Pitch Pizzeria in Scottsdale, Arizona

Design Your Next Restaurant for Efficiency and Guest Experience

Amazing pizza and attentive staff look a lot better in a restaurant designed to give patrons an experience they will never forget.

  • Work with your architect to ensure patrons and staff can move through the restaurant efficiently and get where they need to go easily.
  • Eating in the dining room, sitting at the bar, and dining outside should all be amazing but different experiences.

Related: The secrets of great restaurant kitchen design

By Brian Laubenthal, Aline Architecture Concepts

When it comes to creating a successful pizzeria the two most important things are the food and the service. But amazing pizza and attentive staff look a lot better in a restaurant designed to give patrons an experience they will never forget. A well-designed restaurant can help staff run food more efficiently and completely change the way customers feel about your pizzeria. As an architect who works extensively with restaurant owners, I have seen firsthand how good restaurant design pairs with great food. Here are a few things to consider when designing your pizzeria.

Design With Flow in Mind
A well-designed pizzeria will have a strong function and flow. This means working with your architect to ensure patrons and staff can move through the restaurant efficiently and get where they need to go easily. From the staff perspective, this means designing a restaurant that expedites food delivery and ensures staff are not getting in each other’s way. For example, you would not want to access the dishwasher by passing through the kitchen’s cook and prep areas. This would cause congestion between the cooking and bussing staff. Deliveries, security, office space and storage have to be carefully thought out.

Flow for customers means designing a restaurant they can easily navigate. The dining room, bar, restrooms and patio should all be placed in a way where they don’t have to think about where to go or move awkwardly around tables because adequate space wasn’t created. While waiting to be seated, a customer should be able to easily access the bar to get a drink, go out on the patio to chat with friends, then meet the hostess to be escorted to their table.

If possible, it is important to make sure you have a well-planned overflow space. This could mean creating a spacious bar area or patio lounge space near the entry that gives customers a comfortable space to wait for their table. No one wants to be cramped or feel like they’re in the way while waiting for their table. If your site allows it, make some overflow room for nights when your restaurant is busy, which can also generate additional revenue.

Brian Laubenthal, owner and principal architect at Aline Architecture Concepts

Design With Different Experiences in Mind
A good architect will work with you to design a pizzeria that gives the customer a different experience wherever they eat. Eating in the dining room, sitting at the bar, and dining outside should all be amazing but different experiences.

There should be seating styles that accommodate a large group or for a single person to feel comfortable having a meal.

Look at the areas of your restaurant that are focal points you want customers to see and enjoy. For example, many pizzerias like to make their wood-fired oven the main attraction. Letting customers see the chef putting their pizza into a gorgeous wood-fired oven creates an experience they can only get at a pizzeria.

When we worked with Omaha-based Pitch Pizzeria on the design of their Scottsdale location, we made sure the restaurant’s coal oven and mesquite grille were central to the open-design concept we implemented, because the oven and grille were the backbone of their food offerings. We wanted to give customers the experience of seeing their food cooking in real time.

Incorporating soft lounge seating in your outdoor or bar space can create a more laidback and relaxed ambiance you can’t get in your traditional table setting. If your space has an odd shape or corner, make it a unique statement and experience you only get at that particular table. What could be a bad seat turns into a table that people request.

Every space is different, so work with the area you have to make it someplace people want to keep coming back to.

Related: 5 incredible pizzeria designs from around the world

Don’t Force a Feature
When you are designing your restaurant, you want to make sure whatever you design fits with the space you are working with or the theme you want. Do not try to force a design into a space that won’t allow it. If your space is not conducive to outdoor dining, focus on improving the indoor experience.

The open-kitchen design concept is a good example of a feature a lot of people want but not everyone can pull off. When you see the chef tossing a pizza in the air, applying the toppings and putting that pizza in the oven, it can create a wonderful visual experience for your guests. However, if you don’t have the chefs or the kitchen equipment to pull it off, it can become a distraction. Restaurant design is about making a space that has function and flow, so don’t sacrifice that for a concept that does not fit your space.

The quality of your food and service will always be the most important thing at your restaurant. However, mastering those two essentials and complementing them with amazing restaurant design can bring your pizzeria to the next level. Great design can completely change a customer’s experience and give them another reason to come back.

Brian Laubenthal is the owner and principal architect at Aline Architecture Concepts in Scottsdale, Arizona. Aline Architecture Concepts provides a complete suite of architectural services, but with a higher level of craft and understanding for the built environment.