Meshwari - Arabic fast casual restaurant - Interior Image
Meshwari - Arabic fast casual restaurant - Interior Image

Restaurant design is a reflection of the restaurant’s branding and vision. Establishments in the food and beverage industry compete with one another based on factors such as pricing and location. Considering every business places importance on these major factors, those that will be keen on their design will take the win.

Design is most probably the first thing your customers will notice as they enter your restaurant. That will form a lasting impression and dictate how they perceive your brand. You can greatly influence the customers’ psychology with just the interior design. It can make them order more, pay you more visits and stay longer, all to your advantage. As a restaurant design company in Dubai, seeing that the design is very important for the success of your restaurant, we have compiled a list of common mistakes in interior design by restaurants today.

15 Common Restaurant Design Mistakes

1. Using irrelevant decorative pieces

This is one of the most common blunders that restaurateurs make when setting up the interior of their space. Every piece you use in decoration should help build up and emphasise the personality of the brand. For instance, it would be a definite NO to incorporate the Chinese dragon and paper lanterns décor in the dining room of a luxurious, white-tablecloth Mediterranean restaurant. Carefully consider factors such as the type of cuisine you offer before picking decorative items. You should also avoid filling up the place with too much décor as it may start to feel suffocating for the customers. Remember the goal is to make your customers as comfortable as possible.

2. Giving the customers a view of messy service areas

We have seen a number of restaurants across the UAE, particularly in Dubai, that give the diners a view of the kitchen and service areas. This might not necessarily be a bad thing, with some customers opting for open kitchen restaurants. However, nobody wants their experience ruined by the sight of trash cans and piled plates while eating, no matter how good the food is. It can also be quite distracting when the customers are trying to have a conversation. You may have points for the great food and décor but still, end up losing customers because of such messy sightings. Diners are likely to question the hygiene of the food preparation process with such a view. We advise you to make sure these places are out of sight for the customers. If it is unavoidable, make sure these areas are as clean as possible.

3. Cramped up floor spaces

Every restaurant owner wants to maximise its profits by accommodating as many customers as they can. Restaurant design companies in Dubai such as Glee, however, insist that this should not be at the expense of customer comfort. You do not want your customers bumping into furniture, or worse still, other customers or servers carrying plates of food. Make sure the tables and seats are reasonably spaced from each other such that it is easier to navigate, even for the servers. Your customers are less likely to pay you return visits if they feel their spaces are invaded by the next diners and are unable to hold discrete conversations with their loved ones. You can get large equipment that performs multiple tasks and eliminates the smaller equipment to avoid cramped up spaces.

4. Lack of directional signage

Being a restaurant design company in Dubai, we have acquired a meaningful experience designing restaurant interiors in the city. One common feature that customers appreciate in restaurants is the provision of directional signage. Ensure there are signs to indicate exits, entrances and the bathrooms. It makes it easier, especially for the first time customers, as they won’t have to keep asking for directions. The signs should blend with the interior décor and still be easy to spot as well. It would be best to opt for LED directional signs.

5. Cluttered entrances

The host stand is the first section of the restaurant that your customers come into contact with as they enter. You want to ensure that this section is appealing and free from clutter such as papers, receipts and even staff gathered together. If having the host stand inside the restaurant will compromise on otherwise profitable spaces, you can have it set up outside, right at the entrance. With time, we have found it best to use software and applications to replace paper and help with the organisation. Cables should be tied and kept invisible to the customer. You should ensure there is order at the hostess section to avoid crowding of guests waiting to be attended to.

6. Poor lighting

Lighting in a restaurant is important in creating a mood and atmosphere. The perfect lighting is also proved to attract customers into your restaurant. We continue to emphasise that prioritising your customers’ comfortability is the only way to ensure their satisfaction. The lighting should be bright enough for the customers to be able to read the menus. Glaring light will shine into the customers’ eyes which is quite uncomfortable and can be detrimental to their health. Adjust your lighting according to the time of day and you will notice a big improvement in customer satisfaction. The right touch of lighting can be used to accentuate your interior décor too. Invest in good lighting to help your customers relax and enjoy the experience at your restaurant.

7. Failure to properly make use of music

Many restaurant owners in Dubai may choose to have music playing in their dining rooms. What factors are important to consider when you decide to do so too? Depending on the type of restaurant, the type of music, its tempo and the volume at which it plays are important. For fast-food restaurants, fast and loud music is preferred as it makes the guests eat faster, allowing you to attend to more customers in a day. Finer restaurants however require more relaxing soft music. It creates a private space that allows the guests to relax and enjoy conversations without the fear of being overheard by the neighbouring guests. Music has an effect on how your customers perceive the taste of the food. Different pitches heighten various flavours in food. It can make the waiting worthwhile as you work on the guests’ orders. Pick the genre you choose to play carefully to complement your interior décor and image to the guests.

8. Beat up exteriors

As you work to have the best interior design, remember the exterior décor is what will attract walk-in customers. If your premise looks run down on the outside it will reflect negatively on your restaurant’s image. Ensure the building is well-painted and with proper signage. Remember, the idea is to make the potential customers want to come in based on what they see outside. Along with good marketing, this is a sure way to maximise your profits. Little things such as ensuring there is no litter outside your restaurant will go a long way in attracting potential customers.

9. Inappropriate bathroom door location

Your guests eat out to enjoy a good experience along with good food. Nobody wants their meal ruined by the sight of bathroom doors opening and closing. Bathrooms should be located at a distance from the dining room area. If it is impossible to change this architectural flaw, avoid setting up tables near the bathroom doors. It can be distracting for the guest that wants to enjoy a good meal and probably have meaningful conversations with their fellow diners. It would be best to have doors that swing out just as easily as they swing in.

10. Wrong colour scheme

A skillfully selected colour scheme can enhance the general appearance and aesthetic of a place. You can opt for a uniform colour all through the restaurant or decide to settle for different colours in different sections. Different colours have the ability to stimulate different senses and tastes. Family and fine dining restaurants are good with pastel colours while fast foods are good with vibrant ones. The colour scheme that you pick should be in accordance with the furniture too. Go with colours that complement your branding and personality, whilst ensuring they are not off-putting and overbearing to your guests. You can use the colour scheme to increase your customers’ appetites and in turn influence them to order more.

11. Poor heating and ventilation

Restaurant kitchens emit a lot of heat and smoke, that is unavoidable. At the same time, you do not want to put your guests through the horror of having their meals in a stuffy and non-air-conditioned dining room. Invest in the best air conditioning and ventilation facilities if it is impossible to naturally aerate the room. With proper air conditioning, you can also adjust the temperatures to suit the weather changes in the environment and make it comfortable for the guests whatever the season is.

12. Neglected washrooms

One common mistake that restaurants make is investing in the best interior décor for their kitchens and dining areas at the expense of the restrooms. Restaurant owners forget that a negative experience can ruin the whole restaurant for guests. Many of them will relate the appearance of the dirty washroom to the appearance of the kitchen. On the other hand, a beautiful and artistic washroom is an experience many can \not forget. Have a theme for the washroom just as you have a theme for every other area of your restaurant. Ensure there is proper lighting inside the washroom; play around with beautiful and creative wallpapers. You can also have relaxing music playing in the background. Do not be afraid to go big in these little rooms!

13. Ambiguous concepts

Having a theme for your décor is important for the success of your restaurant. It is dictated by factors such as the size of your restaurant and the target market. For smaller restaurants, it would be much better if you go for simpler themes for your décor. For instance, a small local diner taking up a high-end, fine dining theme would be too ambitious. Remember, if your guests want a fine dining experience, they would go to such restaurants. Those who visit your small diner would do so because they want that experience. The theme you pick should go hand in hand with the type of service you offer.

14. Unclear concept from the exterior of the restaurant

The theme and concept of your restaurant are what sells you. Potential customers want to see your type of brand and personality without having to necessarily enter your restaurant. Make sure your theme extends to the outside of your doors. If you opted, say for an oceanic theme, let it reflect on your entrances. Do not let your potential guests only enter to find out what your restaurant is about. Your story as seen from the outside might end up being your greatest marketer.

15. Exaggerated use of decorative pieces.

When it comes to décor, be careful to strike a balance and not lean into either too much or too scarce. Strive to keep things simple yet inviting at the same time. It would be best if you chose a design that will not overpower the cuisine and be overbearing for the guests and staff. Minimal decoration will draw attention to the pieces, for instance, paintings. Hence, you can partner with some local artists to get beautiful pieces to showcase on your walls.

For more restaurant design inspirations, check our blog Top 25 Restaurant Design Trends

The Need to Hire a Restaurant Design Company in Dubai

It is almost impossible to argue against the importance of both interior and exterior design for restaurants as we have highlighted above. These common mistakes could cost you a number of customers no matter how great your food and service is. When making renovations in line with the mistakes we have pointed out, consider hiring a restaurant design company in Dubai or anywhere in the country this time around and watch how it positively impacts the success of your restaurant.

Not sure where to start? Let us help you. Contact Glee Hospitality today.