So, you’ve taken the leap and decided to open your own restaurant! This is a milestone that many Austin culinary arts students aspire to reach. Planning the menu is exciting, as is finding the perfect space and staff. However, many people don’t know where to begin when it comes to putting together one of the most important factors in a restaurant’s ambiance: the decor. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin decorating your new business:
Put careful thought into the lighting
No matter how gourmet your menu is, if your customers are sitting beneath bright florescent lights, your restaurant will channel the vibe of a greasy diner. While we all have a small space in our hearts for diner food, that may not be what you want your restaurant to remind people of. On the other hand, if you choose lights that are too dim for your restaurant, customers will struggle to see the menu. Many fine dining restaurants opt for candlelight, which is a fine idea if there is enough room on the table for a candle. If you choose to adorn a two-person table with a drink menu and condiments, it may be too cramped for a candle too – especially if the menus are large.
Keep the theme cohesive
While it’s understandable to not want your restaurant to look too kitschy, you still want the overall theme of the establishment to make sense. For example, you wouldn’t decorate your Mexican restaurant with paintings of bottles of wine, and you wouldn’t channel a Western theme in a vegan restaurant. If you plan the theme around the menu, keep it subtle and stay on target. If you simply opt for decor unrelated to the food served, you should still keep it on the same page. Don’t mix shabby chic and midcentury modern, and don’t add retro booths to the mix unless you want the whole restaurant to take on a retro vibe.
“The industrial trend is very popular.”
Consider industrial decor
The industrial look is incredibly popular right now, perhaps due to the fact that so many aspects of the aesthetic are money savers. For example, unfinished ceilings and exposed brick walls are cheaper, but also stylish. This trend is also versatile and can be used in just about any type of restaurant. The drawbacks, however, include the fact that there is no guarantee that it’ll keep being trendy, and may be too reminiscent of other area restaurants.
What about uniforms?
There is a lot you can do with your waitstaff’s uniforms. You can require a full uniform, supply them with a simple t-shirt to wear with their jeans, or let them wear their own clothes. Another popular option that many restaurants are embracing is simply telling their staff to wear black. This way, they can still show a little bit of personality in their clothes, while making it obvious that they’re staff and not patrons. However, you should consider your establishment’s overall ambiance before committing to a waitstaff’s uniform, because they should also be cohesive. For example, you wouldn’t want your staff dressing casual when your restaurant launders tablecloths and serves prix fixe meals, but you also don’t want a staff dressed to the nines when there’s sports memorabilia on the walls and games blasting over the speakers.