A restaurant’s floor plan is much more than a table map. It’s a blueprint for your success. The design and process that goes into it create a workflow and a vision. It’s often overlooked by guests the amount of work it takes to construct a restaurant space. Though you may already have a floor plan in place, there’s always room for improvement.

There are lots of elements that tie into your restaurant floor plan. Your restaurant’s style, location, and cuisine, just to name a few, all come into play. A well-designed floor plan will embody all your restaurant’s best features. With the right tools, you can maximize the space in your restaurant and improve workflow. In this blog post, we’re going to cover the basics of planning and tips for your operations. By the end, you’ll know how to efficiently manage your restaurant floor plan in every way.

Here are some tips and practices you can use to optimize your restaurant’s floor plan:

How to Create a Restaurant Floor Plan

The first step in the planning process is determining the primary space. According to Total Food Service, you should divide your space by 60% and 40%. The dining room and bar if you have one should account for 60% of the space. Then, the kitchen, storage, and preparation areas will take up 40% of your total area. Also, the dining area of square footage per customer all depends on the style of dining you offer. Here are some general seating guidelines for different types of restaurants:

  • Fine Dining: 18-20 Square Feet
  • Full Service: 12-15 Square Feet
  • Counter Service: 18-20 Square Feet
  • Fast Food: 11-14 Square Feet
  • Banquet, Minimum: 10-11 Square Feet
  • Table Service for Hotel/Bars: 15-18 Square Feet

Following these guidelines will help optimize seatings for guests. It provides them with a comfortable space to dine and move around. There needs to be space for chairs and room for the flow of traffic between diners and staff.

You can benefit from hiring a professional architect and interior designer for this. It’s an investment but well worth it preventing costly mistakes. There are permits, building codes, and regulations that can be very stressful to deal with. Both architects and interior designers provide the following skills:

  • Professional knowledge of space planning.
  • Expertise in the state’s building codes and regulations.
  • Experience in problem-solving.
  • Relationships with restaurant fixture manufacturers.
  • A deep understanding of materials and products.
  • A skillful approach in creating a welcoming environment.

If you’re starting from the ground up, an architect would be beneficial. But, if you already have an established space, or looking to rebrand, you can also create one yourself. Reference this post to learn how to create a restaurant floor plan with design software. 

Looking to expand and buy more restaurants? Check out our guide on what to do when a restaurant changes ownership.

How to Use a Table Management System

After the floor plan is designed and operating, you need to know how to use it. A table management system will help you build out your space and give you a digital floor map in the palm on your hands. Our restaurant management system, Guest Manager, is set up to enhance your floor plan. At a glance, you can see what tables are open and real-time status using custom indicators. Having this insight allows you to turn tables faster and increase your profit margin.

Tips for your host while seating tables:

  1. Pre-assign large parties and reservations to provide more accurate wait times for walk-ins. Set the tables up ahead of time so guests know they are reserved.
  2. Rotate servers with each table to spread out covers evenly.
  3. Be aware of what tables merge together easily for large parties. You want the table to be accessible for your guests to get in and out. The table location is also important so the server can see and hear each guest.
  4. Have a designated area where there are extra chairs and high chairs available.
  5. Match tables to proper party sizes. Don’t waste a larger table for a small party unless you have to. The goal is to fill up each seat, not have empty ones.

As time goes on, your team will get more into a routine of how many covers they can handle. When adapting to the new floor plan provide copies to your staff so they can study the new table numbers.

Learn more about our table management and how to update your restaurant technology.

Daily Tips

After making the most of your restaurant space, do the same for every shift. Your floor plan changes per shift with new employees and new crowds. Employees refer to the floor plan countless times during a shift. Adapt the tips below to match the size and needs of your restaurant.

Where to find the floor plan?

A copy of the floor plan should be placed in highly visible places for your staff. The host stand and server stations need a copy as well so staff is always aware of who has certain tables.

Size of Server Sections

Is it a busy Friday night or slow Tuesday morning? Predictions into how busy the shift will be helps make decisions such as the size of server sections. The layout of your floor plan also plays a big role in this. For example, say 6 servers are on the clock and you have 30 tables in your establishment. It would be easy to make the decision that each server gets 5 tables. But, most of the time, it’s not that easy. Oftentimes there are different table sizes accommodating different size parties.  This is something that needs to be taken into consideration. It’s unfair to overload one server with 5 tables each with 5 guests having them at 25 covers. When another section has 5 tables all 2 tops. Evenly distribute the covers between servers to turn tables faster and get the most out of each seat.

Floor Plan Specifics

The idea of a floor plan is to create the most ideal workflow for your restaurant. It’s an essential tool that your staff needs on a daily basis. On top of managing the size of server sections, you must then decide who will be where. It’s important to match servers into sections into which they will succeed the most. To explain, fast-based servers may be better suited for your bar section to turn tables faster. Versus your detail-orientated ones in the dining room. When you are able to put servers to the appropriate section, you will deliver better service.

Something to note on your floor plan as well is you want to include all staff scheduled. List out the bussers assigned with a server, hosts, bartenders, and food runners. Put the time that they are scheduled next to their name so everyone is aware of what time new staff comes in. This helps with the flow of the restaurant and prevents tables from being unattended to.

One last point in floor plan specifics, ensure that you put all significant notes on it. Write things such as your daily specials and how many reservations are on the books. This piece of paper is key to communicating changes and shift specifics. It’s a great tool to keep all staff on the same page.

Restaurant Floor Plan During COVID

For safety reasons, all tables need to be 6 feet apart in your floor plan. We are in an adjustment period in which we must practice social distancing. Restaurants should check with their local and state regulations to see what is permitted. Here is a State Reopening Training & Certification Requirements/Recommendations updated regularly. If you need assistance, learn how to manage new social distancing guidelines here. Today, social distancing must be incorporated into your floor plan to stay open for business. 

Back up your floor plan with technology

A thoughtful floor plan needs to be supported with the right table management system. All the time and effort put into maximizing your floor plan can go to waste without technology. Guest Manager will take your floor plan to the next level and boost your bottom line.

It’s an all-in-one crafted solution designed to help your business grow and fill your seats. Our system manages your waitlist, reservations, tables, and even staff. Integrating directly with our POS, Guest Manager provides insight into your customer’s preferences. Keep them happy with the support Guest Manager can give you.