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 the restaurant owner is maximizing the use out of each square foot leased or purchased. Restaurant layout also has an impact on the atmosphere, flow, and efficiency of the restaurant. Before going into the details of where to put the tables, where the restrooms should go, and how to layout the kitchen equipment, the restaurant owner must first determine where to place the kitchen. The most common location is in the rear of the restaurant. Placing kitchens in the rear of the restaurant enables the bar to be placed in the front with the dining area filling up the remaining space. This layout has many advantages. By placing the bar in the front, customers who are waiting for their tables are able to reach the bar without walking through the dining area, leading to less disruption to dinner service and more sales before the customers even take a seat. This leaves a large open space to layout the main dining area, enabling more design options.
Furthermore, placing the kitchen in the rear affects the exterior aesthetics of the building. The building is able to 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 which are exposed to the most traffic.
Another popular location for the kitchen is on one of either side of the restaurant. This also enables placement of the bar area in the front, while leaving a nice open space to arrange 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 to 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 appetites and may be entertaining for guests who are on a waiting list. An open kitchen near the front of the restaurant also creates a bit of excitement, even if the restaurant is not filled to capacity. If it’s early in the evening and the dining room is not quite full, an open kitchen near the front of the restaurant may add just the right amount of noise and excitement to draw the customer in. People usually don’t want to sit in an empty restaurant.
The last option is the place the kitchen somewhere in the middle of the restaurant. Although this arrangement can add tremendously to the atmosphere of a restaurant, it is the most difficult arrangement for a number of reasons. First, kitchens take up a lot of room. It is difficult to create a pleasing atmosphere with a large working space in the middle of the restaurant. One way to alleviate this issue is to have a separate food prep area in a tucked away location of the restaurant. All the necessary ingredients for the evening’s service can be prepared in the food prep kitchen and transferred to the display kitchen during dinner service. This allows a smaller kitchen for display cooking, which also cuts down on start up costs due to the higher end equipment required in a display kitchen. This design is popular for Japanese restaurants which usually have minimal kitchens to start off 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.