Think for a moment, what is your favourite restaurant, café or bar? Most of the time we’ll think of a venue that gives us a foodgasm. But, with the rise of insta-worthy architectural attractions, it’s clear hospitality design is becoming critical. Your customers expect to be inspired by your venue. If they don’t, they’ll more often than not find a venue that will offer both.
At our core, humans are shallow judgemental creatures. So, keeping this in mind, the moment a customer walks into your venue they start forming opinions and setting expectations.
Don’t get me wrong, hospitality design is much about the operations as it is the aesthesis of your business. It’s about leading people on a journey and making them see the venues’ key points – where the products are, the servers, the bathrooms – effortlessly.
Establishing clear zones (whether you’re big or small) is a must. Not zoning can leave you with a venue with major functionality problems, so, zones should be allocated for every conceivable member of staff and of course customers.
Think about your customers, do you cater to couples and groups? If yes, you’ve got the opportunity to create multiple spaces each with a different personality. Create room for larger groups and for more intimate gatherings, making both groups comfortable.
But, don’t stop there. You’ve got chefs, waiters, baristas, and bartenders, all of which need a place to live. This is, of course, a big area to tackle, so I won’t go into too much detail. But, I will say this, ensuring your back-of-house and front-of-house don’t cross paths is key. Yes, they can access each other, but any overlap in floor space is a hot pan disaster waiting to happen.
How you do feel when you approach your favourite venue? Memory bank that, because the entrance is your customer’s first impression. Consider the style of your venue and your ideal guest. Industrial, tailored, cosy. Millennials, professionals, families. Each one has a distinct style and makes that customer stop in their tracks to point it out.
Another consideration is the door and door handles. You don’t want your customers to have to be a weightlifter. If they struggle to get into your venue you’ve immediately lost points.
Lighting has the ability to control mood and can easily take a venue from day to night. This is, unfortunately, the most commonly underestimated factor. Why? Because space can be killed if it’s too bright or dark. Lighting also affects people’s normal judgement, if they’re comfortable, they’ll spend more money and they’ll come back. Winner.
Furniture & Acoustics
We’ve all spent time in a space with bad acoustics, it’s horrible and a strange oxymoron. It’s loud, but you can’t hear what the person standing next to you is saying.
Acoustics can be a non-issue with the right planning. Considerations such as floors, wall panels and furniture can make the world of difference. Upholstered furniture and natural woods for example, add personality while absorbing sound.
Three furniture aspects that need to be considered in hospitality design are space, cleanability and style.
Staff and customers should be able to navigate the venue without bumping into each other.
Furniture should be easily cleaned, especially if you cater to kids.
Style. Style. Style. Stick with your style.
Finally, design opens up valuable opportunities. The obvious design factor is having a consistent brand. But, having a well-designed space, happy staff, and a great offer gives your ideal customers a reason for coming back. Not to mention if it’s beautiful, people will naturally take photos and share them with their friends. Free publicity.