How To Design A Restaurant Floor Plan [Examples & Tips]

How To Create A Restaurant Floor Plan
Blueprint floorplan floor plan restaurant kitchen renovation
Part of Total Food Service’s Blueprint Series on hot new restaurant kitchen renovations, new floor plans, and more.

Whether you are opening a new restaurant or remodelling an existing one, determining the seating in your restaurant floor plan can be a difficult task.

Some considerations to take into account for your restaurant floor plan are the size of the establishment, and what kind of restaurant you have. How you want the interior to look aesthetically also factors in, and of course, safety should never be overlooked.

Here are some tips and guidelines that will help you maximize the space of your restaurant floor plan. This will ultimately make your business more profitable.


Primary Space Planning

In primary space planning, the general rule of thumb for determining the area allotted is that the dining area should comprise most of the total area. The kitchen, storage and preparation area should take up the remaining space. These dimensions will have to be adjusted if you plan on having a waiting area or a bar. But those should be the approximate percentages for the total area.

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  • Dining Room:  60% of Total Area
  • Kitchen, Cooking, Storage, Preparation, etc:  40% of Total Area

Designing your seating plan will depend on what type of restaurant you plan to open. It’s important to remember that banquet seating may use as little as 10 square feet per person. However, fine dining may require 20 square feet per person. It is common for most restaurants or coffee shops that have a general menu to average about 15 square feet per person. This is taking into account space needed for traffic aisles, wait stations, cashier, etc.

Example: If your restaurant floor plan has 5,000 square feet

  • Capacity = 200 seats
  • 60% Dining Area =  3000 square feet
  • 40% Kitchen =  2000 square feet

If you are buying an existing restaurant or leasing commercial space and you plan on renovating or remodeling the building, the same rule of thumb of 60% of the area for the dining area and 40% for kitchen, storage and preparation still applies.

Assuming the building has 2800 square feet available, then the dining area should be approximately 1680 square feet, which would accommodate 112 seats. The kitchen and storage area should be 1120 square feet. The details of the restaurant floor plan and percentage of square feet to be allocated to the kitchen and dining area depends on the owner’s ideas and how they can be incorporated into the floor plan.

The area of square footage allotted for each patron depends on what type of dining establishment you intend to have, depending on whether or not you have a fine dining establishment, full service restaurant, counter service, fast food restaurant, a hotel/club or a banquet hall.

restaurant floor plan design
Restaurant Floor Plan Design

The general Seating Guidelines

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

For safety reasons and to allow for the free flow of traffic for diners and servers, the traffic path between occupied chairs should be at least 18 inches wide. You should leave at least 4–5 feet per table, including chair space.

This allows for free movement of servers between stations and the kitchen. This spacing also provides enough comfortable room for the guests to move around. It is very important for safety reasons that there is enough space for the guest and staff to move around and that the aisles are clear, especially in case there is a fire.

Determining the area for the wait stations should also be taken into account when designing your restaurant floor plan. One small station should take up 6–10 square feet, sufficient for 20 diners. One large central station should be anywhere from 25–40 square feet. This would be sufficient for 60 diners.

If your restaurant will have a bar, determine the length by two factors. For standing room only, you should allow for 1 foot 8″ to 1 foot 10″ per person. However, if you are going to have bar seating, there should be a distance of 2 feet between bar stools.

Here are some general furniture guidelines to assist you. This will help you determine the ideal height of the tables and seating you will need to buy.

Furniture Guidelines:

  • Table Height: 29″ – 30″
  • Bar Height: 30″ – 36″ – 42″
  • Seat Height: 17″ – 18″
  • Bar Stool Height: 29″ – 30″

Once you have your restaurant floor plan designed, you can focus on the decor and what type of restaurant furniture you want to furnish you restaurant with. This depends largely on what type of dining establishment you have what kind of clientele you are looking to attract. Depending on the size of your restaurant there are many options to consider, including the use of restaurant booths, tables and chairs or a combination of both.

Taking the time to design a restaurant floor plan is crucial and will help make your restaurant a success. You must take into consideration the available space, type of restaurant, and seating arrangements. In our next article, we will discuss various options for table and chair layouts. You’ll see how furniture can create the right ambiance for your restaurant and help maximize your profits.


Looking to see how other restaurateurs created a new restaurant floor plan and renovated their commercial kitchen? Check out Total Food Service’s Blueprint series to learn more. 

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  • Day & Nite
  • McKee Foodservice Sunbelt Bakery
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Easy Ice
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Imperial Dade
  • Atosa USA
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • RATIONAL USA
  • DAVO by Avalara
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