Whether you already run a bar or want to launch a brand new business, commercial bar design is far more than just the look of your bar. When launching any new guest service, you need to consider look only the look of the space but the way it compliments the experience you want to provide – from facilitating the high level of service your guests expect, to combining functional and practical elements with standout features that will keep guests coming back for more.
With particular focus on commercial bar design, in this blog post we’re sharing some useful insights for designing a bar which promotes an excellent customer experience.
What to consider when designing a commercial bar
The best bar in your local area has likely earned its title through a combination of great drinks, a reliable and reputable service, an enjoyable setting, and perhaps one or two innovative design features or bonus experiences which make it somewhere worth visiting time and time again.
The reality of a commercial bar, particularly with so many chains and independent businesses now open in every town and city across the UK and beyond, is that if you don’t offer something a little different, there’s nothing to separate you from the competition. The best bar is one which combines its leading service and great customer offer with a setting and environment that is worth talking about – and that’s where you should focus the main bulk of your energy when designing a commercial bar.
Focus on the experience that you want guests to have and build a bar around it – tapping into the quality of the drinks and snacks they are served, the expertise of the staff and team within your bar, and the luxurious surroundings of the space you operate and own.
Some of the key areas to focus on and consider include:
- Branding and how you inject your branding into the overall design of the space without it feeling forced or tacky.
- Marketing and how you can reflect the experience in your marketing materials. One great way to do this (and one which many bars and restaurants are now using) is some kind of photo opportunity that guests can experience for themselves, taking selfies or photos which they then share online for indirect but incredibly effective social marketing.
- The first impression of your bar in terms of the entrance.
The importance of your floor plan and layout
Once you’ve got your space and have built your brand on paper and in your mind, it’s time to turn it into a working business. And while many commercial bars utilise just one open space with added bathrooms, the way you layout and integrate navigation into that space can mean the difference between a good and a bad experience.
For example, customers at a bar may want to be in the heart of the action, watching their drinks being made and enjoying the buzz of the surrounding atmosphere. Conversely, they may want to sit further away from the action and have conversations with their friends – creating the need for different spaces within the confines of an open plan bar area.
This is where you can get creative and use everything from pop up partition walls to different furnishings and different lighting fittings to create segmented areas within a single business. Not only does this allow you to serve a wider audience but it gives you more to play with in terms of design – developing a versatile bar business which appeals to a mass audience, and which lets you explore and creatively integrate different areas and experiences within one business.
Furnishings, lighting, and decorative details
The best way to use furniture and lighting to elevate the customer experience in your bar is by marrying that fittings with the kind of vibe that your target customer wants. As explored in the previous point, you might find that you want to entice and appeal to a broad audience with different needs and preferences – which might open your shopping list to different furnishings, various light fittings, and individual decorations and features.
On the other hand, if you want to develop a space which taps into a very specific theme then, again, these added features are what allow you to bring that theme and concept to life – visually and in terms of the overall customer experience.
Consistency plays a huge role in the design of a commercial bar, whether you opt for one theme throughout the space or segment your bar into different areas under one umbrella concept. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that both your furnishings and layout compliment the experience you want your guests to enjoy, and ensure that a mix of great service and excellent drinks brings your guests back again and again.