Sightlines: The Invisible Thread of Quality Restaurant Designs

The key to a quality restaurant experience is great service and a good atmosphere – the kind of atmosphere that allows for comfort, movement, and easy conversation. Designers know that creating the right ambiance requires striking a balance between what is visible and what is invisible.

For example, the way we move through a space is dictated by our sightline, so this innate navigation tool is an integral part of restaurant designs.

Please Wait to be Seated

Those five little words are the perfect test of quality restaurant designs because the path from the door to the table relies on sightlines.

Sightlines are the unobstructed view between an observer and an object. They have to be created from the appealing utilization of space. This task is often forgotten because there is no tangible reminder that alerts you to complete it. The best way to keep it at the forefront of your mind is to periodically walk through the space. As you walk, think about what doesn’t work in restaurant designs.

We’ve all been there; the crowded, congested entryway with minimal seating, hungry customers milling around the hostess stand or packed into the bar. The waitress calls your name above the noise and you attempt to follow her to your table. In a crowded space like this, how do you keep up with her? You use your sightlines to weave your way through tables and chairs, other wait staff, and odd nooks and crannies. This trek finally gets you to your table. You sink into the nearest chair and reach for the drink menu.

Of course, there’s always the other extreme. You open the door and can see from the front of the restaurant all the way to the dump station in the back. There’s nothing appealing about this galley-style set up or the view. Avoiding either of these outcomes starts with changing your perspective.

Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes

Take the customer’s place and stand in every spot in your restaurant. Here’s the checklist of questions you should ask yourself while you spot test:

  • When a customer walks in, what do you want their first impression to be?
  • Is it easy to find the hostess?
  • Is the checkout in an accessible location?
  • Are the bathrooms out of sight from the dining?
  • Can people easily find things?

If that first impression includes a dump station or a maze of overcrowded tables, it’s time to rearrange your floor plan so that your customer receives a welcoming first impression.

Space has a flow and a movement. In order to serve the customers’ needs optimally, restaurant designs need to adopt those concepts too.  You’ll know your sightlines are perfect when you can answer all of the above questions with a resounding yes.

For more tips and inspiration, visit: atlantis.josh-web.com.  We offer design services for restaurant and retail spaces. We love what we do and we hope you will too. We’ll even bring the design to you; contact us today.

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