Cafe Design Ideas: How to Optimise your Layout and Atmosphere

Café Design Ideas

Every morning there seems to be a new cafe spot open for business. The variety of cafes, from cozy nooks to large lounges with high speed Wi-Fi, have created quite a competitive coffeehouse market. How can a brand new cafe distinguish themselves from every other java joint around town? 

Perhaps providing a creative cafe design or interesting layout is what will make your business standout from all the other coffee bars. 

Selecting the Best Location and Decor

Finding the best location for any business is important to its long-term success. Prime real estate usually means high visibility resulting in plenty of sales. A sweet site for your cafe will get plenty of foot traffic in the door but you have to make sure the customers come back. Repeat sales are often forged with eye-catching interior designs, pleasant seating arrangements, and multiple amenities which create a comfortable atmosphere. Customers will stay loyal if they enjoy the location. 

Deciding on Your Cafe’s Layout

The shape and size of your store front will usually determine the layout. For example, if you have a narrow front entrance then your foot traffic may get in a jam. Or potential customers passing by may be discouraged by the busy doorway. The appearance of your cafe’s front doors and windows give clues as to whether the customers will find a welcoming ambience inside. 

Many cafe owners sketch potential layouts on paper or use a basic computer design program. This type of outline makes it easier to envision a highly functional layout before spending money on architects and construction crews. 

When designing your cafe’s interior layout, perhaps you should consider things like: 

  • Food service standards: Depending on where your cafe is located, you may have food service construction regulations that must be met. For instance, many countries do not allow the food counter to be blocked by furniture as a safety precaution. Be sure to double-check with your local city council or building department before designing your floor plan. 
  • Wheelchair access: Design your layout to accommodate cafe patrons that are handicap or have some type of physical restrictions. This often requires lower counters, wider spaces, and handicap bathroom stalls.

The Ambiance and Furnishings

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Customers anticipate a warm and inviting atmosphere, particularly on those cold mornings or rainy evenings when a hot beverage and comfy chair is all you want. Cafe owners that take the time to anticipate the lighting, seating, paint, and other decor choices their customers will enjoy won’t go unrewarded. The right vibe will invite customers to visit more frequently and stay a bit longer, all while spending their money. 

Remember that your decor should enhance your shoppers’ experiences as well. A shoppers senses will instantly influence how they perceive your cafe. The extra thought you put into creating a charming ambiance will be worthwhile. 

Below are a few helpful hints for the interior design process. 

Colours: Every colour palette is a combination of complementary shades that bring about specific feelings or reactions. The first impression many customers have is directly tied to the colour theme. You can use Pinterest or online design sites to develop your perfect colour scheme. You may also want to check-out the colour combinations used by popular cafes. 

Audio Systems: Sound is something nobody really notices until it becomes a nuisance. Be sure your cafe sound system is high quality. You may also want to pay attention to how sounds travel in your building as it could help determine the best way to situate customer service counters and seating areas. You want to clearly hear clients when they order a hot tea and you want customers to enjoy chatting together with a hot cocoa. 

Temperature: This part of your cafe’s ambiance will change daily along with the weather. Pay attention to how your customers are dressed while lounging inside, whether they continue wearing jackets or begin removing clothing. Always make sure your heating and cooling system is efficient and well-maintained. 

Cleanliness: Being sure your restrooms, public areas, and food prep areas are superbly clean will reassure customers they can trust you and your products. 

Lighting: Having a good balance of light in a cafe will make it more comfortable and also help influence how customers utilize your coffee house. Dim lighting near sofas may encourage customers to relax and stay a while. Bright overhead lights near tables may suggest shoppers can sit down and conduct some business. 

Furniture: Carefully selecting chairs, tables, wall hangings, cups, and cutlery for your cafe will help to dress the space. Make sure you invest in durable, quality items that match the overall decor. 

You may want to consider hiring a professional designer who specialises in cafes or restaurants. This is certainly a worthy investment as each factor we mentioned goes into your overall branding. Be sure to do your research by reviewing multiple bids from different designers before hiring anyone. 

Licensing and Regulations

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Every new business is subject to city, regional, or national regulations and licensing. Many of the rules are specific to the design of your building. So it’s very important to verify with your local city council members or building department which ordinances your cafe will have to meet.  

There are several licenses that your business may have to consider:

  • Food Business License: All establishments planning to prepare and/or sell food items may be required to have this license. Occasionally food licenses are specific to freshly prepared or pre-prepped food, so be sure you clarify what your coffee bar needs before applying. 
  • Health and Safety: Each country has their own food health and safety regulations. Typically a professional health inspector will be dispatched to your location for an onsite inspection. Once this is successfully completed, you’ll be assigned a certification that’s valid for a designated amount of time. 
  • Insurance: Purchasing protection for your cafe business can be very beneficial. You may want to talk with a local insurance agent about buying insurance for café owners, or use an online insurance comparison website.
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