Opening A New Restaurant? An Interior Designer Should Be Your First Hire

Written by Jillian Kelley & Dala Al-Fuwaires

A successful restaurant concept starts with a clear and concise vision. You’ll need to develop a service style and define your operations, target demographic and general aesthetic, as well as understand more technical components like adjacency requirements and turnaround time. If you’re opening a new restaurant, you likely know this already. But what you may not know is that a commercial interior designer can help answer many of these questions.

In reality, solving problems is a core part of our interior design process. We kick off each one of our projects with an extensive research phase, where we ask critical questions that help restaurant owners articulate their concept in the most concise and consistent way possible.

Throughout this research phase, we’re working to determine spatial requirements so that we can adequately plan your space to fit the demands of your service style. And, by maximizing employee efficiency and intuitive wayfinding, we’re essentially developing a custom floor plan that is tailored to your business and service style.

Do you have a well-developed concept but haven’t signed a lease yet? A good commercial interior designer will use that concept to help you select a space that best fits your restaurant’s needs and spatial requirements.  

So, the earlier you work out these critical components for your new restaurant, the better. Hiring a commercial interior designer early on can set you up for success at the outset, which helps save time and cost in the long-run. Here are three more reasons why an interior designer should be your first hire if you’re opening a new restaurant:

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One: Commercial Interior Designers Can Help You Set (And Stick To) A Realistic Budget

As interior designers, our number-one goal is to turn the space you’ve only ever dreamed of into a reality. Sometimes, this dream can be real big and look like a dining room with floor-to-ceiling marble or a bar with $10,000 pendants running the entire length of a space. Now, that’s not to say that your dream is out of reach. If your budget allows for top-notch luxury, go for it!

But if you’re working with a more conservative budget, our job as commercial interior designers is to provide you with attainable solutions that highlight your vision and stay within budget. Additionally, our expertise helps you evaluate your budget with advice on how much is typically allocated for certain sections or components of the space, like kitchen equipment, furniture, lighting and materials.

Having these preliminary budgetary numbers lined up ahead of time can also help in your pursuit of funding and will support your reasoning behind the amount you’re requesting.

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Two: Speaking Of Funding, We Can Help You Get That, Too

Approximately 65 percent of the human population is visual learners, meaning they need visual aids to help them better understand what they’re being told. Why is this important? Well, when you’re trying to draw attention to crowdfunding or receiving investment for your new restaurant concept, chances are the people that you’re pitching will want something impressive to look at. And that’s where a commercial interior designer comes in!

We can help you develop a concept design deck with market research and demographic studies, as well as concept imagery, a floor plan and furniture, lighting and material selections—even a series of photorealistic 3D renderings. Concept design decks are a great way to get your potential investor to feel connected to, and excited about, your new restaurant while also proving them with proof that you’re serious about your business and ready to dive in.

Concept decks show people exactly what they’re investing in; they don’t have to use their imagination. You don’t even need to have a physical space to utilize this method. All you need is a rough idea of the restaurant’s footprint, which is something the interior designer can certainly help you determine as well. Then, once you’ve selected a space and your lease is signed, we can modify the design to work within the parameters of your new space while maintaining the original aesthetic.

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Three: Commercial Interior Designers Provide Access to Consultants and Resources

Part of being an interior designer who is typically involved in the early stages of concept development means we have access to helpful consultants in a number of related fields—from architects and contractors to brokers and insurance providers.

We also have a gateway to many more furniture and material options than are available to the general public. This means we can create spaces and objects that you only could have ever dreamed of. Finally, our connection to trade-only discounts helps us design spaces that you may not have considered were even financially possible!

Let us help you work through each of these critical components and set you up for success!