What Steps Must be Taken to Expand Your Cafe’s Seating Capacity?

Shop Fitting Services / December 19, 2022

For many business owners, the dream is to have a large cafe with numerous tables, correct? A majority of people will associate more tables with more revenue. To increase your cafe’s seating capacity, however, you can’t just cram 20 tables into your establishment. In fact, such a move can make your space appear and feel claustrophobic, and as a result, you may end up driving away your loyal customers. Therefore, it is crucial to arrange the seating in your cafe strategically. It is also one of the most important aspects of maintaining your cafe’s overall theme and atmosphere, and the first thing you must realise is that it’s not just about looks!

In this article, we will be taking a look at what are the steps to increasing your cafe’s seating capacity so that you can bring in more customers without negatively impacting their experience.

Easy ways to increasing your cafe’s seating capacity

In a restaurant, capacity refers to the number of diners who can be served simultaneously without negatively impacting the guest experience, given the available space and other resources. Effective capacity management is crucial to a restaurant’s success, just as it is to the success of any other business; it determines how well the traffic is actually being managed. Regardless of the size of your restaurant, you want to ensure that every square foot is utilised to its fullest potential to generate revenue.

Here we have listed down 7 methods you can use to increase your cafe’s seating capacity:

  • Make sure you’re following the locality’s safety regulations

Before making any modifications to your establishment, you must review your area’s local codes and other regulations. Ensure that you do not violate any rules or safety requirements while attempting to expand your cafe’s seating capacity. Many regions have stringent policies regarding the required square footage per customer. You can contact your local fire department or any other government agency that regulates restaurants to inquire about these dimensions. Typically, these measurements are based on the number of exits, size, and accessibility of your venue’s restrooms and disabled access.

  • Switching up your cafe’s layout

Customers nowadays prefer less formal establishments. They are indifferent if they are not seated at a traditional chair and table at the same level and angle as everyone else. You can therefore have the freedom to experiment with various layouts. It is time to think creatively. 

Changing the layout of your establishment may seem impossible, mainly if you have limited space to work with. 

However, you will be surprised by how much you can accomplish with a few straightforward modifications. For instance, tables can be pushed together to create refectory-style or communal dining tables, thereby creating additional space. In addition, installing counters along the side walls, complete with bar stools, can create vast amounts of extra space without a feeling of congestion. 

You can instantly add a few dozen customers to your space by doing these two things, so they are worth considering.  Implementing these changes can be challenging and requires imagination and funds, but the long-term benefits are well worth the effort. Once you get started, they are actually quite simple. The trick is to flip that switch and have a clear goal of what you want from your cafe’s space.

  • Improve your cafe’s seating arrangement

Now that you are aware of the type of layout and the number of tables that can be accommodated, it is time to design the seating arrangement. You can either draw a sketch on paper or use sophisticated software for this purpose. But the most effective method is to experiment with various seating arrangements and table placements using your existing furniture.

The objective is to test and then retest multiple times to determine which layout fits your space and cafe’s theme best. Flexible seating arrangements are an excellent way to expand the seating capacity of your café. On certain jam-packed days, you can simply add a few tables to your existing layout by making a few adjustments. During regular work days, you can maintain a more relaxed and spacious layout.

  • Maximising your outdoor space

Many restaurants complain about the amount of space they have to work with but neglect or underutilize their most obvious piece of real estate: their outdoor space. If you reside in a region with even moderately pleasant weather, you should maximise the potential of your outdoor space. Don’t forget that your cafe’s outdoor space serves as its first impression. As a result, it is an effective method of attracting passersby’s attention.

Having outdoor seating that can be used year-round will attract customers who like to observe the passing of time. Ensure that your outdoor space is kept clean and organised and that tables are cleared and wiped down frequently. In addition, set up some parasols to shield people from the sun or invest in an awning that can provide protection from the elements.

  • Choosing the right pieces of furniture

While the aesthetic qualities of your furniture should be your top priority, the functionality of these should not be overlooked. We are not suggesting that you should cram as many seats as possible into space, but you should try to incorporate a variety of seating options. Suppose you have, for example, twenty identical tables that each seat four people, you will likely be wasting valuable floor space. Unless your seating area is a perfect square, you will have unused space to place tables. What about these peculiar nooks and crannies? 

A few strategically positioned round tables in these areas provide guests with a cosy alcove to enjoy. Alternatively, you can also consider booth seating. This is an excellent way to maximise seating space without sacrificing valuable floor space. Ultimately, by mixing and matching furniture, you can create more seating areas and, as a result, more customers seated, which makes sense given that customers prefer various seating options.

Consider purchasing smaller cafe chairs as an alternative to a series of large, comfortable couches. Stackable varieties are especially advantageous, as they can be moved out of the way quickly if your establishment needs to make room for the bar in the evenings.

  • Put a reservation system if needed

Most cafes do not require reservations, but if yours is consistently crowded with customers waiting for their turn, it’s time to implement a reservation system. Reservations are also essential if the majority of your customers prefer to sit at particular tables near the window, fireplace, or focal wall. Online reservations will help you gain some control over where your customers will be seated. As a result, you can manage your shifts more efficiently and accurately predict the waiting time. 

In addition, your customers will appreciate this service because it allows them to choose their favourite spots in the cafe. Take advantage of your free access to the internet to register on one of these popular restaurant/café booking websites if you are not particularly tech-savvy. Learn how to use a few simple restaurant reservation apps, and voila, you’re ready to provide online booking services to your loyal customers.

  • Using your decor to your advantage

The final tip won’t necessarily give you more interior to work with. Still, it’s definitely worth a shot because it’s such a reliable method for giving the impression that your interior is very spacious. Using paint that is in light tones, such as white, grey, pastel blue, or yellow, can give the impression that there is more space available than there actually is. 

Please avoid dark colour schemes like black, deep blue, and dark purple unless you plan to use them as accents or in tiny amounts. Mirrors strategically placed around a small room can also give the impression that the room is larger.

Bottom Line

There are numerous ways to increase your cafe’s seating capacity, but before implementing any of them, make sure you maintain your establishment’s appearance, ambience, and vibe. Whether you are opening a cafe for the first time or rebranding an existing one, it is essential to understand how to maximise space without sacrificing a good dining experience for your customers. Investing some time in learning this aspect of the cafe business will save you time and money while attracting the ideal clientele with minimal effort. We hope that you were able to take away some helpful insight into the Strategic ways to increase your cafe’s seating capacity we have provided above.

If you or a fellow business owner is in need of a cafe fit out specialist in Melbourne to help improve your sitting capacity, then 360 Shopfitters is the team you need to get in touch with ASAP! 360 Shopfitters can assist you in transforming your available space into the ideal business atmosphere. 360 Shopfitters, which has experience in the shopfitting industry, specialises in commercial fit-outs, office fit-outs, and retail fit-outs. We have the expertise and experience to make your business idea a reality. We take pleasure in being more than mere contractors; we cultivate deep ties with our clients to ensure we can build a good relationship with them.