Kitchen and dining room layout is one of the most important things to consider when opening or remodeling a new restaurant. Efficient use of space ensures that the restaurant owner maximizes the use of every square foot rented or purchased. The design of the restaurant also has an impact on the atmosphere, flow and efficiency of the restaurant. Before going into the details of where to place tables, where bathrooms should go, and how to lay out kitchen equipment, the restaurant owner must first determine where to place the kitchen. The most common location is at the back of the restaurant. The placement of kitchens at the rear of the restaurant allows the bar to be placed at the front and the dining room occupying the remaining space. This design has many advantages. By placing the bar in the front, customers waiting for their tables can get to the bar without walking through the dining area, resulting in fewer interruptions in dinner service and more sales before customers take their seats. This leaves a large open space to distribute the main dining room, allowing for more design options.
Also, placing the kitchen at the rear affects the exterior aesthetics of the building. The building may have more exterior design options on the faces of the building that get more exposure – the front and sides. The restaurant owner can place windows or doors that lead to an outside patio on the faces of the building that are most exposed to traffic.
Another popular place for cooking is on one side of the restaurant. This also allows the bar area to be placed at the front, while leaving a nice open space to organize the dining area. Placing the kitchen on the side of the restaurant, near the front door, is an especially attractive option for restaurant designs that incorporate a display kitchen. By placing an open kitchen on the side of the restaurant near the front door, customers can immediately see, smell and hear the kitchen as soon as they walk through the door. This whets their appetite and can be entertaining for guests on the waiting list. An open kitchen near the front of the restaurant also creates a bit of excitement, even if the restaurant isn’t packed to capacity. If it’s early evening and the dining room isn’t fully booked, an open kitchen near the front of the restaurant can add just the right amount of noise and excitement to attract the customer. People don’t normally want to sit in an empty restaurant.
The last option is to place the kitchen somewhere in the middle of the restaurant. Although this arrangement can greatly contribute to the atmosphere of a restaurant, it is the most difficult arrangement for several reasons. First, kitchens take up a lot of space. It is difficult to create a pleasant environment with a large workspace in the middle of the restaurant. One way to alleviate this problem is to have a separate food preparation area in a secluded location from the restaurant. All ingredients required for the evening service can be prepared in the food prep kitchen and transferred to the display kitchen during the dinner service. This allows for a smaller kitchen for display cooking, which also reduces start-up costs due to the high-end equipment required in a display kitchen. This layout is popular for Japanese restaurants, which tend to have minimal kitchens to begin with. Restaurant owners may want to consult a restaurant designer to see which option is the most cost effective and works with the flow and atmosphere of the restaurant.