In commercial real estate you most certainly get what you pay for, literally, as your rent is based off of total square footage. When leasing or buying space you want to do your research and determine how much square footage you need so that you don’t pay for more than that. The restaurant world takes this idea one step further.
When planning your restaurant, the main worry isn’t how much you spend on the square footage…but rather how much the square footage will earn you. It’s that space after all that fits the tables, that fit your patrons, who buy your food, who pay your bills so you can make money.
Below we outline how to best calculate your restaurant space needs in order to maximize your financial output (rent) and input (returns).
To create a prosperous restaurant business there are two main items to take into account when planning the interior restaurant space: accommodating more customers and managing traffic. The idea is to find a good balance between the flow of people moving around and the people who are seated.
To find this balance we first start with the golden restaurant space ratio:
- 60% Dining Room
- 30% Kitchen
- 10% Everything else (food prep, dish washing, storage, admin, etc.)
Let’s start with the most important part of your restaurant space, the moneymaker, aka the dining room. To figure out how much space you’ll need you first need to figure out how many people you want to fit in at a time. To do that our friends at Chron have devised a handy calculation:
- (Number of People Serve per Week) / (The Number of Days Open per Week) = Number of People per Day
- (Number of People per Day) / (Number of Table Turns) = Number of People to Accommodate in Restaurant at One Time
Ex. Say your restaurant is open 7 days a week, serves 1,000 people per week, and tables turn once an evening. Here is how the calculation would look
- 1000 / 7 = 142.85
- 142.85 / 2 = 71.42 or 71 people
Now you take this number and multiply it by the space needs for your restaurant type. Established norms are as follows:
- Fine Dining:18 – 20 SF
- Full Service Restaurant Dining: 12 – 15 SF
- Counter Service: 18 – 20 SF
- Fast Food Minimum: 11 – 14 SF
- Table Service, Hotel/Club: 15 – 18 SF
- Banquet, Minimum: 10 – 11 SF
For our purposes we will pretend we are opening a hotel, which is 15 to 18 SF.
- 71 x 15 = 1065 SF
- 71 x 18 = 1278 SF
There you have it, you can now successfully determine how much you need in dining room space.
Now that you have determined the 60% (dining room), you can now calculate the rest. Using the above calculation:
- 1065 SF / .6 (60%) = 1775 SF (100% of space needs)
- 1775 SF x .3 (30%) = 532.5 SF (Kitchen space needs)
- 1775 SF x .1 (10%) = 177.5 SF (Everything else space needs)
Now that you have your square footage numbers in hand you can laser-focus your search for restaurant space in your market searching for exactly what you need, and none of what you don’t.
When it comes to finding and leasing restaurant space, determining your square footage needs is just one item on a long list of “to-do’s”. If you find you have questions or need help with any part of the process, contact on of our restaurant leasing experts today.