Bottom-Line Decor: How Restaurant Interiors Drive Sales

Restaurants engage all of your senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch, which all contribute to the visceral reaction a guest experiences when they walk through your door. In an age where capturing moments through social media is a worldwide hobby, restaurant interiors speak loudly to what your brand stands for without saying a word. And what they have to say can dramatically impact sales.

Yes, interiors must be aesthetically pleasing and yes, the seats must be comfortable, but ultimately it comes down to what sets you apart. The goal is to create a memorable opportunity for your brand when guests are in your four walls. What makes your interiors different from the hundreds of other Yelp-scrolling options out there? 

If you can’t answer this question, it’s time to rethink more than just tables and chairs.

Do It for the Gram 

Interior design has always played a major role in the restaurant industry, but now a new question is being asked: “Is this picture-worthy?”

With the omnipresence of social media, aesthetics have become an increasingly important aspect of any business – restaurants perhaps being the most significant. When Taco Bell hops on the redesign interiors train, you know it’s more than just a fad. 

According to Norton Creative Director Alyson Francis, “Restaurant owners know their ideal demographic – millennials are in the workforce now and have disposable income because they haven’t started families, so they’re targeting them more.”

Brand recognition ties into your restaurant as a whole. When someone asks, “What’s that place with the amazing margaritas?” they need to tie it to the setting, picturing the location in their mind. In order to stand out in an Instagram feed, your interiors must be impactful. 

Memorable seating, neon signs, creative lighting, and unique artwork all contribute to an experience worth sharing. So, what will you choose to focus on? The goal is to discover your memorable interiors moment. Do it for the gram…and do it the numbers. 

Our Belief 

At Norton, we excel at disconnecting our personal interests from what fits your brand. Our designers are experts at shifting from brand to brand and applying custom styles. We design for you, ensuring your brand is firmly grounded throughout the restaurant. 

Choosing elements that are on trend doesn’t always come together in a cohesive way. We design so guests stay for that extra drink or dessert, which will impact your bottom line. This results in driving sales by efficiently utilizing space for seat count, while maximizing guest comfort so they’re prone to sit and stay.

Through collaborative ideation and inspiration for furnishing, fixtures, and finishes, we work with your team to determine what sets your brand’s interiors apart.

Design Outside the Box 

The Leal’s team came to us needing help designing the next generation of their concept in Amarillo, TX. We developed a new look for Leal’s Fine Mexican Foods that maintains the roots of the brand while also creating a modern and warm environment for both new and loyal customers.

Executive Creative Director Erin DuBois said, “Our primary focus for the Leal’s space was creating a captivating indoor/outdoor feeling for the bar area at the front of the restaurant. This is still a prime Instagramable moment for guests while also calling attention to the open kitchen.”

Our designers incorporated zones that appeal to different types of guests, from happy hour couples to large corporate groups. An added value was utilizing extra square-footage at the front of the restaurant for a sub brand, creating an additional revenue stream. 

Find Your True Colors 

Au Bon Pain is a legacy bakery brand that was drowning in a sea of sameness of earth tones and outdated design and decor often found in the café industry. Our job was to bring that brand to life in order to dramatically stand out to a younger urban working audience. 

Strategically infusing a bright, colorful palette and modern design set the brand apart from its highly saturated competitive set and brought a younger vibrance to the brand. This immediately helped Au Bon Pain stand out in their on-the-go locations in hospitals, train stations, colleges, and airports.

More Than Just Cool Chairs 

Whether designing interiors for a one-off location or a legacy brand, we never sacrifice uncovering and understanding your unique differentiator. It’s just too important. Your restaurant’s interiors are ultimately a reflection of your food, your story, and you. Who you are and what you believe determines the design. How do you want to tell your story? 

This article was written by Norton Creative, a one-stop creative shop specializing in the restaurant and hospitality industry. We’re committed to solving interior design challenges, from creating new concepts to reviving beloved favorites.