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june 22 2017-2

Opening a Restaurant? Here are 4 Money Saving Tips

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Opening a new restaurant can be daunting. There are many factors to consider from the layout to the menu and so much more.

If you are looking for budget friendly ideas when it comes to the design and overall aesthetics of your restaurant, here are 4 top tips to consider-

1) Choose Your Tables Wisely 

You may think it is more economical to purchase cheap tables and cover them with fresh linen table cloths but you may want to think again. Table cloths can be expensive to maintain and require constant washing and replacing.

A good tip when it comes to saving money at your restaurant is to choose tables that look great without a table cloth.

By choosing nice tables that fit the décor and theme of your restaurant, you can save on the cost of the table cloths and the labour fees, such as the washing and the pressing.

If you like the idea of having fresh linens in your restaurant, a good substitute instead is to use cloth napkins. Napkins are much easier to maintain, and don’t require pressing. Napkins are also much cheaper to replace and can add a touch of class to your restaurant.

2) Protect your Menus

Giving your customers a menu printed on thick card may seem like the cheapest option however, this is not always the case.

Paper menus without protective coverings can easily get dirty, ripped and crumpled. This is not a good look for your restaurant and can end up costing you time and money in reprinting fees. Furthermore, constantly reprinting menus is not environmentally friendly.

In order to ensure your menus stand the test of time, consider placing them in a protective sleeve or folder. This not only adds a touch of class to your restaurant but it also ensures that your menu stays free of rips, tears and food spills.

3) Try Second-hand Restaurant Equipment

The kitchen in your restaurant is the most important part, but it can also be the most expensive. Chances are your kitchen will need many gadgets and appliances from storage fridges to grills, ice-machines and so much more.

While you may not be able to buy everything second hand, looking into gently used kitchen equipment can potentially save you thousands.

You can also look into leasing kitchen equipment in order to save money as well, especially in the beginning when your set up costs may be high.

4) Skip the Uniforms 

Uniforms with your restaurant logo embossed on them may look neat and professional, but they can also be expensive.

In order to keep costs down, consider having your staff wear their own clothes. A simple white shirt and black pants is a classic look that most wait staff would be happy to provide.

If you want to create a uniform of some kind, consider giving your staff aprons instead. Aprons are much more affordable than an entire outfit and will give your staff that professional feel you are looking for.

These 4 money saving tips are simple, yet they can go a long way when it comes to keeping costs down in your restaurant.

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4 Office Fit-Out Ideas for Small Workspaces

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Is your office space feeling cramped, cluttered or small?

If you have a small office space however and are looking to maximise every square inch, having an office fit out can be an excellent option, especially if moving or upsizing is not in the budget just yet.

When it comes to planning an office fit out in a smaller space, there are some tips and tricks you can follow that can help to not only maximise every inch but also create the illusion of more space.

Here are 4 office fit out ideas to consider when dealing with a small space-

1) Choose Light Neutral Colours

One of the easiest ways to create the illusion of more space is to use lighter colours that are clean, cool and crisp. These include neutrals, whites and pale blues or greens. Darker or warmer colours can give spaces more of a cosy feel, which can be great in a larger space but not so great in a smaller space. Darker colours can also create more of a cramped feel, so they are best to be avoided when choosing your colour scheme. Textured walls and patterns can also create a more “cosy” feel so these are also best avoided when dealing with a small space.

2) Clear the Clutter  
One of the most important things to consider before staging your office fit out is what is truly necessary in your space. Over the years it is likely that your business has collected files, paperwork and other things that are really no longer necessary. A good way to start with the decluttering process is to work out what you really need in your space. Once you have established what is truly important, it will be easier to clear away what is no longer necessary.  When planning your office fit out, having a list of what is needed will also help you to prioritise the layout and design of your space.

3) Choose Multifunctional Furniture 

When space is of the essence, having big, bulky furniture that doesn’t serve multiple purposes is best to be avoided. In order to maximise the space, it is best to use multifunctional furniture that can serve a variety of purposes and functions. Having furniture that is flexible and easy to move around the space is also a great way to maximise space.

4) Use Lighting to Limit Shadows

Another helpful tip to create the illusion of more space is through lighting. When your office space is well lit it helps to create an open, airy feel and can also make your workplace more inviting. The trick with this is to have ample lighting to limit shadows and any dark spots. To do this you need to have lighting on all three levels- eye level, floor level and table level. By doing this, it will help to keep your office space looking open and bright.

By following these 4 simple tips, your small office space will not only be functional and practical but also extremely spacious.

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Can the Layout of Your Office Promote Employee Wellbeing?

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Our environment has a huge impact on our feelings of wellbeing and happiness. In fact, new research has found that a well-designed office can drastically boost the moods of employees and even customers and clients.

When it comes to determining how to design your office space, it is becoming increasingly important to put an emphasis on employee wellbeing. This is because everyone knows that happy and healthy employees lead to higher productivity rates and higher profits. 

In one study, it was found that happiness in the office space boosted productivity by 12 percent and this number continued to increase as the years went on.

Of course, thinking about the wellbeing of all of your employees when it comes to your office fit out can be tricky. Where do you even begin?

Here are some steps to help you get started- 

1) Create a Flexible Work Place

Creating a flexible workplace is about offering functional spaces that can be easily changed or adapted depending on the tasks that need to be completed. Having a flexible workplace allows you to accommodate to the many needs and desires of your staff, even if your office space is small. 

For example, you may choose to use furniture that you can easily move around and reconfigure. Or you may design one area of your office to be a quiet, relaxing space and another area to be focused on communal tasks or socialising. 

By keeping your layout flexible, it also allows you to accommodate for new employees and for changing trends. 

2) Reflect Company Culture in Your Design  

Before you select the layout of your office space, the most important factor to consider is your company culture. What does your company culture stand for?

If you have a company culture that is focused on mindfulness for example, then it is going to make sense to include soft muted colours, Zen furniture and maybe even exercise equipment.

On the other hand, if you have a fast paced office environment and a highly motivated company culture, you may want to favour bold colours and bright furniture. 

By taking into account your company culture in your office design, it will also help you to attract the right kind of employees. 

3) Keep Noise Distractions to a Minimum

Loud noises or distracting noises is one of the most common complaints for employees. 

When planning your office fit out, consider the nosiest areas of your work environment and then try to keep those areas in one section of your office space. 

You may also what to consider installing sound absorbent materials such as carpeting and sound proofing. Having closed cubicles that workers can have access to when they are looking for complete peace and quiet is also a good idea. 

Every company is unique, which is why no two office fit outs are ever the same. 

Before planning your office fit out, take a moment to consider the needs of your employees and what is going to work best for the majority. 

You may not be able to cater to everyone, but with some strategic thinking and planning you can get pretty close.

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4 Budget Friendly Restaurant Design Ideas

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Getting people through the door of your restaurant can be challenging. One thing that can help however, is having an inviting and appealing restaurant design.

When it comes to your restaurant, the overall design and layout is super important and can mean the difference between a dining room full of customers and a dining room that is empty.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend millions upgrading the look of your restaurant. In fact, with just a few simple changes you can bring new life into your restaurant.

Here are 4 budget friendly ways you can update the design of your restaurant-

1) Funky Lighting Fixtures
Changing the lighting in your restaurant can be extremely costly, but simply replacing your lighting fixtures can make a world of difference for much less cost. Choose lighting fixtures that reflect the overall style and theme of your brand, but don’t be afraid to also try something daring. Funky lighting fixtures can make your space look modern and trendy. They can also add dimension and change the overall feel of your dining room. Lighting fixtures are also cheap enough that they can be updated through the years so your restaurant will always be on trend.

2) Low Maintenance Plants
Adding greenery to your restaurant can instantly bring new life into your space and create a vibrant and modern feel. While you definitely don’t want to be bothering with fiddly or hard to keep indoor plants, succulents and other low maintenance plants are a good choice. You can also get creative with the positioning of your plants by hanging them from the ceiling or creating a wall of greenery. You can also place the plants in decorative pots to add more colour and style.

3) Modern Seating
Another quick and easy way to update the look of your restaurant is to change the seats to something more modern and plush. Depending on the style of your restaurant, choose seating that is comfortable and in a matching colour scheme. You can also make a bold choice and go for brightly coloured seats or even stools that stand out from the crowd. If changing your seating is too costly, you can also experiment with adding new seat cushions in an array of matching colours.

4) Local Art
One of the most cost effective ways to decorate your restaurant is to showcase local art. Often artists are happy to lend you their work for free in the hopes that a restaurant customer decides to purchase it. Consider sourcing artists that create work that is aligned with the overall feel and tone of your brand. You can also periodically change up the artwork that you are showcasing to bring a new look to your space.

These 4 affordable and simple changes can make a world of difference to the overall design of your restaurant. Why not give them a try and see how they can help to attract more customers.

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3 Cost Effective Ways to Update the Look of your Office

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Want to update the look of your office but can’t afford a complete revamp?

Having an office that feel fresh, bright and clean is super important to the functioning of your business. Not only does it help to create a more pleasant environment for your clients and customers, but it also helps your employees to stay motivated and energised.

Making your office space feel welcoming is definitely important, but with budget restraints this can be hard to achieve. Especially if you are a small business or start-up, it can feel hard to justify spending huge amounts of money on the layout and design of your office.

While effective office design can improve your business overall, if you can’t quite afford the expense just yet, here are some highly cost effective ways to update the overall look and feel of your office-

  1. Add a Burst of Colour
    It is amazing what adding colour can do to a space. We have seen dreary and drab office spaces completely transformed by the right touch of colour.Colour plays a big role in setting the mood and tone of a room, it has also been shown to influence emotions such as motivation and creativity.

    To bring colour to your office space, think about what mood you would like to create and then choose the corresponding colour. Here is a simple list to get you started-

    Blue-Greys: helps to evoke a feeling of calmness, trust and peacefulness
    Green: helps to evoke feelings of relaxation and motivation
    Yellow: helps to evoke feelings of positivity
    Orange: helps to evoke learning and taking action
    Purple: helps to evoke feelings of luxury

    Once you have decided on the colour that will work best for your company, consider incorporating it into your overall design. This could include-
    • Painting a feature wall
    • Adding desk accessories in your chosen colour
    • Adding office furniture in your chosen colour

  1. Reduce Clutter
    Before you think of adding anything new, first consider clearing the clutter.

    One of the best ways to make your office look clean and modern is to remove all the unnecessary clutter.

    Clutter can instantly make your space feel smaller and can even disrupt productivity. It can also ruin the overall aesthetic of your work space.

    In fact, it is amazing how clearing the clutter can bring new life and energy into your work environment.

    To work out what needs to stay and what needs to go, perhaps make a list of all the main items in your office and their frequency of use. If items are not used that frequently and don’t serve any particular purpose, consider getting rid of them.

    More and more offices are also removing their reception desk and creating inviting waiting areas instead.

  1. Add Real Plants
    Adding plants to your office is a great way to clean the air and bring a liveliness to your space.

    Consider choosing indoor plants that are easy to care for and bring colour and vibrancy to your space.

    A good tip when it comes to placing plants in your office space is to try to create a feeling of symmetry. This will help your office to look more coordinated and organized as well.

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Why Your Office Design Needs to Reflect Your Company Culture

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When it comes to designing your office space, your company culture is extremely important.

You could have the best and latest in office design materials and the most fashionable furniture, but if your office is not a reflection of your brand and the people that work there, it is not likely to leave a very memorable or lasting impression.

Whether your business is big or small, your office design matters, not only for your customers but also for your staff as well.

When you surround your team in an environment that reflects their personality and the personality of your brand, that is when your company can truly thrive.

Just take Google for example, their offices are famous around the world because they include everything from sleep pods to an indoor slide and company bicycles. Facebook is also known for incorporating their company culture into their office space and offer everything from DJ booths to roller skating and lunchtime yoga.

While your company may not have the glamorous budgets of these tech giants, there is something that you can learn from how they have created and built up a solid company culture.

If you are looking to bring more of your company culture into your office design, here are five top questions to consider-

  1. Reflect on the values of your team and your brand. What type of employees, customer or client are you trying to attract? This will help you to determine the overall design and theme of your space.
  1. How do you intend to use your office space? Are meetings and group communication extremely important, or do your employees need space and privacy? This will help you to determine what is most needed in the space and how things should flow.
  1. What overall feel are you looking to create for customers when they walk through the door? See if you can summarise this into 3-5 words. This will help in determining the aesthetic appeal of your space from your customers point of view.
  1. What overall feel are you looking to create for employees when they come to work every day? Again, see if you can summarise this into just 3-5 words. This will help you to cater to the needs of your employees and offer an environment that they feel happy to be a part of.
  1. What does your brand want to be known for or recognised for? How can you incorporate this into the overall look, design and feel of your space? This will help your space to stand out from the crowd and be a true reflection of your company values.

By answering these simple questions, it will help you or your office fit out company, to have a clearer understanding of how to incorporate the overall culture of your brand into your office design plans.

Many businesses that focus on bringing company culture into their office space find that their employees feel more satisfied, and that their brand is more memorable to the customers and clients who stop by.

Design trends are always changing, but if you can focus on your company culture instead, and use this as the main catalyst when designing your space, your office is always going to be in style.

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How to Create a Workspace Millennials will Love

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Millennials are very quickly making up the largest percentage of the workforce. In fact, it has been estimated that by 2020, millennials will make up over 50 percent of the workforce in Australia.

If you want your business to attract the top millennial talent in Australia, then you need to have an office that caters to their lifestyle and desires.

By creating a more millennial friendly environment, your business will not only be ready for the future but it will also help to attract some of the youngest and most influential minds in your industry.

Here are the top design tips when creating a workspace that millennials will love-

  1. Create Collaborative Open Spaces
    The idea of working in a cubical is long gone and is often highly undesirable to millennials. Creating an open work space not only makes your workplace more inviting, but it also helps to improve productivity. When your environment encourages collaboration, it also allows your employees to work together as a team, which can help your business to thrive in the long run. 
  1. Use Ergonomic Furniture that Supports a Healthy Lifestyle
    Ergonomic furniture not only creates a comfortable environment but research has found that it can also reduce employee sick days due to conditions like back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Millennials, like everyone, want to be comfortable at work and have their workspace support a healthy lifestyle. Consider choosing desks that can be adjusted to standing height and offer chairs that are suitable for all shapes and body types.
  1. Embrace Natural Design Elements
    When it comes to attracting millennials, having a well-designed office space that is modern, open, light and airy is key. One of the hottest trends when it comes to office design is using natural elements such as wood panelling, exposed brick and decorating with plants. By incorporating natural design elements, your office will not only look modern but also relaxing.
  1. Use Natural and Accent Lighting
    The use of fluorescent lighting in office spaces is long gone and is especially not attractive for millennials. Fluorescent lighting has also been linked to migraines, headaches, eye strain, anxiety and stress. Opt for natural lighting instead by having large open windows and skylights. If natural lighting is not possible, consider accent lighting using soft yellow to soft white hues.
  1. Offer a Recreation Room or Staff Space
    While not all office spaces are large enough to accommodate a recreational room, having an inviting staff space where employees can relax on their breaks is a great idea. Consider including staples like a coffee machine and fridge, and then adding some bonuses like bean bags, a small basketball hoop, massage chair, a juicer or even workout equipment. Small touches like these can go a long way to making your workspace inviting and fun.
  1. Limit Distractions
    Even though the average millennial prefers having an open work space, providing a quiet, distraction free work environment is also important. Consider creating private work spaces using dividing partitions where employees can come to really concentrate and focus. By creating flexible spaces within your work environment, it helps to cater to all the needs of your staff, which allows them to get more work done in far less time.

By taking into consideration these 6 millennial friendly design ideas, your office will be well and truly ready for the next generation.

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How to Optimise the Layout of your Retail Store

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Having a retail store that looks clean, fresh and inviting is important for attracting customers and making sales, but what is even more important is your layout.

Numerous studies have shown that the layout of your retail store from product displays to the flow of counters and aisles, all influence the behaviour of your customers.

When customers feel cramped or inconvenienced by the layout of a store they are less likely to carry through with sale. On the other hand however, if customers feel welcomed and find navigating the store a breeze, they are more likely to carry through with a sale.

The placement of things in your retail store has a lot to do with aesthetics but also psychology. There are certain proven psychological factors that can influence a customer’s decision and being aware of this can help when it comes to planning your fitout.

Here are some of the top tips and tricks to keep in mind when planning your retail fitout –

  1. Choose a store layout that works for your business: the grid layout is the most popular when it comes to retail design, but does this actually work for your brand? You may also want to consider a loop layout or a free flowing layout. What you choose depends on your brand and the overall experience that you wish customers to have when they enter your store.
  1. Put your most important merchandise to the right of the entrance: in one study it was found that consumers most frequently turn to the right when they enter a store. To use this to your advantage, put your most attention grabbing or important merchandise to the right of the entrance and at eye level.
  1. Create an intention grabbing store display: creating an eye-catching store display is important for attracting attention. The best place to do this is in the window of your store. Use this space to create a display that showcases your products and your creativity.
  1. Minimise the use of counters: counters create a barrier between the customers and the staff. Psychologically, this can make customers feel held back from approaching staff and from making a sale. Minimise counters as much as possible and think of creative ways to make your register area seem inviting. This could be done through using plants, art and so on.
  1. Have adequate aisle space: if customers have to squeeze through tight aisles or feel cramped when looking for an item, they are likely to lose interest and give up. One study found that even if a customer really wanted an item, they wouldn’t buy it if they had to squeeze past another customer in order to get it.
  1. Maintain good visibility: all parts of your store should be clearly visible. Avoid having cluttered back corners or areas of your store that are segregated from the rest. This helps to reduce shop lifting and also makes your store feel more organised.
  1. Create speed bumps: in order to avoid your customers moving past your products without looking, create speed bumps. These are standing displays or single displays that cause your customers to slow down and look around. These “speed bumps” can be anything from signs to special displays and even discount bins.

By keeping these top tips in mind it will not only to help you create a beautiful retail store layout but one that is also primed for making more sales.

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5 Office Partition Ideas You May Not Have Considered

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Office partitioning gives your employees their own private space but can also create a stuffy and stagnant feel.

If you want to include office partitions as part of your office furniture plan but want to ensure an open and airy feel to your office environment, there are some dividers out there that can give you the best of both worlds.

Here are five of the latest office partition ideas from around the world that you may not have yet considered for your office design-

  1. The Bene Nice Wall

The Bene Nice wall is frameless and can be produced up to 30 meters in length. Bene Nice walls are interactive, which means that they can be great for conferences and group meetings. They are also a great option for brainstorming ideas and taking notes as they actually allow you to write and create graphs and flowcharts. Bene Nice Walls are also a good option for creative design and collaborative spaces.  

  1. The Steelcase Privacy Wall

Steelcase Privacy Walls offer a flexible solution and allow you to create private meeting rooms or executive offices easily. In fact, these walls are a great option for those looking for an easy and hassle free partitioning wall. Steelcase Privacy Walls are also easy to take down and put back up when needed, making them a great choice in leased spaces as well. As an added bonus, these walls are made from 30 percent recycled material and look extremely impressive and modern in any office space.

  1. BuzziWings

These room dividers are attached to the ceiling at a 90-degree angle and are designed to section off large areas with ease. These “wings” hang from the ceiling and do not touch the ground, giving the room a light, open and airy feel. Even though this partition does not touch the ground, it still offers privacy and can also help to regulate the acoustics of the room. These “wings” are a great idea for separating co-workers without making them feel isolated or trapped behind closed doors.

  1. Vitra Workbays

Workbays are a great alternative to a traditional office partition and even provide seating, storage and power outlets as well. Think of these workbays like a transportable office nook that you can easily shift and move around the room.

Workbays are great for creating privacy and peace and quiet within the office while still providing an open feel. They can be customised to offer more or less privacy and are also available in a range of bright colours and textures so you can customize how they look in your space.

  1. IdeaPaint

Want a wall that also doubles as a whiteboard? IdeaPaint offers office partitions that double as a writeable surface. IdeaPaint was first developed to be used in schools but they are now also starting to become a popular fixture in office spaces as well. The IdeaPaint walls are great for sectioning off board rooms, conference rooms and creative spaces.

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6 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Restaurant Fitout

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The feel and design of your dining room is immensely important to have a successful restaurant.

From the moment your guests walk in the door to the moment they leave, your space is influencing their decisions and creating an atmosphere that is either enjoyable and comforting or unwelcoming and cold.

We have been helping clients to design restaurants for years and have learnt what works and what definitely doesn’t.

Here are 6 of the most common mistakes to avoid when designing your restaurant fitout-

 

  1. Cluttered Entrance
    The door to your restaurant should be open and inviting. It should also be easy to find and have a clear line to the host stand or cash register.The front entrance should also be kept free of clutter and there should be ample storage for things like menus, pens and so on. If possible, avoid having tables right in the front of the restaurant too, as this can also create a cluttered look and may feel uncomfortable or distracting for guests.
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  3. Placing Tables in High Traffic Areas
    When working with a small space it can be tempting to cram in as many tables in as possible, but this is not necessarily the best solution. Having a well thought out floor plan is extremely important not just for the guests but also for the staff.Avoid placing tables in high traffic areas and ensure that there is enough space for wait staff to move in and around the tables.
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  5. Exposed Service Areas
    No one wants to be seated next to the rubbish bin or dirty dishes. When these things are visible from a table, it creates a negative customer experience and it can also be a health hazard. When designing your restaurant, ensure areas like the trash or dirty dishes are kept towards the back and away from the viewpoint of your customers. While having an open kitchen is sometimes a good idea, exposed dirty dishes and rubbish bins are not.
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  7. Adequate Space for Storage
    Many restaurants underestimate just how much storage space they are going to need. Having ample storage space especially in the kitchen is so important, as without it, food is more likely to get lost or turn bad. Poor storage also slows down kitchen staff, which can also have a negative effect on your profits.
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  9. Poor Lighting
    Depending on the restaurant atmosphere you are trying to create, your lighting needs may be different. One mistake that we consistently see with restaurants looking to create a darker and more romantic atmosphere, is that the restaurant often looks closed to people passing by. To avoid this happening, you can’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach for your whole restaurant. Instead, you need to adjust the lighting for the areas of your restaurant depending on how the space is being used.
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  11. Adequate Signage
    Having a clear sign on the exterior of your business is so important. In fact, research has found that improper signage can cost a business as much as $1 million per year in potential revenue. By having a clear sign that is easy to read and stands out from the crowd, your restaurant is more likely to gain attraction and be easy for guests to find.

 
With the right planning, avoiding these mistakes is easy and will make a world of difference to having a successful restaurant.