The saying goes “You only get one chance to make a first impression” people keep saying this because it is true and not just for people but for everything else as well including restaurant design. A great restaurant exterior will not only make a good first impression but also not present any barriers to patrons entering. A great exterior makes a restaurant easy to find and easy to get into the first steps to getting customers to come back. Follow these 10 tips to have a great restaurant exterior.
Restaurant Idea 1. Have a clearly defined entrance. The front door, the place where you expect people to come in and out should be clear. Many times restaurants that take space in strip malls will have 2 or more doors, because the building shell was not designed with a specific tenant in mind, remove these unused door. If a door is required as an exit remove the exterior handles and any other clue to potential patrons that this is an entrance. The entrance should be more than just a door in a wall an Architectural feature should act as a designation of entrance. This could be many different things, the door could be inset or pushed out, a canopy over the door could provide or wing wall could flank the sides of the door. You are only limited by your imagination.
Restaurant Idea 2. Provide shelter at the entrance. The weather is not always good and the well designed entrance will start to give shelter to patrons before entering the restaurant. This has several practical impacts. People will not be rushing through the doors when it is raining, they will be able to approach the entrance get out of the rain and stop to shake off before using the doors, minimizing accidents. It also provides a place for people to stand outside while waiting for a friend to pick them up.
Restaurant Idea 3. Have doors that are easy to open and easy to get through. Most restaurants have double doors at the entrance and many times only one door is unlocked, people approach one of the doors grab the handle and pull only to find the door immovable. This totally defeats the purpose of having a double door, unlock both doors or have only one wide door. Most restaurant doors will have automatic door closing devices know as closers. Keep these adjusted to the minimal allowable pull force force, 8.5 pounds of force in the US.
Restaurant Idea 4. Be clearly open or clearly closed. Not all restaurants are open all day, some are dinner only, some are lunch and dinner and some are breakfast only. A restaurant should clearly indicate the hours of operation. The hours should be posted to be seen from the parking lot. A lot of bad feeling will be generated in potential patrons if they are forced to walk up to the front door only to find the restaurant closed. A tasteful open and closed sign integrated into the design is an even better than idea. Passive signals sent by lighting is also a possibility but can be dangerous if blinds are used to shield the interior from morning or afternoon sunlight, and should be avoided.
Restaurant Idea 5. Parking must be provided near the entrance and in sufficient quantity relative to the seating inside. In almost any city it is possible to find restaurant buildings that are great facilities, but never seem to stay in business long. This is almost always due to insufficient or inconvenient parking. The amount of parking required will vary based on whether the restaurant is in an urban or suburban location, but in all cases some parking will be required and it must be convenient to the entrance. There are many successful urban restaurant with all parking provided for on the street, but in all cases the street parking is not difficult to find by the standards of the city. Urban neighborhoods that are under-parked will handicap any local restaurant. Suburban restaurants will most likely have parking lots adjacent to the building these lots need to be large enough and the walk from the lot must easy.
Restaurant Idea 6. The front entrance must allow for drop off and pickup. Whether the restaurant will have valet parking or not space for pickup and drop should be provided. People will pull up near the entrance to pickup or drop off people whether it is planned for or not. If it is not planned for then this will cause a temporary halt to parking lot or street traffic. The halt to traffic will irritate patrons.
Restaurant Idea 7. Carefully locate the service area so as to minimize odors. Restaurants will produce food waste and it will smell. A restaurant will have an outdoor service area where waste is stored prior to pickup this must be located with care so as not to offend the patrons.
Restaurant Idea 8. Design Landscaping with maintenance in mind. Maintaining landscaping can be time-consuming and expensive, be realistic about how much time and effort this will take. Plantings full of weeds in front of a restaurant send a strong signal that the facility is not well-kept and will be a turn off to potential patrons.
Restaurant Idea 9. Outdoor seating is nice to have but do not depend on it for consistent use. Eating out-of-doors can be very pleasant and give a restaurant nice ambiance but these seat can be taken out of commission but the weather. It is not only rain that can do this also wind and heat will discourage the use of outdoor seating.
Restaurant Ideas 10. Your sign should have a shape. The restaurant sign should have a distinctive outline. From a distance the silhouette of the sign will be the first thing visible a good sign will start building recognition at the first sighting.