Restaurant design is a delicate balance between aesthetics, functionality, and ambiance. From the layout of the dining area to the selection of furniture pieces, every element plays a crucial role in shaping the overall experience for diners. However, behind the scenes, we face unique challenges when it comes to crafting the perfect culinary space. Through our recently completed project, Mextizo, we’ll explore some of these challenges and how they influence the process restaurant design.

Functionality vs. Aesthetics:
One of the primary challenges in restaurant design is finding the balance between form and function. While it’s important for the space to look visually appealing, it’s equally essential for it to be practical and efficient for both staff and customers. When selecting finishes and furniture, we must consider factors such as comfort, durability, and ease of maintenance, without compromising on the overall design concept.

At Mextizo we selected a booth fabric with a moisture barrier to prevent salsa stains from sinking in. Purebotanica by Architex was a perfect match for the client’s vision and the need for easy maintenance. Vinyl seats add an additional layer of protection. The dining chairs from Oak Street Manufacturing have a frame that looks like wood, but is actually metal, to increase their lifespan and stand up to any type of cleaner used.

Traffic Flow and Space Optimization:
Another significant challenge in restaurant design is optimizing the layout to ensure smooth traffic flow and maximize seating capacity. Furniture plays a crucial role in this aspect, as the choice of tables, chairs, and booths can either facilitate or hinder movement within the space. Care is taken to create designated pathways and functional zones while making the most of the available square footage.

Budget Constraints and Timeline:
Budget constraints are a reality in restaurant design, often requiring designers to balance cost-effectiveness with quality and style. Furniture specification involves not only selecting pieces that fit within the allocated budget but also consider how quickly they can arrive. Time is money in the restaurant industry, and the faster the furniture arrives the sooner they can be open.

We were able to source all furniture locally through Oak Street Manufacturing. From the custom booths to the metal chairs and butcherblock tables, Oak Street helped us keep Mextizo’s budget in check and on a quick timeline.

Theme and Brand Consistency:
Many restaurants strive to create a distinct theme or ambiance that reflects their brand identity and culinary concept. This presents a challenge when selecting furniture pieces that align with the overall theme while maintaining brand consistency. Whether it’s a rustic farmhouse-style eatery or a sleek modern bistro, every furniture choice must contribute to the cohesive aesthetic of the space.

When the owners of Mextizo came to us they had a clear vision-an modern authentic space with greenery and murals. As veterans of the restaurant industry they knew they needed a lot of booth seating as well. We leaned into that, using a leaf motif on the booth backs and natural wood tones on the chairs and table tops. The bar front, tiled in Daltile’s Remedy tile in Herbal, ties everything together.

By carefully navigating the balance between functionality, aesthetics, budget, and brand identity, we created a space that is not only look visually stunning but also provide an exceptional dining experience for patrons. With creativity, innovation, and attention to detail, the challenges of restaurant design can be transformed into opportunities for memorable dining experiences.

Check out Mextizo at 1140 Blairs Ferry Road NE in Cedar Rapids!