How to Plan a Restaurant

When planning a restaurant, you will have chosen to provide a cuisine that you are passionate about and that you have proven in your business plan is one that can be successful in the location you have chosen. Here we look at some of the planning you will need to do to refine your restaurant ideas further.


Having your idea about what sort of restaurant you want to open and your target audience, take some time to do some additional research into the market to see what people want in your area. Also check out your competitors to see what you can do either differently or better to stand out.

Concepts act as a way of giving advance notice to patrons as to what they can expect from you. It also gives you some structure to your planning. Mid-scale restaurants are often family-friendly and offer a casual environment with food seen as being of good value. Up-scale restaurants offer a more formal atmosphere and the quality of the ingredients are better than mid-scale with more expensive cuts of meat or a wider selection of specialist dishes for example. Up-scale restaurants also charge higher prices and have decor similar to fine-dining establishments which focus more on adults than families.Create your own restaurant concept


Layout and design play a major part in the success of your restaurant. As a general rule of thumb, restaurants allocate between 45-65 percent of the space as the dining area. The kitchen takes up another 35 percent, leaving the rest for storage and office space.

Dining area

The dining area is where you will make the most of your money. This means that you cannot cut corners in your design. It’s worth visiting other restaurants in the area to see what works and what does not. Are the seats comfortable? Do the patrons like the decor? Research has shown that between 40-50 percent of diners arrive as a couple; 30 percent come either alone in a group of three and 20 percent in groups of four or more. Use tables for two that can be pushed together so that can accommodate different sized parties.The dining area is where you will make the most of your money

Production area

A well designed production area will provide an efficient and organised kitchen service, which leads to good service. Allocate space for receiving, storage, food preparation, cooking, baking, dish-washing, production aisles, waste storage. You also need to provide facilities for your employees and a small office for management duties. Your menu will determine what is needed in the production area, with everything arranged just a few steps from the cook. Also allow more than one cook to be able to next to each other during your busiest hours.A well designed production area will provide an efficient and organised kitchen service

Restaurant tips

Here are some tips to help you improve your chances of being one of the restaurants that floats rather than sinks


Lighting can add to the ambiance of your restaurant, though if not done properly can ruin the experience completely for diners. Ambient Lighting is the main source of light in a room, and it can be natural light or provided with electric overhead fixtures. It allows people to see and move around easily and comfortably. You will need fluorescent task lighting in the kitchens and if your ambient light is low, overhead lamps help diners read the menu. Accent lights can be used to highlight works of art or menu boards, or you can use colorful lighting behind a bar or water fixture.

Low lighting creates intimacy and can be relaxed and romantic and also encourages customers to stay longer. At the same time, include enough ambient lighting so that staff can work safely. Bright lights are good for family-friendly restaurants and can be achieved with large windows or bright overhead light fixtures. If your restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, consider a range of lighting since dinner is a time when diners want to sit back and relax after the day. Smart lighting technology can help you create the right ambiance via a control panel in your restaurant or as an app.Lighting can add to the ambiance of your restaurant

Menu pricing

When pricing your menu, your figure should broadly break down to 30 per cent to cover the cost of food and beverages, 30 percent to pay for staff and 20 percent for the running costs of the building. This should then leave you with 20 percent gross profit margin. In my restaurant management guide I want to be clear - precise calculations on mark-up, profit margins and food costs are vital to ensure the financial success of your business venture.


The layout of tables is critical to the success of your business. You want your customers and staff to be able to move around freely without disruption. Too many tables makes for a cramped and claustrophobic experience. Too far apart and it will look empty. Generally, 45cm is left between the seats at different tables, to enable diners to get up and out easily. Tables further apart offer more privacy and also makes the space feel more open.

Chef's recipes

You can recreate Chef’s popular recipes in your own home: