Whether we are sitting inside or out since the 12 th of April the UK has been eagerly waiting for the hospitality industry to reopen. With the UK spending on average a staggering £62 billion in restaurants each year, it is fair to say that we’ve had a lot of making up to do.

It takes us just seven seconds to make a first impression and in restaurants, this impression is made even before eating. This means that the initial appearance of your space to your customers is crucial and will determine whether they’ll return.

With thousands of food and beverage outlets across the UK, it’s needless to say that the competition is tough. Here at ASF we’ve listed our top tips to help you stand out from the crowd.


Seven seconds leaves little room for error… That’s why you need to think about what your space looks like from the exterior as judgement will be made before your customers have even entered. Perhaps one of the most important features in restaurant design is the lighting which can dictate how your customer feels and how long they spend in your venue, and ultimately the amount of money they will spend. Our top tip would be to ensure your lighting is adjustable so you can change this depending on time of the day, for example at a breakfast sitting you will want the lighting to be bright and clean, which subconsciously and physiologically marks the start of your day.

In contrast, during an evening sitting you should use softer and more intimate lighting. Although, make sure it’s not too dark, you will know when it is when customers start using their torches on their phones…


There is nothing more awkward than entering a restaurant or bar and having to squeeze into the entrance area to wait. Whilst diners are tucking into their main courses and you’re made to stand on top of them whilst the staff are checking for a table or you are looking at a menu, you need to ensure there is a dedicated space for a separate waiting area or bar. This will ensure that there is a clear divide between the entrance and the main dining area, creating a seamless experience from the moment your customers step in.


Don’t forget that the kitchen is really the heart of any restaurant. Increasingly over the last few years, it has been popular to make your kitchen and chefs on show to your customers. This helps to create more of an experience and talking point for your customers but also means that your top hygiene practices and meal preparation will be on show, providing true transparency of your quality of service.


Regardless of the size of your establishment’s bathroom, this space should not be neglected. A bathroom’s design can portray your brand to a great extent, so ensure that your bathroom interiors are consistent with the rest of your design throughout the restaurant.

Individuals are now increasingly aware about the environment and you’ll find the younger audience that visit your restaurant will be eco conscious and will want to see this being actively practiced. Where you can, throughout the design process see if there is the possibility to cut down on water and energy by installing no-flush urinals and even equip the bathrooms with senor lighting to cut down on energy.

If you’re looking for more ways that we can help, then please do get in touch here.

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