I particularly love when I get the chance to take a deeper look into the design of hospitality architecture and interiors. Occasionally, we also receive questions from clients about developing a hotel restaurant. I want to make these questions the focus of this week’s blog.

As with any restaurant, the essential ingredients to offer a great experience are comfort, service, and food. Whether you are remodeling, or building your hotel restaurant from scratch, these are some of the most essential factors that must be considered during your process.

1.   Ventilation

If you do not work in the restaurant industry, you probably have never even noticed ventilation in restaurants. However, it makes the difference between a low-grade restaurant and a high-class one. Why? Ventilation filters the smells of food coming from the kitchen and purifies the air. Without ventilation, your whole lobby could end up smelling like a restaurant.

When designing ventilation, you have to keep in mind the seasonal temperature fluctuations to ensure your restaurant does not get too drafty or too hot. You also want to consider the shape and size of the space and provide an even spread of ventilation.

2.   Restaurant Lighting

Restaurant lighting is extremely particular. The number one complaint hotel restaurants get is that the light is too dim for the guests to read menus. Often, designers put so much thought into creating a romantic or classy atmosphere that they overlook lighting functionality.

The psychology of lighting can give your guests headaches and make them angry, or make them hungry and open up their wallets. We recommend red or orange colored light. First, color psychology says it makes guest hungry. In addition, you can amp up the intensity to the lighting without killing the atmosphere or your guest's eyes. You also want to provide task lighting for your staff. Dropping hanging lights above the bar and cash register, for example. Finally, fluorescent lights are usually the best bet for the kitchen. 

3.   Inspiring Bathrooms

A bathroom is a marker for a great restaurant. When you design your hotel restaurant, put as much thought and luxury into the bathrooms as you did with your lobby. Luxurious chandeliers, elegant fixtures, breath-taking floors, and high-quality paper towels. The bathroom is a second way to awe your guests. 

For the women’s bathroom especially, go the extra mile. They will remember how you make them feel. Provide a bench for those waiting in line, and a mirror out of the way of traffic for them to fix their hair and makeup. Might we even suggest a nice smelling lotion in the counter? Help them look and feel their best for the big date, dinner meeting, or romantic weekend of pampering.

4.   Storage

Restaurants receive TONS of deliveries throughout the week, and often at inconvenient times. It is crucial to have a space to organize your supplies as well as a place to drop them off quickly until you can sort them out later. Believe me; you do not want your staff struggling to put things out of sight as guests are coming in to eat. 

When planning your storage, make sure to include security measures, like locks to keep your high-value inventory safe.

5.   Refrigeration

This goes in line with the same concept as storage. You will want enough space to store all of your refrigerator items and freezables in an organized manner. That way everything is easy to access. In addition, you need space to put unsorted inventory. A heavy box of frozen foods can get in the way and slow down food production.

When designing your refrigerator and freezer spaces, you will want to have already decided on your overall menu concept. For example, if you plan to specialize in gourmet gelato and ice cream, you will have completely different needs than if your bar plans to serve 25 different microbrewery beers on tap.

I want to conclude with a bonus item to consider. Personality. A hotel restaurant without any personality or flair will not attract new customers. When designing your restaurant, have a clear and exciting theme for your decorations, and then include menu items in line with that theme. Next, add something entertaining and unique. This could be performing waiters, a shuffleboard table, or an interesting way to deliver food. Whatever you do, make sure you are the ONLY restaurant in town with “X” characteristic. When you have the basics of food, comfort, service, and the personality to maintain a reputation, you WILL have a successful hotel restaurant.