How to Deal with Common Design Problems of a New Restaurant

Did you know that a restaurant touches all five senses of the human body? Sight and smell stimulate your appetite. Hearing lifts up the mood, touch gives you incentive and taste is what makes you come back for more. In this way, a restaurant is a place of not only enjoyment but of experience. Therefore, you should design it in a way that not only caters to your brand’s personality but is personally inviting to your customers.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few restaurant design problems that modern eateries are plagued by these days. You might have even experienced one first hand! Remember when you went out for a casual hangout with your friends and ended up knocking elbows while eating because the table was too small? (Happens to the best of us). Or when you were allotted the table right in front of the bathroom and the whole dining experience turned out to be exceptionally terrible? (It’s universal!) These are not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to listing all the restaurant design problems.
So we’ll be taking a look at some of the most common design problems of a new restaurant and how to deal with them.

7 restaurant design problems and their possible solutions

Fact is, you can nip all of your restaurant’s design related problems in the bud if you simply do it right from the beginning. But let’s be honest; there never seems to be enough money to create the perfect restaurant design. That is not to say that you’re forced to deal with it. Below are some common restaurant design problems and ways to solve or work around them.

1. The Lonesome Table

The dining space of any restaurant has to be designed in a way that maximizes both looks as well as function. But you’ll find that one ubiquitous table at every restaurant that nobody wants to sit in. It is one of the most common restaurant design problems that you’ll come across. So what exactly is the solution for this problem? Well, first off you have to appraise the area. If it consists of unsavory visuals – like a view to the kitchen or service areas – try to block them with your interior design. If not, then consider replacing that table with something else entirely – maybe an efficient service booth.


2. The Small Kitchen Dilemma

Falling short of kitchen space is another of the most common restaurant design problems. You have to understand that your kitchen’s functionality depends on the efficiency of its layout. If you simply disregard this concept and cram every commercial kitchen equipment into a small space, then it’s no wonder your layout is failing. The kitchen is the hub of your restaurant, so you can even try shortening the menu to accommodate space. If you cannot, then try to prepare everything before dining hours so you don’t cause major accidents.


3. Irrelevant Decorations

I can tell you now; any restaurant interior that looks like it’s overwhelmingly decorated will automatically slew away at the business. It’s another one of those pesky restaurant design problems you face very often. You have to be very careful about decorating. Tasteful and classy are the way to go, or you might end up with an overly decorated yet empty business. Try to work according to a theme – modern, minimal, Arabic or even Chinese. This will give your interior design more context. You can even match the theme of your decorations with the style of cuisine you offer – for example; a Chinese décor for a Pan Asian restaurant.


4. Bathroom Door Location

Anybody who’s faced this problem first-hand would understand what a pain it can be. It’s the worst kind of turn-off when you accidentally look upon a closing bathroom door while sitting at your table. This is one of the worst restaurant design problems you can face. It can kill the entire experience of dining out. So for every restaurant owner who faces this problem, you have to keep those doors out of sight in order to keep your customers happy. You can do so by setting up laser-cut screens or constructing half-walls that keep the bathroom doors from the guests’ view.


5. An Ambiguous Concept

Have you ever gone to a Hipster cafe that pretends to be a fine-dine restaurant? No? That’s because those are two very unique concepts that should not be implemented in the same space. Not only would it be a total sensory overload, but also one of the biggest restaurant design problems you can face. A clear-cut concept is what gives guests confidence in your establishment. It’s what makes them want to come back again. So you have to define your concept and design your interiors, menus and decorations according to it.

Furthermore, it’s important to focus on your brand identity when you’re establishing any business. A restaurant interior branding has to be very engaging when it comes to the message, tone and promise it delivers. It’s best to lay this foundation well at the beginning of the process (though it can be corrected later on, it’s worth the investment to get it done right up front). Having a concept is important, but making that concept clear in a restaurant is even more so.

It’s important to figure out the brand personality (if the brand was a person, how would it walk, act, talk, dress, and behave?). You’re basically delivering a promise, position and story. The best solution, though, is to consider this brand checklist when designing your brand.


6. An Uninteresting Exterior

A guest’s experience at a restaurant starts long before the greeting from the host or hostess. Everything from the placement of signs, the paint on the outside of the building and the parking lot communicates and sets the initial tone for a restaurant brand. Another one of the most common restaurant design problems is when people start overlooking your establishment because of a bland exterior design. Here are some of the most common mistakes restaurants make with the exterior of their establishments.

– Your exterior design should be inviting and catchy in order to attract the customers. So you have to get creative with how your building looks from the outside.
– Try to use lots of glass so other people can see your guests enjoying themselves inside.
– A nice logo or an inviting header is a good way to market the name of your restaurant as well.
– A themed exterior can also be an attraction to guests who want to try something a little different.


7. Terrible Signage

Similarly, excessively bold signage is another way you can ruin the customer experience. Do you know the best part about eating out? It’s that you’re almost always in for a surprise. This rings true not only in the context of food but also in the context of designing. Exploring new settings is part of the restaurant experience.

If you mar it with some obvious signage, it can completely kill the ambiance. This is another one of those obvious restaurant design problems that can be commonly found. Understand that you do not have to mark the ‘Service Area’ or ‘Storage Room’ in Big Bold Letters. Trust your customers to be savvy enough about these things.


These are some of the universal problems that every restaurant owner and the client will face. We hope this article helped you identify these problems and hopefully solve them as well.

Related Posts

Comments (2)

Hi there,
Great article and also great cartoons. You should do this more often.

Great Points. Thanks for sharing .

Leave a comment

Comelite Architecture, Structure and Interior Design 2020. © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.