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. 

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  1. #1 by Gaurav on April 15, 2012 - 11:06 am

    I’m supposed to design a cafeteria and I am supposed to make a Literature Study. What does this study contain? What am i supposed to do?

    • #2 by BenzuJK on June 29, 2012 - 6:02 am

      Literature study means collecting information about the existing Cafeterias from books and online material. It also includes studying and understanding the design features to be incorporated in Cafeteria design.

    • #3 by Soum on January 19, 2013 - 10:47 am

      hey Gaurav can you help me with the literature case study of cafeteria? Anything would be helpful! thanx! 🙂

  2. #4 by eyitemi lucas itse-elijah on October 17, 2012 - 2:14 pm

    how does it help in designing a 3 tier cafeteria?

    • #5 by BenzuJK on November 17, 2012 - 9:28 am

      It does not matter how many floors you are designing. Space calculations and requirements are the most important here. The article presents the thumb rules for the design of cafeteria.

  3. #6 by Vidyadhari on November 2, 2012 - 6:39 pm

    well. your article has helped me getting an idea on how to design a cefeteria.


    • #7 by BenzuJK on November 17, 2012 - 9:16 am

      Hello Vidyadhari,
      We are glad that our articles have been of help to you. We look forward putting up more of design related articles. Keep visiting 🙂

  4. #8 by desiderio Manolo on December 27, 2012 - 10:04 pm

    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…

  5. #9 by sandeep motgi on February 13, 2013 - 7:32 pm

    Very brief and important. Thankyou!

  6. #10 by Corina on April 8, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    what type of architecture would a cafeteria fall under?

  7. #11 by sanket on June 15, 2014 - 3:13 pm

    i want to design cafeteria for community centre…
    Plz help me out…

  8. #12 by Shivam on August 30, 2015 - 8:50 am

    Heu , can you please help me to design a small cafeteria for 15-20 peoples , i mean the dimensions of kitchen , store , serving area , etc

  9. #13 by Honey on October 20, 2015 - 5:21 pm

    What are the objectives we should keep in mind while designing cafeteria ?

  10. #14 by Moses method on November 14, 2015 - 10:41 am

    I want to design cafeteria for the university students which can serve 400 students at a time. I need your help.

    • #15 by Hafiz Siddique on August 28, 2018 - 2:54 pm

      Cafy design for 260 person

      Guide me in this regard

  11. #16 by Lekha on November 17, 2015 - 1:24 am

    This article really got me a basic idea to design a cafeteria.thank you

  12. #17 by Mohsin on May 14, 2016 - 4:55 pm

    An informative and useful site.

  13. #18 by fathima on July 10, 2016 - 10:22 am

    what all spaces are required for a fast food kiosk ? i wanted to design a fast food kiosk in a college i need ur help …

    • #19 by BenzuJK on July 19, 2016 - 3:48 pm

      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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