As it might be common knowledge, we assume that the design of our restaurant comes first. That is wrong!

You first need to design your Menu, as this will feed into your kitchen operating procedures and “consumer confirmation” process, which will then help you in drawing your first kitchen layout sketches. This process normally takes up to 3 weeks to compile.

You then have to research for potential locations and decide on whether to buy or lease, using real estate agents to help you with this or your own resources. The restaurant design, development and planning process start here. Your preliminary sketches will need to be adjusted to the location you have selected. And it is always wise to do things right since the beginning (don’t go cheap! What you pay for now you will eventually reap because you have chosen quality and perfectionism over fast and random!). It is therefore advised to work with an architect specialized in restaurant design, because he/she will know what will help you optimize your operations, minimize staff interference, and provide utmost comfort for your guests.

Your restaurant design is also about your logo, menu layout, uniform design, ambiance and décor elements. Even the chairs and tables should be selected in a way that creates the “feel” and “image” you desire.

After all this mundane – but essential planning – is complete, you and your design firm can have fun with your logo (allow two weeks for graphic design), signage (preliminary menu layout, design and uniform design will also take approximately two weeks), and the décor elements that will help put the food and service “over the top” with a memorable ambiance. In addition to floor, ceiling and wall coverings, you will need to select tables and chairs (style and size to match your target audience) and then ensure all these elements neatly combine to create the overall “feel” and experience you desire. This will take up to 2 weeks.

The last phase is about implementation, which will take up to 6 weeks, and will include 5 steps/elements:

  • Final construction plans and fit-out Bill of Quantities
  • Final food service plans and equipment Bill of Quantities
  • Final interior design plans and furniture Bill of Quantities
  • Final Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing – MEP – Plans
  • Audio-Visual Specifications

Once you have obtained any permits required to construct, make amendments, and other food safety related ones probably, you can start implementing your restaurant design which should take up to 16 weeks with proper follow-up. In parallel, you will start furnishing your restaurant with the following mainly:

  • Kitchen equipment
  • Dining furniture and custom cabinetry
  • Décor items
  • Decorative lighting fixtures
  • Audio-Visual
  • Final graphic for logo, signage, etc.
  • Final menu
  • Marketing and PR strategy


You have now reached the operations pre-opening stage for which you will need the following items:

  • Office furniture, computer and supplies
  • Kitchen & Bar small wares received
  • Uniforms ordered and received
  • Food & Beverage beginning inventories
  • Petty cash – banks and safes


Once you have opened your restaurant, it is highly advised to keep a design maintenance checklist in place to make sure all your decorative features are in shape at all times. And it is important to freshen up your concept every 3 years to remain attractive and up-to-date. This will include:

  • Lighting
  • Paint
  • Plants, wall art, table centerpieces
  • Staff uniforms
  • Small wares and Flat ware


Article Contributed and Owned by:  DYAFA