Building The Best Restaurant  

    Modern Hospitality – Design for Success

The Restaurateur
                              The Restaurateur 

So you want to open your own restaurant? Studies have shown that 81% of U.S. business startups fail within three years. Your first objective then in building the best restaurant, do what needs to be done to become the 19% that don’t fail! Though we’ve directed and partnered with organizations to open more than 50 restaurants, the process is always exciting and challenging simultaneously. For experienced restaurateurs as well as new entrepreneurs going through the process for the first time, it’s as exciting as it is intimidating.

From the initial conceptual stages to seeing the first meal and beverage served. All who know and understand this business would agree on one thing however; it is essential that you have the experience and expertise on your side during conceptual stages of your restaurant, which will be the deciding factor in establishing success or failure.

Due Diligence” is the industry term for doing your homework. This key process includes  capturing industry data and experience in order to thoughtfully make decisions based on a comprehensive analysis of market, segment and competitive set to ensure success! Applying a dynamic process and measurable steps will ensure success and prevent entrepreneurial collapse. For starters, consider the plethora of assignments, research and action steps required to accomplish before opening the doors of your restaurants.



Building the Best Restaurant
                 Building the Best Restaurant

The Path of Success & Due Process

  • Choose Your Concept
  • Real Estate Research – Site selection is key
  • Space & Terms Negotiations – Lack of clarity here is a death sentence
  • Facility & Concept Design – This is the “differentiation factor”
  • Build out & Construction – Quotes, time, materials, customization, optimization
  • Menu (s) design – Your best of friends or worst of enemies
  • Branding: Logo Design & Dynamic Marketing – You’re dead to rights without it
  • Equipment Sourcing, Negotiation & Purchasing – The difference in massive capital
  • Recruitment & Staff Source/Selection – Your people represent your company
  • Training & Leadership – Arguably as important as any listed path to success
  • Accounting – Who collecting and counting your revenue
  • Opening day – First impressions are everything – are you ready

Modern 3D Restaurant Design

Within each line items is a specific subset of tasks. The prepared entrepreneur has a 500% better chance of success than the spontaneous one. Due diligence, research and planning is everything when building the best restaurant in your market is the goal! To believe that any one item listed is less important than another will usually cost you dearly.

Great design is the beginning. What is most often misunderstood about design is that it’s far less about form than it is function. It’s also far more than creating the “wow-factor” as there are thousands of gorgeous restaurants around the world going bankrupt every day. That said, a modern and knowledgeable design team will understand intrinsically, how the five sensory experiences (seeing, tasting, touching, hearing and smelling), as well as the emotional sensory key are achieved with creativity and excellence.

Consumers (your guests) frequent restaurants today to be seen, entertained, and to immerse themselves in an ambient and compelling environment while dining and drinking. The optimal sensory design and conceptual style is possible to achieve in the smallest of venues, whether building a café, coffee shop, business cafeteria or a high-end restaurant.

In the end, progressive and thoughtful design is vital to your success and to any and all food service establishments. There are multiple design and build experts required in food service projects for them to be optimally successful; the architect, foodservice consultant, style, concept designer, graphic designer, interior designer, audio-visual and mechanic designer and equipment designer.

Most mentioned sub-designers will operate and contribute under the guidance of the main architect. In the end, what’s critical in building the best restaurant is that the designer (s) has the ability to interpret the owner’s vision and operators function within the concept. That said, the owner of course, must have a clear elemental understanding of concept and vision that they feel will become their success.  


Foodservice Consultant
                        Foodservice Consultant

Where to begin? Use a disciplined approach and follow the path to success:

Intimately connect with your concept and vision. Use vision boards, research trends, markets, business models and apply the learning to the concept that inspired you to open this business. Document all research in detail. If you’re vague about your vision and goals in your business, your design team will deliver the intended results. Understand this, architects and designers are not mind readers and cannot be held responsible for your success.

They can only create the vision that you articulate. The first phase of building the best restaurant begins with two design firms. The first firm, a restaurant architectural firm; and second, the food service consulting and designer. Always hire these two independently, this ensures controlled tension and challenges to create the best design elements and eliminates conflict of interest among partners in your


Begin thorough diligence: interview three architectural firms. The architects are key to your success. The most essential qualification is that they have solid and successful restaurant design experience. The knowledge of food service codes required to understand alone can be a time and money killer if you hire an architect without firm knowledge of the industry. Working with an inexperienced food industry architect typically ends in a nightmare scenario for food service designers and construction trades.

The architect will generally assemble (or assist in assembling) the key partners within the design team with the exception of the food service consultant. Whether building ground up or occupying an existing build out space, the architect is an essential driver for the process, and typically required relative to compliance in design by the given state, jurisdiction or municipality. The architect designs and provides space allocate logic to every restaurant, according your personal concept and vision; but be prepared to be an integral force relative to your design process.

In fact, it’s your responsibility to communicate the necessary design elements to the architect to achieve all the sensory experiences that will bring your design and concept to life while ensuring that it’s up to code and hyper-functional. Remain active in each aspect of the process. Remain involved in weekly review of the creative process and the build-out process, and be on hand to review “page turns” (drawing reviews) with your architect and foodservice consultant. Continue the process and provide feedback until your vision has been realized.

Hire a reputable food service consulting/design firm. An experienced and quality FSC, which strategically applies functionality and efficiency relative to the architectural space and provides the optimal layout and equipment based on your concept and menu. Building the best restaurant for your budget requires that the food service designer is involved throughout the entire process and dictates the use of space. This use of space includes the bar, kitchen, the service stations, seating and restrooms, as they are key areas in conserving space for the most important functions.

The food service designer specifies each piece of equipment thoughtfully and according to the menu served, creates mechanical plans for the architect/contractors, as well as design to construction install elevations for the equipment installers. Your foodservice designer will produce bid documents to verify competitive price comparisons, complete a quality assurance punch list and participate in developing every aspect of your concept and brand vision.

Hiring a food service designer is arguably the most important aspect to ensure long-term operational and functional success, and is absolutely imperative to a profitable business. With the high cost of real estate and labor, improper utilization of space is a back breaker that will tax your revenue and profit exponentially.


top restaurant consulting firms

      Finesse & Luxury for Diners is Key

The essential nature of a food service consultant-designer. The experienced FSC-D is well versed in equipment, function, code, technology and the latest trends within the industry. Their reputation and focus is based upon optimal function, cost and performance. They by nature are consultants within the design process, as opposed to a company simply selling equipment, which can create conflict of interest.

A dynamically designed facility uses every square foot of space, strategically and efficiently. It is imperative that you have a professionally designed space to ensure the most efficient space and mitigate dead space, blind areas and non-use space, to prevent functional disabilities’ within your restaurant. The reality is that the entire sensory guest-experience is massively impacted by the quality of space design.

Guest and employee centric environments are achievable goals if you invest the time, money and expertise in planning and layout! For clarity and a lack of over-shooting the design phase, provide the foodservice designer an understanding of your realistic budget which allows them to quote and design the space and specify equipment accordingly. If you feel so compelled, you can then take their quoted proposal and direct the purchasing of equipment through a competitive bidding process to validate bids.

The combination of a great architect and food service consultant/designer will ensure that you will achieve the aesthetic success, the functional success and that ‘Wow Factor’ within a highly efficient space based on appealing to the five senses (seeing, feeling, touching, hearing and tasting) And with the professional support team that you assemble for your project, you will far more likely to achieve your vision at a price that isn’t cheap, but represents long-term success and an optimal return on investment!


Restaurant Consulting
                          Restaurant Consulting

We’d like to hear your thoughts on what it takes to build a successful restaurant and brand. We all know that it takes more than great food and great service to achieve the results that only the top 20% experience. How did you achieve your success?

Call us today for a free consultation and we’ll give you free advice and thoughts on how you can increase sales, profits and service in your concept! You can reach us at Modern Food Arts foodservice consultants at 410.571.4008, or email us at ( for more information and to contact us via email.

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We wish you the very best and look forward to working with you soon!