Restaurant Industry Trend: The Move Towards a More Upscale Look

Restaurant Industry Trend: The Move Towards a More Upscale Look

According to, the average restaurant possesses a lifespan that barely exceeds five years, with nearly 90 percent of independently owned restaurants closing their doors within the first year. The factors that lead to the rash of restaurant closings include stale menus, lack of leadership, and poor operational execution. One factor goes virtually unnoticed, yet it represents the best way for restaurants to reinvigorate their operations.

By redesigning your restaurant, you send a clear message that guests immediately notice.

Not Just for Independent Restaurants

To stay abreast of the large chains, independent restaurants must continually redefine their operations. Many independent restaurant owners redesign their restaurants to correspond with new menu items or an expansion of space. However, as recent news indicates, large chains have joined independents by implementing varied redesign strategies. After founder Dave Thomas passed away, Wendy’s began a slide that caused the closing of stores in several large markets. The company not only revamped the menu to include healthier choices, it also redesigned the interior and exterior of its stores to signal the next phase in the company’s growth. Other chains that have launched store redesigns since 2000 include McDonald’s, TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, and Ruby Tuesday.

Benefits of Restaurant Redesigns

How much does an enhanced appearance benefit restaurants? Redesigns remove dull, outdated designs, most of which were part of a restaurant’s opening. Restaurants that create a more visually appealing ambiance can expect employee morale to improve. Restaurant workers love the energy that redesigns bring to restaurant operations. When restaurant owners redesign their restaurant interior and exterior, as well as augment patio design, they typically benefit from a significant increase in customer counts and customers who spend more because they enjoy the revitalized ambiance. Moreover, restaurant owners can expect to enjoy more business during slower weeknights, instead of having to rely on weekend traffic to pay the bills.

Successful Restaurant Redesign Strategies

Restaurant operators can implement a number of redesign strategies that increase foot traffic. The three areas that receive the most attention include the interior, exterior, and patio.


Removing a spaghetti sauce stain from a dining room wall does not constitute a restaurant interior redesign. Restaurant operators should consider a number of strategies that rekindle the energy of opening day. New color schemes can start the interior redesign process, but a more impactful approach involves replacing tables and banquets, as well as hanging vibrant art pieces and placing unique trinkets throughout the restaurant. Perhaps the most dramatic restaurant facelift involves changing a closed kitchen into an open kitchen.


First impressions are often the only impressions that restaurant guests make. The exterior of your restaurant is where most of your customers make their first and only impressions. Restaurant exterior redesigns include replacing antiquated signage with more aesthetically appealing signs. Restaurant operators can alter the appearance of landscaping by adding a small fountain or removing tired vegetation and replacing it with multi-colored plants. Exterior redesigns can simply involve repaving the parking lot.


Outdoor dining represents bonus revenue, especially for operators who run restaurants in seasonal climates. However, many operators pull out the same furniture each spring for their al fresco-dining guests. You do not have to invest in new patio furniture every year, but you should consider a change every other year or at least add furniture to complement the patio furniture that you already have. Restaurant patio redesigns can also include the addition of a bar, installation of ceiling fans, and sound walls to enhance diner experiences.

It’s no secret that the successful restaurants pride themselves on great interior, exterior and patio design – atmosphere is priceless. When done correctly, restaurants can enjoy the benefits of increased foot traffic, larger revenue per table and a more consistent flow of customers.

CabanaCoast is home to our wide range of products that can help redefine the norm of simple restaurant patio furniture. There’s something for everyone looking for a chic, modern or lavish rebranding, or for someone looking for the more casual, high-fashion look.