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Dining room space

Question:

Is there a standard formula for how much space is needed for tables in the dining room?

– Richard Lanza, Chef, Ristegios, North Patchogue, NY

Answer:

This question invites a response I use a lot in our industry: “It depends.”

There are a few factors that will determine how many seats you can (and should) fit in your dining room:

  1. Concept. Do you want to create an easy, relaxed feel? Indulgent fine dining? Bustling, hip and trendy? Pack ‘em in, get ‘em out? Is one table being close to another part of the energy and ambience or do you prefer to create space for private conversations?
  2. Service. Crowded dining rooms tend to use arm service whereas if you use trays or carts, you will need to allow extra space.
  3. Furniture. Booths can take up more floor space than tables. Statler tables with foldable leaves or small tables pushed together to accommodate large parties will be more space-efficient than large rounds.
  4. Dining room shape. Odd angles in the dining room or features like columns and doorways may require some creative planning.

James Feustel, a kitchen and restaurant designer based in New York City says, “There isn't a real equation that's used to determine the number of seats that can fit into a dining room, but there are some loose guidelines that are used to figure seating capacities. The general range of square feet given as an allowance for dining room seating is 15 to 18 square feet per seat in the dining room, with 12 to 14 sq. ft. allowed for bar seating.”

“More often than not, the location of a restaurant is going to dictate the balance between comfort and revenue.”

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