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The Importance of Restaurant Layout and Site Design

Feb 26, 2018


By: Kevin King, Smoothie King Chief Development Officer

Store layout and site design are integral components of ensuring operational efficiency, while maximizing customer satisfaction. In saturated markets where competing on price alone is rarely an option, optimizing your store space is essential in providing a positive customer experience.

Optimal Guest Service

Oftentimes, a restaurant design’s effect on guest flow and operational efficiency is just as important as its aesthetic appeal. This is especially true for fast-casual or QSR concepts, where guest throughput is key in bringing in consistent revenue. Guests want to be able to get quality food quickly and have a positive experience, whether they dine in, take their order to go or go through the drive-thru.

For brick-and-mortar locations, you should establish well-organized routing and sufficiently wide spaces to achieve a smooth customer flow throughout your restaurant. This will help guests move expediently through every step of the ordering and pick up process, while accommodating more people during high-traffic hours.

At Smoothie King, smoothie bar design is crucial for allowing guests to easily view the menu, order and move down the line toward the pick-up area. They can also watch their smoothies being made, so they can see for themselves how we use ingredients to create better-for-you smoothies. Our smoothie bars are at the center of operations, creating a more open and efficient atmosphere for guests and team members alike.

Store design also impacts how well team members perform their duties behind the bar and maintain efficient guest flow. Store owners need to pay specific attention to the placement of coolers, supplies and ingredients to ensure the freshest products and the quickest service. For example, the blending equipment and ingredients are all within reach for Smoothie King team members, so they are not disrupting each other or making mistakes when trying to prepare an order.

Sufficient Space

Another important consideration for guest flow is the size of the space. Many fast casuals have ambitious plans for dining room features, but design experts say bigger is not always better. Most Smoothie King stores operate within a smaller footprint between 800 and 1,600 square feet. This store format not only maximizes the space to help generate strong average sales per square foot, but it also allows the brand to continue its focus on a single, primary product with a streamlined menu.

Brand Consistency and Aesthetic

Your restaurant’s aesthetic appeal is also important in creating a positive guest experience. Many restaurant designs are contingent upon the brand’s logo and other marketing materials. This will largely determine the color scheme and other important components of the restaurant’s appearance.

Finding a central message you wish your brand to convey is also important in cultivating the right atmosphere for your guests. For example, Smoothie King’s messaging is centered around the importance we place on authenticity and ingenuity – from franchisees’ community involvement to the quality of our ingredients.

We try to incorporate this messaging in our restaurant design by utilizing high-quality and authentic materials. Many of our restaurants have real wood furniture and high-quality fixtures, to reinforce to our guests the importance we place on authenticity. We also try not to overwhelm guests with excessive signage or marketing props. Some other restaurants decorate their interior with artificial fruit and other objects, but we seek to ensure that anything we have in our restaurants is real and authentic. We also keep our branding consistent, by utilizing the same color scheme in our restaurants that are used in marketing materials.

Key Takeaways

The key to creating an efficient restaurant with a positive guest experience is marrying form and function. Creating an inviting atmosphere is important in encouraging guests to come into your restaurant, while maintaining an expedient, high-quality experience will keep them coming back. Taking note of guest feedback will also be essential in optimizing design. 

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