How to Arrange Your Restaurant Dining Room Seating

How to Arrange Your Restaurant Dining Room Seating

Your restaurant dining area is the most important area of your restaurant. It determines your ambiance and the spending culture of your clientele. It represents your theme and your brand. Before you open the doors to your restaurant, it is important to have your restaurant seating set up and ready for customers. As you look over your available space, you will need to determine how to arrange your seating to make the most of this space, while allowing your guests to feel comfortable, and your staff to maneuver around safely and comfortably.

Elements of the Dining Area

The dining area encompasses several elements of your restaurant including the waiting area, the bar area (if you have one), the dining room, the host/hostess station, and the POS terminal. You will need to fit all of the above elements into your dining area when considering the space availability,

  • The waiting area is a small area located near the entrance where customers can comfortably wait for a table.
  • If you have a bar area you need to consider if you want it to be in the dining area or in a separate area, depending on your theme. If it is in the dining area, you will want to make sure that customers can comfortably access it without interrupting the flow of your dining area traffic.
  • The host/hostess station should be situated at the entrance of your dining area. Depending on the size of your dining room, you may need more than one station to hold server supplies and other dining necessities.

Dining Room Space Availability

The size and shape of your dining room will have a major impact on the way you will be setting it up and will determine how many people you can accommodate. You will also need to consider any legal requirements to determine just how many people can fit into the square footage of your space. This includes ADA requirements for wheel chair accessibility.

Once you have determined this, then you can decide how you want to split up your space. Do you want multiple dining areas, or one large open area. Do you want booths, or anchor and floating tables? How many of these can your dining room accommodate? Do you want private dining areas/rooms that can be reserved in advance? Take all these ideas into consideration as you make your plans.

Keep in mind that it is much easier for staff to maneuver if you keep as much open space as possible. This makes it easier for them to keep an eye on the dining area and notice any problems, or take notice of tables that may need service. It also allows the host/hostess to see available tables easily so that he/she can seat customers quickly.

Target Market

Your target market is another factor that can help you determine how to design your dining room. Each target audience has different preferences: are you catering to families with children, or couples and groups of friends dining out? The latter may prefer nice quiet booths while the former will find that tables and chairs are more suitable to their needs. Keep in mind that booths tend to make the most use of space, although they tend to limit staff maneuverability.

Choosing the Right Furniture

Knowing your concept and target market will be imperative when deciding upon the furniture. Since this will differ from restaurant to restaurant, some overriding rules regarding furniture will include durability, ease of cleaning, comfort level, maneuverability, style and size. Restaurant tables and chairs are recommended as they are designed to withstand the wear and tear of a commercial restaurant environment. It is also important to note that a small percentage of your furniture will have to be ADA compliant in terns of wheel chair compatibility and table heights.

Anchor Tables and Floating Tables

Regardless of your target market, there are a few things that customers generally prefer. They prefer tables and booths that are anchored to the wall, rather than floating in the center of the room. This gives the feeling of having more privacy and tends to make people like the restaurant experience more. Placing columns in the middle of an open dining area using partitions, screens or curtains, can create anchor areas when there is not enough wall space available.

However, floating tables can also serve a purpose. These tables can accommodate people who are in more of a rush and not looking to stay a long time. As these tables are often situated in high traffic areas, they experience a higher turn over rate making them more profitable for the restaurant. A good idea is a mix of both types of tables, with an emphasis on anchor tables when possible.

As you design your dining room, keep in mind what will work best for the customers you are hoping to attract. Allow plenty of room for customers and staff to move around with ease. Do not over-crowd the room, since it will leave the customers feeling uncomfortable while dining. Finally, don't miss the opportunity of incorporating your theme and brand into your dining area design

Found this article helpful? Read more relevant articles and how-to's in the food service industry.