Restaurant Design: The Story is in the Details
A restaurant can be a collection of things: food, atmosphere, people, and more. All of these elements come together to tell a story. So how do you tell your restaurant’s story in a way that will be pleasing to your customers and stay true to the way you want the place to be represented? Here are a few items to think about when looking at restaurant design and telling your story.
Think about first impressions. Your exterior signage is essential, and your logo is everything, it’s the introduction to your story and sets the tone for the entire experience. Some elements to think about with exterior logo signage are size, shape, font, colors, and materials. Make sure your sign can be seen at the right heights and distances, as well as night-time if you’re open then. Check to make sure you’re following city laws and the covenants of your building, and then go from there. Since this exterior sign is a significant player in your restaurant, try to get extra creative with the graphics, lighting, and installation.
Your windows can be your strongest storytelling and advertising tool, especially when you use the right graphics displayed and printed with the right materials. The physical positioning of your restaurant could determine a lot of what you do with your windows. Maybe you get a hot, glaring sun through the windows at lunchtime or a bright and blinding sunset during your dinner rush. In that case, consider a perforated vinyl or etched glass to protect your patrons from the harsh sunlight. Your printer should be able to recommend what material would work best depending on your windows location. Although your customers might not realize it at the time, you’re taking their comfort into account. This part of your story is that you care enough to consider whether the sun is bouncing off a shiny plate right into a customer’s eyes, and plan accordingly.
What are your patrons going to see when they first enter the restaurant? What would you like them to feel as they walk through the doors? Think about how your choice in graphics can affect the mood of customers and the overall story your restaurant is trying to tell. You can say a lot about your theme without overcrowding your walls, so think carefully about details like colors, placement, framing, and imagery. Your printer can help you decide on size, materials, and placement of your decor.
A wall mural might be a great way to set the stage with a calming landscape or nature scene. A large-scale mural can be a fun twist, and most printers have materials that can cover walls, brick, doors, light switches, and much more. Those awkward transitional hallways or other blank-wall areas can become a creative canvas for imagery that adds to the restaurant’s environment.
A well thought-out and cleanly framed image can evoke a lot of feelings in your patrons. Get the adrenaline pumping with a large gallery wall of framed action shots from local sports teams. Inspire a fresh-food feeling with colorful photos of produce or of your chef’s prepping. Whatever you want to say, it can be said with a professionally framed image.
Structural poles and beams can be an eyesore, or they can be a great place to add a little more detail. Wrapping poles and beams a great way to allow the poles to blend into the background instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.
Menu signage can be fun and exciting, with elements that contribute to the feel of your restaurant. In most cases, they tell the most important story of all, the story about why your customers are there in the first place-the food. The positioning, size, wording, and graphics of a menu board are all important factors. For example, a backlit sign in a deli-style restaurant might be a good idea for visibility, or a smaller eye level menu could be the best choice for a restaurant whose menu changes often. A magnetic PolyEight board is a good option for those seasonal and rotating menus that require a quick switch often. If you have a digital menu, dress it up with some of your brand graphics on the surrounding walls.
For extra elements, there are countless places you can add a little more thought and effort to tell your story. A beach themed restaurant could use a surfboard covered in a vinyl graphic for their menu display. They could use our printed Gatorboard material to construct palm trees or fun tiki lamp displays. Table toppers are a fun way to promote your brand or a new menu option, and those can be as simple or loud as you’d like them to be. You can also play with signage on sneeze guards and glass partitions. Give your guests the information they need, but do it in a way that tells them about your restaurant.
Whatever story you want to tell, your graphics can play a huge part. Stay on budget and on schedule, and enjoy the creative process. Carefully go through every step of the process to ensure your restaurant is a success and that it creates a story your customers will want to keep re-reading over and over.