How to Open a Restaurant | Design Planning

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August 6, 2021

If you’ve ever wondered how to open a restaurant, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are interested in opening a restaurant or you’re already a restaurant owner looking to spice things up, this article was created to help inspire your design planning process.

While opening a restaurant is the dream job of entrepreneurs worldwide, it comes with its fair share of ups and downs. Before you jump into it on your own, it’s essential to take the time to conduct the necessary research. In this article, we’ll look at what restaurant design is and why it is a crucial element to the success of a restaurant opening. 

How important is planning restaurant design when opening a restaurant?

Much like defining your restaurant concept, having a restaurant design is another crucial element in opening a restaurant. If the concept sets the tone for the dining experience, the restaurant design is what will carry that theme through. The design complements your concept and is what makes people back time and time again.

how to open a restaurant

What is restaurant design?

Restaurant design is simply what it says—the design of your restaurant. Elements that make up your design will include items such as layout, decor, and ambience. Your design should deliver on your restaurant concept while inviting your customers to sit back, relax, and enjoy their experience.

How do you choose a restaurant design?

Choosing a restaurant design should come pretty easily once you have a solid concept in mind. With a common theme, you’ll find all of the other pieces start falling into place naturally. You will choose your restaurant design based on the concept you have chosen.

What are the most important things to keep in mind when planning a restaurant design?

There are two primary factors to consider when establishing your restaurant design: your front-of-house space and your back-of-house space. Because the two areas of your restaurant serve two different purposes, they each have their unique requirements.

Design aspects to consider for front-of-house space.

The front-of-house space is the area that your customers will experience when dining in your restaurant. The design priority for this space will be different from that of the back-of-house space.

Decor and ambience.

Have fun enhancing your restaurant concept through your decor and ambience. Use things like accent decor or lighting to alter the mood of the dining experience and make it a better fit for your theme.


When choosing your concept and design theme, remember the restaurant has to be functional. Not every aesthetic makes sense for a dining room. Remember that your space will need to be cleaned and disinfected frequently, so choose fabrics, materials, etc. accordingly.


The furniture in your dining room should be in line with your restaurant concept. Seating levels and capacity should be considered when deciding on specific shapes and styles of furniture.


The seating capacity in your dining room will be determined based on local laws and regulations. These requirements set forth the square footage per customer based upon the size of your dining space and the number of accessible exits in case of emergency.

Design aspects to consider for back-of-house space.

The back-of-house space consists of your kitchen and prep areas that customers, in most circumstances, do not see. The flow of service should be your highest priority in these areas.


The majority, if not all, of the cooking of your food will be in your back-of-house space, which means you’ll need to make space for whatever machinery and equipment your menu requires.


Prepping will happen before cooking and is a crucial element in getting meals to your guests. You’ll need to account for proper prep space with the right tools required.


Service areas should be closely located to the final cook line so servers can quickly access the meals and get them out quickly to the customers—heat lamps are an excellent way to keep food warm after cooking and before delivery.


Dry and cold storage will need quick and easy access to your loading dock or receiving area. Organizational shelving will be required in these areas.


The servers should also easily access washing stations so as not to interrupt the kitchen when bringing in dirty dishes from the dining room.

how to open a restaurant

What are some great restaurant designs?

Are you looking to feel inspired? Your search is over. Here are a few examples of great restaurant designs from around the world.

Esora in Singapore


Local designers from Takenouchi Webb are to thank for the intimate and homely atmosphere at Esora, a kappo-style restaurant in Singapore. The design concept is entirely in wood, blending this home and workplace space from floor to ceiling in timber. The chef’s table dining experience in the center of this restaurant complements the design flawlessly.

Humble Pizza in England

humble pizza

Humble Pizza, found in London, was designed by local artists from Child Studio. The entire eatery’s design concept is pink, from the brightly painted exterior down to its take-out packaging. The idea behind pink was that it would make the natural colors of the Italian food they serve really pop.

The Manzoni in Italy

manzoni in in italy

The design of The Manzoni in Italy was created by a London designer named Tom Dixon. Dixon was tasked with filling the space with a color palette of mint green, grey, and black. Everything found in the dining room matches this color palette through and through.

Maku Poke Stop in Mexico

maku poke stop in mexico

The design of Maku Poke Stop is inspired by the beach town of Cancun in which it resides. The smooth atmosphere of the Mexican Caribbean beaches can be felt while in this restaurant filled with large concrete planters and built-in booths with cream-colored upholstering.

Under in Norway


under in norway

Under is the name of the underwater restaurant found on the southern tip of Norway. The sunken design is simple, allowing guests to be fully submerged in the experience of very literally dining underwater. The floor-to-ceiling window casts a turquoise hue throughout the dining room.


If you are looking to figure out how to open a restaurant, you’ll need to start with the basics, including developing your design. While it might seem like a challenging task, if you break it down into actionable items, you’ll find this is the fun part of being a restaurant owner.

So, for those looking to tap into restaurant ownership or the current owners looking to redefine their facilities, understanding that taking the time to develop your restaurant concept, design, and usability are core things that will sets you up for success in the future.

how to open a restaurant

Table of content

August 2021


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