Every restauranteur needs to think very carefully about how they plan their seating. It might seem like such a simple thing, but the wrong strategy for seat-setting in a public space can have a detrimental effect on the customer experience and whether they return to your establishment. Here are five steps to optimize your restaurant seating space and how to implement them.
How are Guests Welcomed into the Dining Space?
When your guests come in, do they seat themselves, or does a member of staff find a table and take them to it? Many guests might choose to sit near a window when they come in, or indeed near a fireplace or feature wall. These elements provide a feeling of comfort and cosiness, so you might choose to put more tables and chairs to fit in with these spaces.
How Long do Guests Usually Stay?
The longer a guest stays, the more a restauranteur needs to consider how effectively they’re managing their table and seating spaces. Do you want to focus on longer stays with more spending per table, or shorter stays but a larger volume of guests passing through? The former is more workable for high end restaurants that serve evening meals, the latter for daytime cafes and coffee bars that might serve breakfast and lunch. This will influence the choice of chairs for your restaurant, and how you space your tables.
How Big is the Room?
A restaurant space needs to allocate roughly seventy percent (or just under) of its space to the dining area. The rest is for the bathroom, kitchen and storage facilities. Working on this basis, you’ll need around twenty to twenty-five square feet per seat. This will offer maximum flexibility and comfort for people coming to dine in your establishment — not to mention providing adequate space for staff to move comfortably around.
Consider the Size of Your Tables
Your table size will also affect the seating arrangement. If they’re too small, guests might not feel very comfortable and will not choose to stay very long. If it’s too large, they’ll take up too much space and make the restaurant look half empty when it isn’t!
What Seating Styles are Available?
There are two main seating choices, all the best restauranteurs adopt to keep their guests coming back time and again.
The first of these are booths. They’re the best choice to provide comfort and privacy. They are often favoured by diners as a way of feeling like they’re out and about but can talk and enjoy themselves without worrying about encroaching on other diners. It’s often better to place a mix of booths with other types of seating.
The second option are banquettes, which are essentially bench style seats along a wall with chairs facing opposite. Combining these with booths is often the best way to go for many eateries.
Whatever style of seating you choose, it’s essential there are a good mix of two and four (and larger) seating tables to encourage single diners, alongside couples and families too.