Different Restaurant Themes

Building a restaurant starts with a very specific theme. Without that guiding force behind every build decision, the design of the restaurant is unlikely to reflect its purpose. Being able to narrow down the theme of an eating establishment before construction begins helps you realize your long-range goals.


Anchored by rough-cut furniture and natural wood throughout, a restaurant with a rustic theme focuses on items found in the wild. Handmade — versus machine generated — accessories and decorations are often used to add emphasis to the exposed beams and wooden benches that are built into today’s rustic restaurants. Plank walls and exposed lighting provide a nod to an era gone by while also highlighting a simpler time that is often reflected in the food that is served.Design Build methods offer simplicity in what could otherwise be a very complex project. When the owner has a single point of contact for construction and design of their projects, there is less confusion. The other significant feature is that there is less stress on the owner as the risk for design errors is shifted to the contractor rather than the owner.

Another significant bonus is that the design build model saves much time. With fewer people involved, there is less time wasted in confusing communication between parties. Researches on Selecting Project Delivery Systems by Victor Sanvido and Mark Konchar of Pennsylvania State University found that design–build projects are delivered 33.5% faster than projects that are designed and built under separate contracts (design-bid-build). The fact that fewer people are involved is significant in that historically this is not the way construction projects have been handled. In the past, the owner was dealing with many people on many different levels working on many different aspects of the construction project. This contributed to confusion, and eventually a slower schedule. Sanvido and Konchar also showed that design–build projects are constructed 12% faster* and have a unit cost that is 6.1% lower than design-bid-build projects. Design build models have attempted to alleviate some of this confusion and take some of this stress off of the owner so that the owner can think about other aspects of their business or building project.


As starkly different from the rustic look as night is from day, a restaurant with a modern focus provides the opportunity to offer plenty of sleek and polished surfaces as well as a distinctive minimalist look. Often based on striking color contrasts such as black and white or bold and bright colors like reds and yellows, a modern restaurant design allows the designer to push the envelope when it comes to trying new theories. Uncluttered and no-frills, a restaurant with a modern design emphasizes space as well as the latest trends in menu items.


Upscale restaurants are the stuff of starched white tablecloths and plush upholstered booths. Muted lighting that enhances such design touches, like mahogany railings, hand cut stone and gently curving banisters are just a few of the items that can be found in the top upscale restaurant designs. Smooth traffic flow from the kitchen to the dining area is necessary to ensure that the upscale dining experience is upheld. Menu items often consist of the freshest ingredients that are presented in interesting and visually appealing dishes and sometimes feature modern twists on traditional favorites.


Casual, welcoming and made for messes are the backbone of a family-friendly, child-welcoming restaurant design. Flooring that can hold up to lots of vigorous traffic, walls that are finished with washable paint and furniture that can easily be pushed together to accommodate large gatherings of families are the types of amenities that make a restaurant child friendly. A kid-pleasing menu that also offers delectable items for the adult palate — think gourmet pizza, chicken fingers with homemade sauce and hand-cut French fries — allows this type of restaurant to stand out among the crowd.

While there is some overlap when it comes to restaurant design — for example, a restaurant can be both modern and upscale while a rustic restaurant lends itself well to also being child friendly — knowing the unique characteristics of each helps you to narrow your focus further when it comes to restaurant construction.