Whether you’re starting a new business, tackling renovations, or rebranding, you should layout your restaurant floor plan ahead of time. From kitchen space to dining areas, even to the front entrance, you can never be too organized when it comes time to furnish and decorate. Working from a blueprint will help your team stay focused on the desired result and keep the look and feel of the space cohesive with your brand

But when it comes to restaurant floor planning, you need the right organizational tool. The entire layout will dictate a workflow, so every element should have a place and purpose. Designing with a guest management system will make it easier to create a floor plan layout that works for your customers and employees.


Benefits of a Restaurant Floor Plan Creator

At the very base of your restaurant, you have space. How you choose to use that space is the first step in creating a successful business. Awkward or inconvenient layout design can cause trouble for your staff and make guests feel uncomfortable at times. On the other end, creating a well-thought-out space will impress visitors and allow your business to run smoothly. With a proper floor plan, you can:benefits of a restaurant floor plan creator

  • Ensure guest comfort: The dining area makes up the majority of your available space. When you’re designing the layout, make your dining area welcoming, comfortable, and fit with your branding. Your guests will naturally have expectations based on the theme and cost of your restaurant. But how well you succeed at meeting those 
  • Maximize floor space: While you should leave ample room for guests and staff to navigate, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice any space. A smart floor plan will allow you to make the most of your area and try out ideas without wasting time on trial and error. The more space you actively use, the higher your profits will be.
  • Create an ambiance: When most people think of ambiance, they think of lighting, color, decor, and music. However, the floor plan as a whole is the backbone of your restaurant’s mood. For example, family or rustic style restaurants may choose to focus on communal dining, where guests can strike up a casual conversation. Formal, upscale establishments typically choose to isolate groups, with the main focus centering on the food itself. Even something as simple as choosing to offer booths can affect the ambiance.
  • Minimize wait times: Whether you’re a manager, server, or guest, no one likes to have wait times. They can be stressful for all parties involved and, in some cases, may push customers to go elsewhere. Creating a floor plan that facilitates many different group sizes and has spacious room for servers can help reduce wait times. With an adequate floor plan, you will be able to seat more guests faster and minimize walkaways from your restaurant. 
  • Organize workflow: Floor plans aren’t just geared towards the needs of your customers. They’re meant to provide a layout that’s conducive to your employees’ workflow. From the kitchen to the point of sale (POS) systems to the dining area, your staff should be able to navigate the entire restaurant easily without causing any jams or being hindered by disorganization.

Without a methodical system to help you design your restaurant’s floor plan, it will be challenging to create a productive proposal. However, by observing the proper steps and considering your many options, you can create a layout that encourages smooth workflow and guest comfort. 

First Steps for Your Restaurant’s Floor Plan

While designing the layout of your restaurant is the fun part, there are a couple of steps you need to take before you can start to flesh out your ideas.

1. Budget

First, you need to estimate your budget. This should include everything from taking apart the current space to creating a new one. Figure out how much it will cost to prepare the space first, including demolition and any structural repairs. Once that’s out of the way, you need to set a budget for the renovations, such as electrical work, plumbing, kitchen appliances, seating, payment systems, flooring, and any other purchases.

budget your restaurant floor plan

Creating a budget will help you stay within your financial means as you begin looking into specific styles and setups. The last thing you want to do is create a restaurant floor plan that you can’t afford and have to cut it down once you’ve spent time making it perfect. A budget keeps you realistic and gives you a baseline to refer back to.

2. Permits

You’ll likely need one or more legal permits before starting any construction. Look into your local laws to see what kind of paperwork you have to fill out and submit before breaking ground. Some areas may require you to include a full floor plan in your paperwork, allowing a committee to see your concept before you begin construction.

get required permits for restaurant floor plans

City officials often ask for other business details, as well. They may need particulars about future inventory, equipment, square footage of indoor and outdoor areas, insurances, and other specifics. If you are planning to sell alcohol, you’ll need to apply for a permit to serve. Cities have different procedures set up, so do your research.

Once you have those things together, you can begin dividing up your space. Start by allotting larger areas, then dive into the smaller details. There are many elements you’ll need to consider and carefully plan out, but keeping an organized list will ensure you include everything you need.

How a Guest Management System Can Help Optimize Your Restaurant’s Floor Plan

When you’ve completed the initial steps to creating your restaurant’s floor plan, it’s time to build and optimize your plans with a guest management system. Creating a digital floor map gives you endless customization options on a streamlined platform. Here are a few key benefits to using one of these systems when designing your perfect restaurant.

1. Convenience

One of the greatest benefits of using a restaurant floor plan creator is its convenience. You can finally leave behind the laminated floor maps, and dry erase markers. You’ll be able to quickly build and manage your custom floor plan with ease directly on your iPad.

As more restaurants introduce systems like these, the technology becomes easier to use and access and more affordable to meet the demand. Coupled with innovations in cloud computing, you can begin using this technology as soon as possible with minimal impact to your already planned front-of-house procedures and operations.

Using digital floor plan creators helps you directly seat walk-in guests when they arrive. You can instantly see which tables in your restaurant are free or occupied. The interface also lets you color code and assign multiple pre-configured server sections with a single tap to spread guests evenly throughout the restaurant.

convenience of digital floor planners

After you create your floor plan, you can optimize it by pre-assigning guests to tables when they arrive. Pre-assigning allows your host to provide more accurate wait times and can also help speed up the time for those in line waiting to be seated. You can also sync multiple iPads with guest management software to improve real-time communication between your entire front-of-house staff.

2. Flexibility

Restaurant table management software allows for detailed customization and flexibility by featuring various table types and sizes as well as a few different restaurant size options. With the Projective Capacitive Touch (PCT) technology of your iPad, you can easily move around the tables and place them wherever you’d like on the floor map. The software has features that allow you to assign the tables numbers or names for quick identification, and color code them to match your preset server sections. You can also add and navigate between multiple floors of your restaurant, whether the seating is indoor or outdoor.

No matter what floor plan you’re thinking of, it’s possible to match the exact layout idea of your restaurant at the click of a button. Here are some more key features guest management systems offer to increase workflow and improve guest satisfaction.

digital floor plans are flexible

Merge tables: The best “problem” for a restaurant to have is not having enough space to accommodate for hungry guests. Lack of proper space for large groups of customers can result in them leaving unhappily and taking their money with them. Luckily, you can use your table management software to merge multiple tables to make room for large parties easily. Even after your guests are seated, it’s possible to move seated parties between tables as needed, without losing party information.

Areas to consider when creating your restaurant floor plan:

Bar – Not every restaurant has the need or space for a bar. However, they make a great addition and can be included in your floor plan as well. If you’re already planning on obtaining a liquor license, a bar area may help bring in additional revenue and customers.

Bars serve as a great social center for guests and an option for groups that want to grab a drink instead of sitting down for a full meal. You can offer food at the bar, which means it provides extra seating for individuals and small groups.

bar floor plan

With this extra seating, it’s important to consider what the perfect bar layout looks like for your restaurant. The best option may be to arrange your bar, so the back wall is shared with the kitchen. By sharing the back wall, you have the option of opening a window for faster food service. With this layout, your bar seating won’t be in the way of servers and bartenders who are moving around to take orders.

Dining area – Since the majority of your space will end up going to the dining area — about 60% — you’ll have a lot of room to work with. The layout you choose should complement the style and concept of your restaurant. Whatever route you go, the setup should cater to guest comfort and promote ease of workflow.

Depending on the mood you’re going for, there are several kinds of seating you can offer. Booths are comfortable and casual, generally providing space for groups of two to six. An open-space communal setup allows you to use large tables to seat guests together, encouraging friendly conversation.

Square and round tables are typical offerings and go with any style. While high top tables are elegant and trendy, making great spaces for couples and matching a pricier menu. No matter what seating and table types you choose, your guest management system will reflect your floor plan choices.

On a more technical note, you also need to consider occupancy limitations and emergency evacuation routes. Check the guidelines and regulations provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure you’re providing enough space. To determine a maximum occupancy, the recommended square-footage allowance per guest ranges from 15 to 18 square feet for casual dining to 18 to 20 square feet for fine dining.

When you arrange your seating in the guest management system, it will display tables in a neat and organized way that best reflects the space limitations of your restaurant. Now you can get creative! Have fun arranging booths along a wall, tables for two in a cozy corner to create a more intimate space, or even play around with outdoor seating options.

Outdoor areas – If your restaurant has ample space and you have the desire to incorporate an outdoor dining area, or if you are planning on improving an existing outdoor area, you can expect to see a highly profitable revenue from this decision. The extra seating allows you to serve more customers during the appropriate outdoor weather seasons, as well as freeing up indoor space to promote guest comfort and ease of movement. Outdoor spaces can fit in with both casual and classy restaurants and appeal to younger demographics.

create an outdoor space with a floor planner

When building your floor plan for an outdoor dining experience, you’ll likely need to leave more room between tables and chairs than in the indoor dining areas. If you don’t plan on installing a roof, each table should have an umbrella, which takes up additional space. Leaving extra walking room is essential to keeping the patio from overcrowding and allowing servers to navigate without having to duck or awkwardly maneuver.

  • Block tables: Another helpful feature of a table management software is the capability to block tables off for special events at the touch of a button. Once you’ve blocked off a table, you can send out a notification to your team to let them know they are reserved. With real-time availability status updates like this, your staff will always be in the know which will speed up your table turnarounds.
  • Table timer: An important time-saving element of a guest management system is the table timer. To better inform staff of when tables will be available, the table timer keeps track of how long guests have been sitting at your tables.
  • Table status indicator: To keep servers and staff in the know as they attend to guests, each table can be updated with one of the seven custom table-status indicators. Each stage of the service process can be updated for each table; whether guests have ordered their food, if the table needs to be cleared, or if the check was dropped off, you will be able to see the table’s status directly from your floor map.
  • Server Workflow: You can further optimize your restaurant’s workflow by assigning out multiple color-coded server sections with a single tap. A guest management system allows you to create various preset service charts for lunch and dinner services. Which is especially helpful when dividing your seating during busy mealtimes.


Optimize Your Restaurant Floor Plan

optimize your restaurant's floor plan

Since there are so many elements to consider when restaurant floor planning, you’ll need a way to organize and keep track of your design effectively. A guest management system is a perfect solution. With the proper management software, you can:

  • Map your layout: With a few taps, you can quickly build and map out your custom floor plan on a tablet. If you decide to change things up later, you can go back in and edit the layout in the floor plan creator to try an improved setup
  • Specify exact details: While you’re planning the overall setup of your dining area, lounge, patio, or bar, you can input the sizes and styles of your furniture to create an exact plan. You can also create the full layout of your restaurant, including multi-floor structures and outdoor areas.
  • Create server workflow: Once your dream has become a reality, you can use the management tools to create sections and seating charts. After sections have been created, you can then assign areas to servers in a single tap. Or, if you want to work ahead of time, you can create presets for lunch and dinner services, keeping your staff in the know and on top of service.
  • Seat guests faster: With a handheld chart at the ready, your hosts can quickly check for open seating or reserve spaces for guests. Some software can also keep track of the waitlist, providing guests with more accurate wait times, and keeping the house staff informed of all table statuses.

With a program that can do so much, you’ll be starting your business on the right foot and enabling your restaurant for future success. If you want to create the perfect environment for your customers, CAKE will help you get started.

Make Management Simple With CAKE

Starting your restaurant can be a daunting task with all of the moving parts involved. Besides the restaurant floor planning and designing, hiring staff, and perfecting your signature recipes, you have to consider how the business will operate come opening day. Not sure where to start in your restaurant’s management and organization? Curious about the benefits of using technology to revolutionize the way you do business? Looking to boost productivity and customer satisfaction in your restaurant? CAKE has the solutions you are looking for to streamline your operations.

A guest management system is a great option, not only to help with your restaurant floor planning, but it can also help you manage all aspects of your restaurant. Systems like these are user-friendly and backed by customer support teams that can help you through any issues. You and your staff will benefit from the many features of a cloud-based POS system, including the ability to quickly track waitlists, table statuses, reservations, and seating.

If you’re looking for an efficient table management system that knows how to make a restaurant floorplan shine, you need CAKE’s expertise on your side. Find out more about how cloud-based POS systems can help make running your restaurant operations and building your floor map a piece of CAKE.

cloud-based POS whitepaper