How Restaurant Design Impacts Your Dating Experience

Dining Table

It’s date day.

You arrive at the restaurant all revved up, excited over that all-important first date (or second, if you’re lucky). You stretch your neck trying to look for your date. Left. Right. Front. Back.

Have you just been stood up? Oh wait, there! At a very dim (and seemingly dusty) corner, you see your future partner (maybe) stand up and wave you in. You hurriedly navigate the maze of haphazardly placed tables and chairs, almost tripping on an exposed electrical cord. You finally arrive at your table, and the first thing you say is, “Can we move to a better place?”

Dating in the 21st Century

Dating in the 21st century is certainly different from decades ago. The changing socio-cultural landscape as well as the advent of technological apps that promote online dating and similar dating trends have influenced how people date.

Many a Tinderella has sprinted home — not caring about losing a shoe — only to escape from the horrid reality of a Prince Not-so-Charming. Terms such as “flexting”, “cricketing”, “ghostbusting”, or “fauxbae’ing” have even infiltrated the urban dictionary in an effort to describe the often-indescribable dating world. These days, tech and trends seem to control how people meet.

With the numerous apps all putting their best faces forward, many Romeos and Juliets belatedly find out the terrible truth. But even if the olden ways of watching a movie and having a nice long dinner have been replaced by Internet dating, and perhaps casual drinks and cocktails (both virtual and for real) down the line, there is still that glimmer of hope that they’ll eventually find that special someone to spend the rest of their life with.

“Have Designs on You”

In spite of the odd metamorphosis of the dating world, restaurants are still popular places to go on a real date. Aside from the hedonistic pleasure that good food gives, it also helps in creating an ambiance fit for cultivating relationships of a romantic nature.

The latest dating trends seem to also influence how restaurants are run and designed nowadays. A Washington Post report says that restaurateurs now consider the dating habits of modern-day lovebirds when designing the layout and look of their establishment.

Here are some of the restaurant design factors that can affect diners’ dating experience:

1. Concept and Story

For restaurant architects and designers, it is important to have a clear concept of what the restaurant is. It’s not merely a theme to follow but an inherent story of what the restaurant stands for or is striving to be.

All the design elements must come together based on this narrative to give off a strong emotional vibe that will enhance the experience of every diner.

A restaurant’s unique story can be a basis for choosing the date venue. A guy who cares enough about the girl’s penchant for anything Parisian, for example, can scour the city for a quaint French café. Along with the authentic cuisine, faithful commitment to the Parisien concept with interior design fittings and components can transport them to the City of Love.

2. Layout and Functionality

For restaurants, the way things are laid out must follow the flow of its daily operations. Factors like how and where guests come in, the most efficient routes from the kitchen to the various tables and vice versa, and the number of staff that need to weave through tables must be thoughtfully considered.

There is still wisdom in form following function as it translates to better movement, productivity, and profitability. For example, the faster the food is delivered to their table, the more satisfied customers are. Their level of satisfaction can lead to second helpings, future bookings, and positive word of mouth.

Space design is also crucial in setting a restaurant apart from its competition.

Menu offerings can be closely similar to each other but designs can greatly differ especially in fine dining and specialty restaurants. Those who take their flexting (read: online boasting) to a more realistic level will opt to choose a fancy bar and resto over a fast food joint, for example, to gain more points and win the heart of their date.

3. Lighting

Good lighting helps create the mood in the restaurant. From soft lighting to a more targeted use of architectural lighting, it influences how people feel. Some establishments opt for a warm and cozy glow with dim lights. Low lights also provide a more romantic air that invites people to dine and drink and spend more time with each other.

Other dining places have dimmable LED lights that go from bright daytime to soft muted evening glow. Ambient lighting that complements the décor and overall look of the place adds to the delightful dining experience.

4. Comfort

Upon seeing the latest dating trend where blind date or online-site couples spend about two hours just sizing each other up, restaurant owners and designers have thought of solutions.

Seats for two are comfortably set up in cozy nooks to provide privacy. At the same time, it will give bigger parties enough room in bigger tables. Series of two-seat sections in sprawling bars also allow first-time daters enough wiggle room if the date is a bust.

Couples that have been dating for a long time can opt for comfy couches or booths. The more comfortable they are, the more willingness they have to order more items.

5. Color

Psychologists, marketers and color experts have been studying the effects of colors on the dining patterns of people. The kind of color in a restaurant can influence the dwell time of diners.

Red and orange are great accent colors as they stimulate appetite. Yellow is easy to see and is considered to be a “happy” color. It helps clear thinking and decision-making so it’s a wise color to use in menus. Green is calming and can be liberally used to promote the belief of eating healthily.

Rich and warm color themes are usually used to create a romantic or sensuous mood.

Designed for Success

How a restaurant looks and feels is an important factor in making or breaking a date.

For restaurant owners, it would be wise to consult with an interior design and fit-out company in coming out with the best solutions for a well-designed dining space. By integrating interior design solutions, key design principles, and resource-saving techniques, restaurants will run like a well-oiled machine. A well-planned and properly organized fit-out contributes to efficient staff performance and productivity.



Shane Curran

CEO at Interact Group LLC

Interact Group is a design-led interior fit out company that aims to set new standards in the UAE interiors market. Driven by their dedication to total customer experience, the company’s mission is to bring truly specialized teams to complex design and fit out challenges, utilizing their unmatched ability to deliver spaces efficiently and above expectation.