Cafeteria Design Guide | Architectural Design

Design considerations for a Cafeteria | Architectural Design Guide

We all know what a Cafeteria is like.

It is a hangout place where we all have tea, coffee and some snacks. That is all that the place provides.

Why is it important to know the function of the structure you are designing?

At the beginning of your Architectural course, you might not be very well versed with understanding the importance of  studying the function of the structure before you would want to design it.

Cafeteria in a Corporate Office
Cafeteria in a Corporate Office


Step by step guide to designing a cafeteria:

Here, we will discuss the detailed steps to be followed in order to design a cafeteria.

Step One:

Visit a cafeteria. Are you finding it strange?? Well, you are bound to find it weird since you have visited the cafeteria like a thousand times.

But, this time when you visit the cafeteria, perceive it with an Architect’s point of view.

For now, you are an architecture student but you will soon become an Architect.

Alright now, let’s come to the point.

On your visit to a cafeteria, you have to do the following things:

1. Study and jot down the spaces in the Cafeteria

Here is the list of some of the important spaces of a cafeteria that you might see around:

  • Seating area – enclosed space
  • Seating area – semi-enclosed space
  • Kitchen
  • Counter area (where you would have the display of various snacks you would like to have.)
  • A refrigerator (for ice-creams and cold drinks)
  • A store room (very important)
  • A decorated entrance foyer
  • Some natural and artificial plantations to make the interior space look greener and livelier.

2. Approximate calculation of spaces you just jotted down.

3. Analyze the number of persons that can fit in the cafeteria at a time and then divide it with the approximate area you have calculated for different spaces.

For example:

Seating area = 6m x 10m = 60sqm

Number of persons that can be accommodated = 50

Area per person = 60/50 = 1.2sqm

Seating style = round tables with 5 chairs each.

(Also, try to figure out if better arrangement of chairs could have made a difference. Try to be creative.)

4. Talk to the owner of the cafeteria and ask him if the area provided in the kitchen and store is sufficient to run the cafeteria with ease.

 If he is of the opinion that the space is sufficient enough for the efficient functioning of the cafeteria; then you can calculate area per person for every space in the cafeteria.

For example:

Kitchen = 3mx4m = 12sqm

Store = 3mx3m = 9sqm

Area per person (Kitchen) = 12/50 = 0.24sqm

Area per person (Store) = 0.18sqm

Also, try to make a circulation map. This will give you an idea as to how different spaces have been connected together.

How will calculating “Area per person” help in designing the cafeteria?

By calculating the area per person, you can design the cafeteria for as many people as you want.

For example:

Area per person for Kitchen of a Cafeteria = 0.24sqm

For 100 persons, the area will be = 0.24 x 100 = 24sqm

That means, to serve a crowd of 100 persons at a time, the area of the cafeteria required to be designed will be 24sqm.

Similar calculations have to be done for other spaces in the cafeteria.

Step two:

Study of one more cafeteria in a similar fashion has to be done.

Comparative study always helps. You could study and analyze the design elements used in the cafe apart from studying the functionality and circulation of spaces.

Calculate the areas in the same way as we have discussed above and perform a comparative analysis of the two casestudies.

This is a foolproof method to design in the right way to serve the right purpose.

Step three:

Shapes and Forms for Cafeteria Design

Cafeteria is a non-formal space. Hence, you can use your wild imagination to design the cafeteria. You can experiment with organic forms, rectangular boxes or any other geometrical figures in plan and elevation.

Preferably, try to keep the plan simple and experiment with the exterior of the structure. That makes more sense. Keeping the plan simple will help you keep up the efficiency of the function of the Cafeteria.

Other factors to be taken into consideration:

Also, check out:
Design ideas for Cafeteria Design 

So, with this we come to the end of the discussion on the “Design of a Cafeteria”.

Do leave a comment if you have liked the article and you are welcome if would like to share your point of view in design. 

19 thoughts on “Cafeteria Design Guide | Architectural Design”

  1. Hi I’m doing school design and I’m having difficulty on finding ways to design the cafeteria and allocating the proper size area.. Is there an appropriate way to calculate the maximum capacity of a school cafeteria? thanks! I’ll be waiting for your reply…

    • Hello Fathima,
      Designing a fast food kiosk is very simple. there are not many spaces within a Kiosk. You would need hot food preparation area, cold storage and a counter.

      I hope that helps.

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