orange bar stools with stud detail

Psychology of Restaurant Design

How to Influence your Guests Through the Science of Seating

Are your Customers Sitting Comfortably?

Have you ever thought about the perceptual factors of your furniture design, such as the comfort, style, colour and touch of the upholstery fabric?

Did you know that the layout of a restaurant can influence a lot more than what you’d expect? From whether your guests enter to how long they stay, and even how much money they might be likely to spend, can all be influenced by your restaurant seating arrangement. Discover our restaurant design tips and understand how you can use the psychology of restaurant design to influence your guests.

What is the Intended Use of your Restaurant Furniture?

Matching the specific design features of your chairs with the considerations of physical need and what the guest will be using the chair for is clearly important. Zoning of your furniture can encourage quiet personal spaces for reading, working and relaxation or more sociable areas to sit, for example, within a lively bustling bar.

The length of time that you expect a customer to be seated can also be reflected in the ergonomics of your seating design. If you would like to influence the customer to perch for a little while before moving on (for example within a reception area), a more upright, low-backed, shallow seated armchair or ottoman would be an ideal seating option.

Equally, if you would like the customer to stay seated, sink into the chair and enjoy a few drinks while socialising in the bar lounge, a larger deeper-seated and softer upholstered lounge chair would be a better option for the customer to relax into.

Restaurant Design: What Furniture to Consider

It’s no secret that getting the right furniture for your restaurant is imperative to making sure your clients are comfortable. However, prioritising the furniture in terms of a restaurant seating strategy is equally-as important. For example, once you’ve mapped out the size and capacity of your restaurant space, you’ll want to make sure that your furniture is aesthetically inviting but also serves a specific purpose. Key factors such as your customer’s needs, and how much time (and money) you would like them to spend in that spot of your restaurant all need to be considered when planning your restaurant interior design.

If you’re going through a re-design and need to rethink your restaurant seating layout to capitalise on the psychology of restaurant design, some examples you could choose to create specific areas of interest within a bar, lounge or restaurant include:

Restaurant chairs

restaurant chairs

Banquette seating or restaurant bench seating

    restaurant banquette seating

    Bar stools

      bar stools


      Restaurant Seating Styles

      If you’re revamping your restaurant seating layout, you have a variety of styles to choose from — all of which could have an impact on the way your customers interact with your business. Want to keep your customers socialising for longer? Choose a restaurant seating arrangement that encourages them to relax with higher back chairs and luxurious fabrics.  Not only does this ensure the customer’s comfort, but it also gives your staff an opportunity to upsell coffee and drinks to increase on profit.

      Does your business rely on high turnaround? Go for a restaurant seating strategy that is simple and chic, inviting your diners in for a quick bite but not letting them get too comfortable on a sofa or armchair so that you’re missing out on the next potential customers to walk through the door.

      Banquette or Fixed Restaurant Seating

      Not only can banquette seating or fixed booth seating highlight key features such as wall features in your restaurant, but it brings a welcoming layer of privacy for your customers. A booth is more of an enclosed, relaxed space for a group of customers to enjoy their dining experience.

      Banquettes can also help to create natural walkways for diners and waiting staff to ease the free flow of foot traffic through the restaurant.

      Banquette seating can result in guests not feeling so exposed in the wider restaurant space and a more private or intimate space might just encourage them to stay a little longer. What’s more, when people can relax their back against comfortable fixed seating and settle into the experience they tend to be more comfortable, which can often lead to them spending more money. In fact, ‘Spend Per Minute’ in full-service restaurants has been known to increase when customers are sat within a booth which is why so many large restaurant chains encourage the deployment of banquettes within their establishments.

      Did you know that two-top tables (where diners sit directly opposite one another) aren’t always the best way to go if you’re trying to give customers a positive restaurant experience? Stephani Robson, a professional in Hotel Administration, explains one of the secrets to restaurant design layout.

      According to Robson, research indicates that when people are huddled around booth seating at a 120-degree angle, compared to directly opposite each other at a two-top table, they felt in a more natural position for conversation.

      Bar Stools

      Mingling over a drink could be the first part of your customer’s experience in your hospitality environment, which will build the first impression. Alternatively, they may choose to relax at the bar before or after they’ve eaten, which means your bar stools really do need to be comfortable enough to sit on for a while.

      Find out more about what to consider when you're choosing the right bar stool.

      Choosing the Best Restaurant Seating Layout

      One of the secrets of the psychology of restaurant design is knowing how to make the most of every area in your restaurant.  For example, adding outdoor seating is a great way to encourage clients to dine 'al fresco', or consider rooftop seating if you have the space and flexibility. Not only will it add a whole new level to your clients’ restaurant experience, but it will also greatly increase your volume of covers and revenue.

      Moreover, it’s important to think carefully about how you would like your customers to move from one space to another. How long do you want them to sit and eat? What’s the optimum amount of time for them to spend at their table that encourages them to order another bottle of red?  There is certainly a clear science behind the psychology of restaurant design, and how it can play an important factor in your business’ success. Here are some restaurant seating layout ideas that could help you maximise space and encourage your customers to spend.

      How Guest Duration Affects your Restaurant Seating

      The longer your guests are seated, the more you’ll need to optimise the space and seating you provide. If your restaurant’s profit is based on the volume of guests and table turnover, consider furniture arranged for more casual dining. Whereas if a longer guest duration brings you better profits, choose restaurant tables and chairs that encourage your guests to relax for a finer dining experience.

      Psychology of Seating Arrangements: Colour is Key

      Choosing the right colour palette for your furniture is also key to influencing your guest’s mood. Whether that be dramatic red tones which are believed to induce hunger which would be a perfect choice for a restaurant, or perhaps pink, a perfect calming colour for spaces in which to relax.

      Want to know more about how you can tailor your restaurant seating strategy to influence your guests? Take a look at our infographic below and download "The Science of Seating" for when you're considering your next hospitality interior scheme.

      Get in Touch

      If you’re redesigning the layout of your restaurant, we can help you with our space planning service we offer. Here at Lugo we're experts in creating bespoke and custom hospitality furniture for restaurants, bars, and hotels.

      Get in touch with our Customer Services team today.

      Psychology of restaurant design


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