Modern fast-food restaurants are places where dreams collide – meaning that both the food world and the design world join forces to create a unique experience – with the right layout and design scheme, that is.
From modern industrial to quirky chic, restaurants can hold all sorts of charm and aesthetically pleasing, nostalgic mementos of foods eaten as a child, or they could present something completely innovative and fresh – begging customers to stay, sit down, and spend dollars on a quick meal that they will want to tell their friends about.
Learning the basics of restaurant design is one step closer to causing a pleasant experience for customers – or a not so pleasant experience. If there is ample room in the restaurant to move about, and the space gives enough privacy, the restaurant may be a winner. But, if a customer experiences tight quarters along with eavesdropping distance tables – then they might consider taking the food to go, or not showing up at all.
Developing a solid restaurant design and layout is the bread and butter (pun intended) of a good fast food experience (with cleanliness being a plus, of course). Learning how to strategically plan out ways to give a customer a relaxing experience is the best way to go about building a restaurant business.
Here are design ideas that other restaurants (or soon to be) owners are doing in their restaurants. Mimic their ways, put a spin on them, and create some good designs.
What Do Modern Fast Food Restaurants Look Like?
Modern fast-food restaurants are very colorful these days – and not without a few architecturally designed eye-pleasers to go along with the mouth-pleasing food.
Modern-day restaurants are designed quite open in layout. From small restaurants, these might even be galley-style walkways with long tables on either side to fit as many customers in as possible. But the themes stay the same.
Open, Airy, and Light
Many modern restaurants also turn to the exposed ceiling concept, along with large windows, to make the building feel bigger than it is. Inviting natural light into a restaurant, no matter how big or small is a surefire way to add positive energy to the atmosphere and could even save on lighting bills, as a bonus.
Bold in Architecture and Color
Oftentimes, fast food restaurants aren’t what is recognized as conventional. They may include some wacky architecture, contrasting colors, and sometimes even the most bizarre art pieces around. Colors in restaurants are meant to capture attention, invoke emotion, and cause hunger (yes, it’s true – but more about that later).
What Does it Cost to Design a Fast Food Restaurant?
So, what does it cost to design a fast food restaurant?
According to Sweeten, the normal range for hiring a restaurant designer and having plans drawn up can cost a fast food restaurant owner $25,000-$400,000 depending on the size and location of the restaurant. They say that most owners should expect to spend at least 10% of their construction budget on design alone.
When a restaurant owner hires a designer, they can expect the designer help with:
- Layout Design
- Lighting Design
- Kitchen Design
- Bathroom Design
- Architectural Design
- Interior Design: Such as the tables, chairs, fixtures, and décor (some design firms do both structural design and interior design, but it is wise to find out for sure).
Fast Food Restaurant Layout Ideas
Hot Line or Fresh Line
One popular idea in modern fast-food restaurants is to include an open hotline or fresh line (depending on the menu). Food lines are a unique way to save space in the kitchen while making a customer feel included in the making of their own food.
Open-style kitchens are increasing in popularity as well. This type of layout lets customers view the cooks, bakers, and servers as they prepare their food. This is especially fun if a fast food restaurant specializes in pizza or baked items. Guests can partake in their meal’s journey – all the way from ordering to the creation and up to the mealtime.
Privacy and Openness
Open and privacy layouts depend on the type of cuisine and style that the restaurant is going after, but overall, both openness and privacy are both good things to include in a fast-food restaurant. The designer can opt to create coves for groups to huddle in, half walls for a private dining setting, or a completely café-like style – if the brand’s style agrees.
Drink and Condiment Stations
Most fast-food restaurants include drink and condiment stations for their customers to choose their drink and season their food how they please. Keeping the food and drink stations at the front near the ordering counters is wise because it compliments the flow of stages in the meal process. First comes ordering, then comes drinks and condiments, and lastly, finding a table at which to sit.
Ample wall space is often an afterthought in fast food restaurant design – but it is important, nonetheless. Wall space offers room for décor, but most importantly, menus. Modern-day menus are often a spread of televisions that display the food items (as well as advertisements). Keeping in mind wall space is essential in our technologically advancing restaurants.
Seating may be one of the most important aspects of a restaurant– fast food or not. Mixing up tables and chairs with booths is a good idea. Table and chairs can always be moved to accommodate large groups, and some customers just prefer booths over tables.
Fast Food Restaurant Interior Design Ideas
Now for the fun part – the interior design!
Here are 6 design tips to keep in mind when designing a fast food restaurant:
- Include emotion-invoking colors: According to the Daily Infographic, the color red invokes the feeling of hunger, yellow can make people feel happy and friendly, and blue can make people feel calmer. Including these primary colors a fast food restaurant will take customers on an emotional journey that will cause them to buy products and enjoy their experience.
- Include easy to clean and non-slip surfaces: Chairs made from good quality plastic or metal, non-slip tile floors, low-fiber carpet, and tile walls (like subway tile) are the best to stick to for the interior. Having little to know fabric involved in a fast-food restaurant is found to be more hygienic and easier to clean for employees.
- Include fixtures: Have fun choosing light fixtures, as they can add an element of taste and fun to the atmosphere of the restaurant. Include low hanging fixtures over bars, can lights over service areas, and large, eye-catching fixtures in the dining areas.
- Add plants and décor: To top off the entire design of a fast-food restaurant, adding quirky décor and plants makes the atmosphere more appealing and homelike.
Taking the time to develop a restaurant design that suits a budget, and brand style is important. It is the first impression and interaction the customer has with a new restaurant, and it keeps them coming back and enjoying similar experiences. Keeping the atmosphere and feel of a restaurant appealing to the eye and soul is just as essential as keeping food appealing to the nose, eyes, and mouth.