How to Design the Exterior of a Restaurant


A restaurant is a place where people can have a meal. A restaurant may be a simple café or an upscale three-star destination with a specially designed menu and seating for hundreds. Exterior restaurant design may serve many purposes. An owner may wish to convey exclusivity or make it easy for diners to spot his establishment from far away. Consider all aspects of the design to accomplish your goals.

Things You'll Need

  • Greenery
  • Use materials in keeping with your menu. If you are serving Chinese food, think about exterior materials that evoke China, such as stone lions. Use chrome and glass on the exterior of a restaurant serving modern American cuisine.

  • Use appropriate signage. Signs should tell people something about your restaurant. If you want to convey exclusivity, consider a discretely placed sign that can only be seen when in front of the restaurant. If you want to attract a broader base of customers, consider a large sign or series of signs that can be seen as people pass the restaurant in their cars. Signs should have the name of the restaurant. A sign may also have the date of the establishment as well as the name of the owners and a tagline. Pay attention to fonts. Curling fonts can call to mind soignée establishments. A more casual place may wish to use squarer lettering.

  • Consider color. Color is an important element in any design. Red conveys excitement and stimulates the appetite. Yellow and green may call to mind sunshine and fresh vegetables. Bright pastels, such as aquamarine, may remind people of 1950s diners. Use color to tie in any theme you have. If you have decorated the interior of the restaurant in red and green, use red and green on the exterior of the restaurant. Paint a door bright red. Add green siding to the front of the restaurant.

  • Use lighting. The right lighting choices can help any restaurant appear more appealing. Place spotlights on the front of the door. Use small lights on the entrance to the restaurant to light a pathway there. Place lights on the top of the roof to help make the restaurant visible from afar. Use seasonal lighting as well. Drape strings of red and green lights around the side of the restaurant to celebrate Christmas. Place pastel lights on the entrance during spring.

  • Use greenery. Plants and trees can add to the completed look of a restaurant. Plants can also evoke a mood. Plant grapevines in front of the entrance to an Italian restaurant. Add a box of herbs de Provence to the windows of a French bistro. Call the Southwest with cacti if you are serving Tex-Mex food.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult with a professional restaurant designer.
  • Make sure all design elements meet local and national safety codes.

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