The industry standard for adequate table room is 300 square inches per diner. For example, for fast food and standard cafe dining, an average table dimension might be
30" X 42", or 1260 square inches. Divide that number by the previously mentioned 300 square inches
per diner, and you theoretically have sufficient table space for four persons.
However, there are other factors involved in determining this figure, such as the menu and dining style. Some menus require more square inches to accomodate more utensils, plates, and service. Another example would be in the case of cafeteria trays being used. A family-style dining experience, or ethnic dining such as Mexican or Asian, require room for more plates. Table size is a critical factor in determining the likelyhood your customers will have a pleasant and comfortable dining experience. Tables that are too small will drive customers away with terrible reviews of your establishment.
As a restaurant owner or manager, your desire is to be able to have seating and table space which accomodates the most people, without having a crowded room. Also, a well-designed combination of sizes of tables can decrease wait time for diners. Traffic flow is also a critical consideration, since congestion in high-traffic areas will increase noise, accidents, and slow down your overall turn-over. Below, we have designed a few examples of seating layouts as a starting block for your design process.