances and bathrooms are accessible for people with mobility issues. Since 1992 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has ensured that employees and customers benefit from the same level of accessibility. Don’t run afoul of it.
  • Budget. Not to state the obvious, but also to totally state the obvious: Before you can figure out how much to spend on a buildout, you need to calculate how much it will cost to open your restaurant. (Spoiler alert, you’re looking at probably $175,000 on the low end.)
  • Efficiency. Can you move frictionlessly between front and back of house? How fast can someone deliver and stock inventory? Any “hurdles” with placing orders? You get it.
  • Aesthetic. At some point you’ve had a subpar meal but were so enchanted by the oversized vintage rattan chairs and banana leaf wallpaper you hardly cared. There’s a reason interior design has proven a successful tactic to drive traffic to restaurants

Speaking of interior designers, it’s costly to hire them or a professional architect to create your restaurant floor plan. But they do have their perks. They’ll know how to make every square inch as productive as possible. Plus, an architect will know how to keep the building up to code. (Did we mention there are lots of codes?)

If pro help isn’t in the budget, you can still DIY this baby. Software programs to help you gin up a custom-designed restaurant floor plan include:

What are some good examples of restaurant floor plans?

Let’s get to the visuals, shall we? Below are the key sections for your floor plan (from the kitchen to entryway) as well as examples of each one.   

KITCHEN

The kitchen floor plan is the keystone of efficiency and quality. The layout is contingent on the type of restaurant you plan to open; for instance, a high-end establishment may opt for an open kitchen while a hotel or catering operation will likely need a larger “zone” kitchen. 

Not sure which one works best for you? Check out this breakdown for more information. 

DINING ROOM

The average dining room takes up about 60 percent of your layout. That’s a lot of room to work with, and as the heart of your establishment it ought to help your staff operate at a high level and make diners feel comfortable. The Balance Small Business offers tips for designing your dining room. 

BAR

(Source: raymondhaldeman.com)

Not every floor plan will have one, but bars can be a great social addition. No liquor license yet? No problem! It features extra seating for diners. 

RESTROOMS

These take some strategy to place. For instance: Will they be for employees, or only for diners? Can you put some distance between them and the kitchen?  For ideas, including how to ensure your bathroom vibes with your ambiance, check out these 10 tips

ENTRYWAY / LOBBY

Making an entrance—so to speak—is more important in a restaurant layout than you think. “I've been to restaurants in the U.S. and abroad where they don't have any entrance space, but the warmth of welcome is something that is memorable,” Richard Coraine, senior management partner at Union Square Hospitality Group, has said. “I think that's the most important design element of any restaurant—the people in the front."

Know a restaurant with a layout you really admire? We’d love to hear—and maybe even write!—about it. Give us a shout: tips@backofhouse.io

[Photo by energepic.com from Pexels]