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The Inside Story: Why restaurant design is your secret weapon

Menu quality and service will always be important. But hot on their heels, yet often neglected, is the powerful role of interior design. From floorplans and furniture, to lighting and colour schemes, a well-considered and created interior can have a huge influence on the overall dining experience in a café or restaurant. It sets the tone, it shapes the atmosphere, it creates your ‘brand’, and can play a crucial role in your long-term success. 

Attracting new customers 

When choosing to visit a new venue for the first time, interior design is one of the primary considerations for many Aussie diners. People are always looking for new experiences, and a fresh or unique interior can create a lasting positive impression. It means your customers won’t just be coming for the great food, but also the great atmosphere. Not to mention all the ‘Insta-worthy’ photo opportunities (which is fantastic free advertising!). 

Better sales and margins 

There’s plenty of science to support investing more in your interiors too. Psychologists have long understood how our moods and behaviour can be influenced by our surroundings. After all, when we’re comfortable and happy in a venue, we’re likely to stay longer and order more. We’re also far more likely to come back. You can typically charge a price premium compared to other venues with less memorable interiors and ambience too, which is great news for your bottom line. 

Taking your interior design to the next level – 6 tips! 

So, what are some of the specific ways to take your interior design to the next level? There are plenty of options to consider, but here are six of our favourite strategies: 

1. Make a Grand Entry 

First impressions last. One way to attract customers into your café or restaurant is with a unique and enticing entrance. Think about colours, textures, signage and the welcoming experience itself. The more memorable the better. Ideally, your name should be visible from the street too, so people can easily find you! 

2. Light the way 

Lighting is great way to complement and enhance the interior design of your restaurant – and we don’t just mean electrical lighting! Consider the way you can use and harness natural light in addition to decorative and commercial light fittings to help influence the dining experience. 

Nowadays there are some great remote-based lighting systems (often accessible with smartphone apps), allowing you to easily control and adjust your settings with colour, dimming and brightness functions to suit different times of the day and night. The styling of your window coverings and light fittings should also be considered as part of your wider lighting strategy. 

3. Colour your world 

Retailers have been using the power of colour for years, and it can work for cafés and restaurants too! Brighter colours tend to create feelings of lightness and space, whereas darker tones create a more intimate and cosier interior vibe. Colour contrasts are also a great way to help with wayfinding and highlight different areas in your venue (such as the bar area or rest rooms). The other thing to consider are any opportunities to colour match your furniture, décor and appliances. For example, most True Refrigeration freezers, display cabinets and refrigeration units can now be customised in a wide range of colourways. You can find out more about colour customising here. 

4. Sound speaks volumes 

Music and/or ambient background soundtracks are another fabulous way to help set the interior mood. Better still, with Bluetooth-enabled apps like Spotify it’s never been so easy to do it. Music appeals to all the senses and choosing it wisely can have a real influence on the wider dining experience your customers enjoy. Obviously, the style (and volume) of music will depend on the overall theme you’re trying to create. Rather than have just one speaker, try to install quality speakers throughout your venue. If the interior space is quite large, you may even want to consider using different music in different areas. 

5. Brilliant bathrooms 

Bathrooms are one of the most highly scrutinised areas of any bar, restaurant or café. As a bare minimum, you want to make sure visiting the restroom is a pleasant experience. But these days many hospitality businesses take things much further, and use the design of their restrooms as an opportunity to make a memorable statement. Think closely about the use of lighting, fragrances, textures, fittings and, of course, the general cleanliness of the space. Customers remember these things – good and bad! 

6. The kitchen counts 

Is your kitchen visible to patrons from the dining or service areas? If it is, the way it’s designed can absolutely contribute to wider interior ambience of your venue. There are countless examples around the world where amazingly-styled commercial kitchens have become true talking points in their own right. Rather than serving a purely functional purpose, the kitchen – and the meal preparation process itself – becomes a visual focal point, delivering a performance where the chefs captivate and engage diners with every new order. 

How memorable is your interior design? 

Could it be working harder? 

Contact us today to discuss your options. 

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