3 Design Tips for Upmarket Restaurants



Photography By K8

Restaurants come and go with monotonous regularity. Tastes change and today’s hot eatery is tomorrow’s empty unit. To be successful in the restaurant trade, your business needs to tick a lot of boxes. Good food is paramount, but good service is equally important. And even if you can offer both of these in abundance, you also need to target the right clientele and design a restaurant with the right atmosphere.

Fine dining offers the very best in all of the above. It’s also in a location designed to appeal to an upmarket clientele. You won’t find a fine dining restaurant on a retail park; instead, fine dining restaurants tend to be in city-centre locations, often in beautiful heritage buildings, and always where the target customer likes to go. 

To help you create a stylish fine dining restaurant, here are some useful design tips.

First Impressions Count

To create a good impression, your restaurant needs to be different from every other eatery in the area. Your aim is to stand out, head and shoulders above the rest. Since you’re are trying to appeal to customers willing to pay for great food and expensive wines, the design needs to be luxurious, understated, and tasteful.

Look at your competition for ideas. The Nathan Outlaw restaurant in Port Isaac in Cornwall scored a perfect 10 in the Waitrose Good Food Guide in 2018. The dining room is intimate and stylish, and the views are fantastic. The L'Enclume in Cumbria came in at #2. It is described as a “magical Cumbrian hideaway”. 

Anything you can do to differentiate yourself from the competition is worth doing.

Kitchen Design

Customers rarely see inside the kitchen, but kitchen design is just as important as front-of-house. A well-designed kitchen is clean and efficient, which improves service and staff morale. 

Invest in the best equipment for your chefs and kitchen support staff. Stainless steel food prep areas, ample grills and ovens, and plenty of food storage are essential. Look for companies that offer lease-purchase deals, so you can maximize your cash flow while the restaurant seeks to gain a strong foothold in its target market. Fridge Freezer Direct is a good example of a company that offers a range of refrigeration options, including bespoke cold storage rooms for chilled goods. All commercial kitchens need plenty of freezer and chiller space for food storage, so shop around for the best deals.   

Design a Bespoke Menu

For a fine dining restaurant to be a big hit, the menu must be top-notch. Look for the right chef to run your kitchen. His or her vision must match your vision for the restaurant. After all, there is little point designing a vegan restaurant if your chef is passionate about steak.

Design bespoke dishes using the finest local ingredients. Develop relationships with suppliers you can trust. Pair your dishes with the very best wines and consider creating a tasting menu for discerning customers. 

Once you are almost ready to open your doors, start a sustained marketing campaign to drum up interest in your new venture. That way, customers will be queuing up to try your food and sample your service.