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DINING WITH A DIFFERENCE – Our tips for unique restaurant interior design

DINING WITH A DIFFERENCE – Our tips for unique restaurant interior design

TASTY INTERIORS – top tips for restaurateurs on how to create the perfect design

Make your interiors as much about an experience as your food 

You know that feeling when you’re in a hot, crowded restaurant and you don’t enjoy your meal as much. Is it the soggy pastry? The loud table next to you? Or, is it actually the badly thought out restaurant interior? 

When we tell someone about a delicious new restaurant we’ve been to, we usually focus on the mouthwatering food available. You may not expect it, but, our experience of dining out and trying exciting new food is not only thanks to the kitchen, it’s also influenced by how restaurant interiors make us feel when we’re in them. 

We experienced a great example of this recently on a trip to Japan. Whilst stopping through Tokyo, we were captured by the interior of architect ‘Ryoji Ledokoro’s’ restaurant. We explored an alternative take on yakiniku – a Japanese dining style which sees customers grill bite-sized pieces of meat over a small gridiron at their table. We loved this alternative take on dining out!

The ground floor interior further creates a different customer experience, with its dramatically, dimly lit almost cave-like space,  rough stone-effect walls and water-like glass floors giving a unique, natural dining experience. With large tables, this also lent itself to easily incorporating social dining and group discussions. 

On the second floor, dining is broken up with tables at different levels, guests can simply sit on earth-toned cushions at low levels or sit on the organic raised eating platforms at tables moulded from OSB. This allows for a more intimate dining experience in smaller private groups. To add to the cosiness there are also tree like structures which break up the space and act as screening and coat or bag hooks. 

Don’t overlook the importance of interior design for your restaurant, aesthetic aspects when dining out can achieve a positive experience and inspire customer loyalty, making your venue their favourite eating out spot. Here are a few of our tips to create a memorable customer experience with your restaurant interior.

  • Use different table shapes / sizes to give the client the ability to choose where they sit
  • Use screening to divide areas, again giving diners choice 
  • Cooking experience – how the guest can cook or see the food being prepared can add a sense of drama or atmosphere
  • Set the scene with lighting and natural materials to relax guests into the whole dining experience

Outdoor Space

Being outdoors is a fundamental part of being a human, it helps with our well-being, connects us to nature and allows us to experience great views or social interactions with others. However, sadly, we are limited in the UK due to often interchangeable  weather which can limit how often we can eat outdoors. 

Outdoor spaces within restaurants is a great way to host events, do live cookery demonstrations and double the seating capacity, as Lloyd’s Lounge in Exeter demonstrates with their outdoor eating area. 

We’ve got a bit of a crush on Tom Raffield’s instillation at the Jardin Blanc restaurant this year at the Chelsea Flower show. The same tone is used throughout the floor, furniture and feature lights. The neutral yet sophisticated design allows the planting to create impact and colour to the space, as well as,. the clustered lights zone the seating area which add different viewpoints to the area. A roof to the space allows for all-weather dining. 

Here’s a few pointers to creating an affected outdoor dining space.

  • Have a roof or retractable roof to extend the dining window
  • Heaters are a must of outdoor dining
  • Planting – green large and lots of it
  • Feature lighting
  • Different types of outdoor furniture, be it dining or soft seating

Uniqueness

Creating a unique selling point to a space with make it stand apart from its neighbours, draw clients to the door and provides an experience within – a fantastic way to generate repeat business. 

We are fascinated by Uchi Japanese restaurant in Denver, Colorado designed by Tres Birds Workshop. Its kerbside appeal dominated by a large greenhouse style roof creates intrigue from first sight. This is the first stage in developing uniqueness within an urban streetscape, just like a book creates an appealing front cover.

Within, the designer has created a completely different feeling than one first anticipates from the outside. Like a book, never judge by first appearance.  The dining area features two rooms with different atmospheres – one is light and warm, while the other makes use of darker tones. Wooden screens help delineate specific zones. Creating a unique sensory experience to clients.

Our favourite feature is the play on light via the reclaimed red brick wall and crystal block inserts which transfer light and energy into the space. Dappled light reflects off the ground and ceiling reflecting the ever-changing cityscape from outside. This is one unique restaurant that a diner would never forget.

To create a unique restaurant interior –

  • Street appeal from external
  • Set the scene – change people’s perception of what they think it might look like inside
  • Create a USP – sensory experience with light, shade or unique feature
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