Restaurant Layout Factors That Keep Guests Coming Back

Designing a restaurant dining room is no easy feat. Layout, lighting, seating arrangements and location are just some of the factors hotel and restaurant management should take into consideration. You can concoct a delicious menu and the most beautifully appointed room on the block — but if guests aren't comfortable, chances are, they won't be back. Keep these restaurant layout considerations in mind, and your diners will return again and again.


A lot of small, independent eateries opt for a noisy environment over a more common decibel level. Why? Because it establishes a hip factor and can draw a crowd. If you have a room with lots of tables, an open kitchen, loud music and a rowdy bar, they will all add to the noise level. This open type of restaurant layout doesn't absorb sound and that could turn diners off, so decide what's most important. Keeping the decibel levels to a reasonable hum means guests might linger, hopefully ordering more wine and dessert, but a rambunctious environment could attract a curious new crowd strolling the sidewalk.

Heating and Ventilation

There's no way around this expensive factor, but all good restaurants invest in solid heating and cooling to ensure proper temperature for their customers. Your kitchen will need the right kind of ventilation and exhaust equipment to pull out heat, cooking aromas and smoke. It's important to find a place in your restaurant's layout for all the utility resources, and in way that doesn't ruin the look of the establishment. If you're located in a four-season city like Boston, there's nothing worse than a basement bathroom that's freezing in the depths of winter or a sweltering dining room during a heat wave. Ignoring the temperature will cost you, both in sales and positive Yelp reviews.


More seats can often equal more paying customers, which is why hotel and restaurant management tries to maximize seating capacity. The key? Doing so without interfering with the ambiance. The types of tables you purchase — high or low, square or round, counters or booths — will ultimately determine the table layout. You should consider designing a space with breathing room so customers don't feel like crammed sardines in a can. Not having enough leg or elbow room (or a space for private conversation) can ruin any meal, regardless of how well the chef cooks the meat. The needs of your kitchen, storage and customers will be specific to your restaurant and vision, so be realistic about you can comfortably fit in your space.


Your lighting design should complement the ambiance you want. If you're looking to create an intimate, cozy room, having high-wattage LED lights won't match the mood you're aiming for. Remember that different areas of your restaurant will require different kinds of lighting — storage rooms, offices and kitchens need brighter lighting than the bar or dining rooms. Work with natural light sources from windows or sky lights to accentuate architectural details or to give a drab corner of the room a pool of light from the outdoors.

Your overall atmosphere, design scheme and floor plan should weave in seamlessly to create a space people want to recommend and return to. A perfect layout can only enhance a restaurant's already great service and food.

Photo credit: Mary Luz Mejia