DISCLAIMER: This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You are responsible for your own compliance with laws and regulations. You should contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.
Whether you’ll be serving up New York-style pies, elevated wood-fired creations, or cheesy Chicago deep dish, your pizzeria’s floor plan should be accessible and easy to navigate for all customers. Many states require that you submit blueprints for building permits, making this step a necessity.
When you design your pizzeria’s floor plan, you’re setting your business up for long-term success. Use this guide to design a smart restaurant floor plan that meets all the building codes for your area.
What is a Pizzeria Floor Plan?
Floor plans are maps of the physical space of the restaurant. Every inch of space in your pizzeria should be accounted for, both indoors and outdoors. That’s because – ultimately – the floor plan is a visualization of how your pizzeria will look and feel, guiding the layout of the physical space.
Floor plans require a little bit of creativity and research – they must balance your vision with the accessibility of the space. How your guests and servers will navigate your pizzeria is just as important as the ambiance and experience.
A pizzeria floor plan should include:
- The kitchen
- A wet bar
- Prep areas
- An ordering queue or waiting area
- Dining and seating areas
- Staff areas, offices, and break rooms
- Your pizzeria’s POS system and cashier stations
- Dish area(s)
- Emergency Exits
- Accurate measurements of the space
Options for Creating a Pizzeria Floor Plan
There are two options for designing your pizzeria’s floor plans and blueprints – you can do some research (which we’ve started here for you) and use software, or hire a design studio.
If you want to take a shot at do-it-yourself floor plans, don’t stress about being an architect or artist. Software will make designing your pizzeria’s floor plans simple. SmartDraw, ConceptDraw, or CadPro are all user-friendly software that can create a custom blueprint for your pizzeria.
Hiring a design studio, if it’s within your budget, can help you to bring a focused, consistent aesthetic vision to life. The designer will collaborate with you to craft an intuitive guest experience with a curated ambiance.
Take some time to brainstorm and go into the design process with an idea of how you want your pizzeria to look, feel, and function. Where will the kitchen be? Where will guests place orders? As you brainstorm, consider the accessibility of your proposed layout for all guests and employees.
Accessibility Requirements for Pizzeria Floor Plans
States and municipalities have building codes that public buildings must adhere to. Complying with building codes guarantees that your pizzeria is accessible to all guests. But, as architect Justin Alpert says, adhering to building codes is the bare minimum – think about how you might design a space that works for everyone, not just “the average customer.”
When designing your floor plan, take inspiration from the humans that will use the space. Employing the principles of human-centered design not only results in beautiful, usable pizzeria spaces but can also lead to more customer engagement. As you start designing, answer this question – how can you engage your community with the design of your pizzeria?
The answer will all depend on you, your community, and your vision!
How to Create a Pizzeria Blueprint and Floor Plan
Whether you’re working with a designer or doing it yourself, it’s important to start with a clear idea. This guide will help you to start the process. Consider these design principles as you formulate a pizzeria floor plan.
Floor Plan Design Best Practices:
Design accessible spaces with your customers in mind. Consider both your guests’ and employees' needs as well as local building codes.
Include ample space for your guests while they wait in line to order or, if your pizzeria has table service, while they wait for a table.
Create an intuitive flow of service so that customers aren’t confused by how your pizzeria functions.
Factor in where your employees will be working. This includes identifying where POS systems will exist to efficiently conduct transactions and communicate with the kitchen.
Consider how the floor plan works for the theme and ambiance of your pizzeria.
Pizzeria Kitchen Floor Plan
Whether your pizza joint is a counter-service by-the-slice affair or a full-service culinary experience, the kitchen is a primary consideration in your floor plan. Be sure to budget enough space for the large commercial or wood-fired ovens that’ll be the cornerstone of your business.
If you have limited space, use it wisely. Time, quality, and, eventually, profits are sacrificed when there’s not enough space for your employees to work efficiently.
Large pizza ovens produce a lot of heat. Be sure to provide adequate ventilation and/or open space so that your employees can work in comfort.
Wet Bar Floor Plan
Many full-service pizzerias have bars – don’t let yours be an afterthought. Encourage the community to gather at your pizzeria’s bar for brews and pies during big games. Or, create an elevated space with cocktails that compliment your complex culinary creations.
Plan your bar with bartenders in mind – you might even consult local bartenders or a trusted employee in the layout of your bar. Create a seamless workspace that’s enjoyable to use by thinking of production and service in every aspect of the design.
For instance, where will bartenders interact with guests? Where will they hand drinks off to servers for table service?
Staff Area Floor Plan
Staff areas (such as offices and break rooms) should always be included in your floor plans. Be sure to set aside back-of-house space for your managers to complete administrative tasks and for all of your staff to take breaks.
Entrance Floor Plan
The entrance to your restaurant is the first impression customers will get of your restaurant, so it must be a good one.
In a full-service pizzeria, be sure to create enough space for guests to wait to be seated. You might also designate a place for customers to wait for take-out orders.
In a counter-service pizzeria, prioritize the pathway for guests to order. You can place the ordering counter near the entrance, or guide your customers there with signs or creative architectural elements.
The location of your pizzeria is also a factor in the entrance floor plans. In an area with lots of foot traffic (like a mall or shopping center), you might not need as much of a waiting area as you would if you were a stand-alone restaurant.
Dining Room Floor Plan
In a full-service or even counter-service pizzeria, the dining room will drive the build of the guest experience. Design a dining room in which the layout and decor match the aesthetic of your pizzeria’s brand. Equally important is that the dining room is open and accessible to all guests.
Are you aiming for a classic by-the-slice joint, a busy, trippy adventure, or an elevated and sleek pizzeria experience? The choice you make for your floor plan all depends on the kind of pizzeria you’re trying to create.
One big factor to consider is the local pizza culture and style. What kind of pizza is popular in your area? What expectations will your community have for the pizzeria? How will your joint stand out from the crowd? These questions can help you develop a smart floor plan that supports your pizzeria's success.
How Much Seating Should a Pizzeria Have?
To understand your seating plan, consider the industry standard for space. According to Total Food Service, it’s a 60/40 model – 60% of the space is used for guests (and seating) and 40% is used for prep, the bar, and the kitchen.
Another critical step is calculating the maximum occupancy of your space depending on local building codes. These will vary by pizzeria type and location, but we suggest the following capacity per guest in these types of restaurants (local COVID guidelines may further restrict these calculations:)
Full-Service Restaurant Dining: 12-15 square feet
Counter Service: 18-20 square feet
Fast Food: 11-14 square feet
Let’s give an example using the suggested capacity above. A 3200 square foot pizzeria would have 1,920 square feet of space for guests, and the capacity for a counter service pizzeria would be 106 customers. Each guest would have approximately 18 square feet of space.
Offering guests more space is usually a good idea. Spacing tables further apart and creating wide lanes for traffic is a great way to make your bakery accessible to people with disabilities. Plus, a study by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration found that guests are more generous with their spending if they have more personal space.
Outdoor Seating Floor Plan
If you have the luxury of outdoor space, maximize it. A nice patio can attract a different niche of customers to your pizzeria and drive additional sales and profits. On the other hand, outdoor space that’s out of the way or hard to find can slow service. This could lead to both guests and employees not wanting to use the additional space. To avoid this, design a floor plan that makes the space easy to access for guests and servers.
Restrooms Floor Plan
Believe it or not, restrooms are a deciding factor in many people’s choice of pizzerias and restaurants, according to a survey by Zogby International. Designing restrooms that are big enough for all guests and easy to find from dining areas will create an attractive edge to your pizzeria. Avoid requiring guests to move through staff areas to reach the restroom.
Cashier and POS Station Floor Plan
The POS is the center of your pizzeria – it’s how your cashiers or servers communicate with cooks and bartenders, keeping track of all of your restaurant’s operations.
Place POS stations strategically around your restaurant so that your employees can access them conveniently. Situate them near the dining room. You may want to invest in handheld POS devices that your servers can use tableside. They’ll appreciate the reduced legwork! In a counter-service pizzeria, be sure to create enough POS stations to keep the line moving.
Emergency Exits Floor Plan
Pizzerias, like all restaurants, must be prepared for emergencies. Use design software to plan the fastest, safest routes out of the restaurant, and be sure to mark external exits clearly. Once your floor plan is completed, be sure to communicate the routes to your staff and clearly mark external exits for customers.
Executing Your Pizzeria’s Floor Plans
Once you craft your pizzeria’s detailed blueprints and floor plans, it's time to start turning your plans into a reality. Plumbers, architects, electricians, designers, artists, and your staff can all assist you in building the pizzeria of your dreams.
Consulting an interior designer can help you to achieve the specific ambiance and experience you want for your customers. They can guide you through painting, decorating, and purchasing furniture that’s functional for your space and suits your pizzeria’s aesthetic.
Installing light fixtures in a commercial space should be done by an electrician to be sure it’s up to code – the same goes for plumbing and any structural changes you want to make. Trade professionals can make sure your pizzeria is up to code and safe for operation.
It’ll also be important to work with city, county, and state officials for all the proper permits for building and blueprints. If possible, maintain good working relationships with the employees in the permit office – they’ll be sure that your blueprints and any changes get approved on time.