Restaurant Set Up

Everything starts with an empty room.

FF&E and SOE stands for “Furniture, Fittings & Equipment” and “Small Operating Equipment”.

When you open a new restaurant you start with an empty room.

Once you found a location Immediately you will try to figure out how many guest you can house.
But there are really many decisions to be taken. You cannot just start with the square footage and divide it be the size of a table. It does not work like that. But I think that is clear for everybody.

What else do you need do you need to set up a restaurant, next to tables and chairs.

Sample Table Plan

  • Wardrobe – When you enter a restaurant or bar or café you will find a wardrobe where you can hang up your coat or leaf your bags
  • Hostess table – with a speakers desk – on it you will find a reservation book and a phone or any digital system with a table plan to organise and check reservations and manage walk-ins and menus
  • Children area – a play ground with soft flooring, toys, a person for child care (for family friendly restaurants)
  • Cashier desk  – for payments, invoicing, cash handling, selling vouchers, souvenirs
  • Waiter stations – sideboards for cutlery, menus, cruets, condiments, napkins and a till
  • Clearing stations
  • Dance floor and a stage for entertainment
  • Staff area – changing facilities and a common room for breaks
  • Offices – team secretary, accounting
  • Restrooms
  • Storage – beverages, food, equipment, linen, office supplies
  • Brewery – fermentation tanks, storage tanks
  • VIP – Area
  • Dispense bar or Bar area – Beverage dispenser, beer tap, shelves for glasses, cups, glasswasher, coffee machine, coffee cups, cooling devices, (fridge, freezer, ice cube and crushed ice maker) blender, cocktail area and equipment. And a guest area with bar stools
  • Decoration – pictures, paintings, lamps, flowers, displays, showcases

When you look at the available space now you will see that it could be just 70% of the allocated space that remains for guest areas. And now, last but not least you can think of tables and chairs.

Also take into account the shape of the room – that there might be any inconvenient corners, niches or pillars or walls could be inclined in a certain angel that cannot be used for guest areas. Plus – you need passage ways for the service and of course for the guest. Eventually you can figure out how many tables and chairs fit in.

If you sum it up – for a Restaurant with 300 sqm – you deduct 30% for support areas and you will be left with an available space of 200 sqm. When you put the tables in straight rows you will end up with 32 table sets of 4 pax – because you will need 6,25sqm per table.

Straight set up + service space 250 cm – 6,25 sqm (straight) – 32 table sets of 4 pax
Diagonal set up + service space 200 cm – 4 sqm (diagonal) – 50 table sets of 4 pax

That is the worst case szenario. But there is also a best case scenario.

If you have no brewery like in my example and you do not have live music and no dance floor and put the tables diagonal than you would be able to fit in almost 100 table for 400 guests. That sounds much better. Right?

And if you open a Bar or Night club or for mixed purposes of the operation you will need other metrics for your space allocation.

I can tell you to furnish a restaurant requires a lot of thinking, planning and organising. Out of experience I suggest that you sit with your key personal – the head chef, the restaurant and the bar manager and talk it through. This is also advisable because the requirements for the different departments might not be the same. And this is of even greater importance for the next subject.

RESTAURANT SET UP “SOE” – Small Operating Equipment

Plates – Bowls – Ramekins – Cups – Glasses – Cutlery – Crockery – Cruets – Napkins – Coasters – Decoration. This list does not claim to be complete.

Often underestimated is the amount of SOE that is needed. It will be loads of cutlery, crockery, glasses and much more.

Do not forget the fluctuation of equipment and how much you need to bring in circulation – clean, dirty, in use, ready for plating, storage. Also remember that there is breakage in busy high volume operations and during peak times.

In the modern kitchens at high level restaurants the most head chefs wish to have representable plate, which means very large ones so that they can present the dishes in a very attractive way. That is understandable on one hand and on the other hand you must consider that plates still have to be served.

A waiter should still be capable to carry 3 to 4 plates at once, unless you run an exclusive high level restaurant.

You can use plateaus (large service trays). Then the waiter can load several plates onto the plateau and bring it to the table. But there you need space to put it down and serve the plates. Alternatively you can structure the service that way that two waiters will have to serve. One would carry the tray the second one serves.

It is a dance on a razor blade- either the service needs more space or it is labour intensive. Third option would be to agree on a plate size that can be served manually and is representable enough for the dishes.

Besides the design and the price please bear the following in mind

  • Robust – sturdy, breaking strength, not unbreakable
  • Stackable – for storage, when you pile it up in the kitchen for preparation works
  • Multiple usage – soup plate vs soup bowl, can be used for salad or other snacks
  • No metal in design such as gold Logo (microwave safe)
  • Size, weight, shape (triangle, oval)
  • Glasses – baskets, racks, storing, washing (hight breakage)
  • Cutlery – solid, sharp knives, steak knives
  • Napkins – paper, two-ply or three-ply, fabrics,– washing facilities – imprints

The best thing to do is to summarize all relevant information on a list

SOE Small Operating Equipment

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