There are all sorts of restaurants out there, offering diners a multitude of cuisines, settings, experiences, and more. From fine dining to fast food outlets, immersive street food, and five star service, the way that diners experience food is broader than ever – with the experience itself playing a huge role in how they enjoy the food and how they view the setting.
To build your own restaurant is to put your name on the map for doing something that’s one of two things. It either needs to deliver the most exceptional variation on your chosen cuisine in the area, or it needs to deliver a memorable experience that diners want to repeat (and ideally, you want to tick both boxes!)
How do you do that? Well, one way is to explore the concept of an open kitchen – a design phenomenon which reverses the fine dining idea that the work should take place behind closed doors, instead making it part of the drama and experience of eating out.
What is an open kitchen?
An open kitchen is, in its simplest form, a kitchen which is open to the dining area of your restaurant – that is, it isn’t hidden behind closed doors and walls, but rather integrated as part of the setting and experience.
Some restaurants will counter the noise of an open kitchen by installing a large window between the dining area and the kitchen, while others accept the drama of the kitchen setting and simply make it a part of the space.
Why are open kitchens so popular?
You need only look at the popularity of ‘Chef’s Table’ dining experiences to see just how far commercial kitchen and restaurant design has come in the last few years. In fact, these Chef’s Table experiences are often sold at a premium, charging diners more to become a part of the action and see their meals created in front of their eyes.
So, why are they so popular?
Having worked across a wide range of restaurants and with a diverse cross-section of clients, we have come to conclude the following…
They deliver a form of entertainment while dining
For dinner parties, having an open kitchen proves a talking point; involving diners in the drama of the food preparation, and giving them some insight into what goes on behind the scenes. For romantic and even solo dinners, an open kitchen delivers more of an experience which unlocks the senses and encourages diners to stay for longer as they become invested in what’s going on.
For restaurant owners specifically, delivering an open kitchen concept as a form of entertainment can translate to diners spending more, as they become more attuned to what is being created and what the various menu items truly involve behind the scenes.
Open kitchens build trust
If you have looked into any form of marketing for your upcoming restaurant opening, then you will already be familiar with the idea of people buying from people that they can trust. Well, from a restaurant point of view, giving diners insight into how and where their food is prepared creates an underlying sense of transparency and trust.
They can see for themselves that the food preparation area is hygienic and well cleaned, that food is fresh, and that plates do not sit waiting to be served for hours on end. Trust us when we say that the impact this can have on your restaurant is huge.
It can save space and money
Far from investing time and money in building walls and installing entirely separate lighting and ventilation systems, having an open kitchen makes food prep an intrinsic part of your restaurant design. As such, you save an incredible amount of space which is other wasted to create walkways and other logistic spaces – instead maximising the use of your entire floor-plan.
People love watching others cook!
Finally, have you ever really thought about the popularity of cooking programs? Well, this is your opportunity to tap into that overwhelming demand for cooking and kitchen entertainment, by bringing a live action version of Master Chef into your diners’ experience.
How to make an open kitchen work for your restaurant
An open kitchen offers you the chance to engage diners with the preparation of their meal, inviting them to take a more active role in their dining experience from the moment they walk in.
To make it work in your space, engaging the services of experts like Carroll Design will ensure that your entire floor-plan is used effectively – preserving health and safety, design features, and the creation of a memorable, successful restaurant business.