A well-designed and intentional space creates a dynamic and unique atmosphere for any restaurant.

Have you ever felt like you’ve walked into the same restaurant a hundred times? Restaurants must stand out to remain competitive in today’s consumer markets, but many high-end restaurants require similar layouts and functionalities to stay operational. It’s the skill of a creative and innovative restaurateur to create a unique space that stands out and helps create a whole new atmosphere that will keep your customers returning and spreading the word about your spot. If you’re looking for ways to make your restaurant stand out, here are a few design trends and tips to help turn your eatery into a destination.

Make a Bold First Impression With Your Entryway

Your restaurant entryway is one of the essential elements of your establishment. Your entryway will be the first impression your diners get as they enter your space. Create a unique and welcoming entryway with all the functionality you require for your business, such as a convenient spot for the hosts, comfortable waiting areas for guests, and unique and eye- catching décor that reflects the aesthetic and vibe of your restaurant. This entryway should stand out but still provide functionality and space for your customers entering and waiting to be seated.

Use a Variety of Textures Throughout the Space

Using a variety of textures throughout your restaurant space is a great way to create a sense of depth and add interest to the dining space. You can use different wallpaper for each dining area, add a variety of artwork to the walls, and use different materials for your floors, chairs, tables, etc., to create a dynamic experience that will leave your customers wanting to return to your unique atmosphere. Adding indoor plants is a great way to add texture and a pop of color to your dining area.

Create a Photo Wall for Hashtag Worthy Moments

A photo wall is a great way to create a unique and shareable component for your restaurant. This photo wall can be outside your restaurant or inside, but be sure that it is impressive, eye- catching, and has plenty of space for people to stop and take a photo in front of it. You can create a photo wall with neon signs, unique wallpaper, mirrors, and more. Create a hashtag for your restaurant and paint it on the wall next to the photo spot to help your customers spread the word about your restaurant across social media. If you don’t have the space to create a photo wall specifically, you can use other areas for photo-op moments, such as the bathrooms. You can add a neon sign to the bathroom wall and some cute wallpaper to create a beautiful and effortless selfie spot for your customers.

Design an Effective Layout

The design and décor of your restaurant are essential, but your actual functionality and efficiency are equally, if not more important. While designing your restaurant layout, create an effective and efficient space for servers and customers to move through. Servers should be able to easily access all areas of the restaurant where diners are seated quickly and without significant obstacles to avoid the potential for dropping food, running into other servers, or creating a traffic bottleneck within your space. Your restaurant kitchen layout should also be practical and spacious for all your servers to move through while still communicating with the kitchen staff. Be sure to space apart kitchen stations, dining tables, chairs, etc., appropriately so your team doesn’t have to struggle to run food or clear dishes.

Outdoor Dining is a Plus

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor seating has become popular for patrons looking for an alternative dining option to indoor seating or takeaway. A stunning and comfortable outdoor seating area is a fantastic addition to any fine dining establishment. You can add an outdoor bar and patio space for diners to enjoy, along with plenty of shade and greenery to create a beautiful and welcoming environment. Be sure to create plenty of shade and add outdoor fans or heaters if necessary. You can convert your outdoor dining area into a private event space for large parties if you have the space.

Create an Easily Accessible Pickup Space for To-Go Orders

The popularity of takeaway options has dramatically increased since the pandemic, and many people still prefer to take their food to go rather than sit inside a restaurant. If you don’t create an easy and accessible to-go option for your diners, you may lose out on a significant business opportunity. Your to-go counter should be located close to the restaurant’s entrance and be visible to customers entering your space. You can take this service a step further and offer curbside pickup, but be sure you have the infrastructure to create this system effectively, such as dedicated parking spaces and a reliable communication system, so customers aren’t waiting long periods for servers to bring out their orders. When you create your to-go pickup counter, be sure it fits in with the rest of your restaurant’s aesthetic and doesn’t take up too much space in your establishment.

A well-designed and intentional space creates a dynamic and unique atmosphere for any restaurant. To remain competitive today, restaurants of all sizes are investing in unique looks and environments for their customers, on top of serving delicious meals. Try these restaurant design trends to take your eatery to the next level.

Alex Briggs is a marketing professional working with GRUBBRR specializing in online marketing, public relations, and consumer research.

Expert Takes, Feature, Food Safety, Restaurant Design