Follow these 5 easy steps to optimize your restaurant space to the fullest

By Max Patel, October 24, 2016.

On a recent scouting walk around the beautiful state of New Jersey, I noticed a small 600-square-foot pizzeria buzzing with customers. Their estimated wait time? No less than two hours.

Customers were still flocking to the pizzeria in herds and were ready to wait to get inside for a meal. Not very far away was another pizzeria which was double the size with a long hall and a dedicated kitchen area. The restaurant was not nearly as busy and was hardly filled to capacity.

That’s when I realized that a pleasant customer experience is the biggest performance indicator. It’s even more important than fancy store decorations and spacious seating areas.

The ease of an experience or transaction outperforms a store’s layout for today’s millennial generation.

At Welcomemat Services we understand that you take pride in owning and running your own neighborhood restaurant.  As a business owner you wear many operational hats and are constantly optimizing the way you do business.

We’re committed to providing top trending tips to help you manage your business effectively. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your business grow with our unique program. We do the grunt work for you by introducing your business to new movers in your neighborhood and giving you the opportunity to turn them into lifelong loyal customers.

Contrary to popular belief, the quality of your restaurant’s working area and the amount of available space does not correlate to your ability to perform well for your customers.

Below are 5 tips collected from successful restaurants across the country that can help you optimize your space to the fullest and, in so doing, allow you to provide your patrons with a meaningful dining experience.

Observe and report.

Become your own customer to observe how other customers move through your store. Is there a barrier at the entrance that keeps customers from being seated easily? Is there even a remote possibility that your servers might crash into an oncoming customer?

It is important that you look at the layout from the customer’s point of view and make it easy for your customers to move about your store. This will help you operate more effectively from a business perspective, too—even when you’re working with a smaller space.

Be creative. Make that extra space.

It’s a myth that smaller spaces equate to more difficulty in running a smooth business.  Instead of getting caught up in your limitations, realize the limited space you have to work with and be creative in your approach to business. Experiment with the look and feel of the restaurant—you’ll find that there are ways to make even the smallest spaces look more spacious.

An old Michigan restaurant under new management recently managed to add 20 new seats to their layout just by knocking down a kitchen wall and installing glass. Have a look at your furniture and experiment with the size or height of the tables to see what kinds of hidden space might be hiding in plain sight.

Even slight adjustments can positively influence your customers’ experience and increase customer loyalty.

Play with lights and sounds.

Many restaurant owners often miss out on the powerful trick that has been in their back pockets all this time. This trick is learning how to utilize light and sound to create your ideal atmosphere.

For example, research suggests that restaurants with lighter music and dim lights are perceived as efficient, and they provide a more favorable customer experience.

Soft lighting also creates the illusion of a bigger space, and hard surfaces reflect (and magnify) the ambiance you’re trying to achieve through your musical choices.

Now, look at your goals as a business owner. What kind of experience do you want your customers to have? How long do you want your customers to stay? Use these questions as a guide to brainstorm ways you can use light and sound to help your customers perceive your business in the best possible, well…light.

Keep it simple.

The simplicity of your store layout goes a long way to optimizing both your space and your customers’ experience.

If you’re a local pizzeria, for example, it’s usually unwise to devote a significant amount of kitchen space to making milkshakes and other items outside of your specialty.

Keep your menu simple and in-line with the trademarks of your theme. This will help you focus on your in-store marketing efforts to optimize your customer experience and will also help you make the most of your available space.

Make waiting fun.

As a local restaurant owner, you know the nervousness associated with a busy night. There are people waiting. They’re getting restless and are desperate to get inside their favorite restaurant. While having a smaller space usually means more waiting for your customers, it can turn ugly if you don’t recognize the time they spend waiting and make that wait time as easy on them as possible.

The owner of a local sea food restaurant in New Jersey started giving his patrons on the wait list the freedom to enjoy wine at the nearby garden or get their own drinks to enjoy in the waiting room. Another pizzeria around the corner started using a mobile app called Not wait to text the customer when their table is ready. That way, they can enjoy other neighborhood offerings while they wait for a table.

Think of ways you can inject elements of fun while your patrons wait to be seated. This is a great way to turn a frustrating experience into a positive one and improve the productivity of your available space.

Welcomemat helps your business with new mover marketing and introduces you to thousands of new movers every month. New movers who have just moved into your neighborhood are eager to find a new favorite restaurant in the area. Become their favorite restaurant before somebody else does.

Chat with us today to gain more insight into your neighborhood.