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Running a Restaurant/spacing for customers at restaurants


i am having difficulty here. Some people say 12 square feet per person others say 6 by 8 ect. I am very confused as i am planning to buy a restaurant however i am just a chef. I have very good support, but it seems every person i ask has a different opinion. Some say oh you wont need staff until you get up and running then you can relax a bit and just take profits, are they insane?! seriously hoe many people could one person cook for?. Doing figures based on that space, to make a profit I would be looking to serve only $8 people a sitting on the space i have and how do you get more than one sitting doing it with one chef, two waitresses who could help in kitchen and a bar tender. Am i crazy? ps granddad had restaurant years ago and lost it. so when my dad discovered i loved cooking he wanted to reinvent the old restaurant in granddads name. under pressure please advise.

Hello Linda,

Thanks for the question. In the States the local government sets the occupancy for any space - from the number of exits/fire aisleways/loos. In most cases, I have used between 13 (squeezed) and 18 (roomy) sq feet to figure seating, but it depends upon if you are talking about banquet/counter/4 tops/duce seating.

I'm guessing that you are planning on being a full-service restaurant and it sounds like you are proceeding without a fully realized business plan. PLEASE DON'T DO THAT! Slow down - find out answers to all your questions and ask many more before you open a restaurant - it's not only about the cooking - you have to be able to run a business. You actually need "know-how" not just "guess-how" to dilute the "pressure" coming your way.

The below links may be helpful -

Great luck!


Running a Restaurant

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Chase LeBlanc


I am the author of the new book, HIGH IMPACT HOSPITALITY: Upgrade Your Purpose, Performance and Profits! I am also the founder and CEO of Leadagers LLC (leaders who manage, managers who lead, "leed/i/jers") a hospitality industry consultancy. Our primary focus is in upgrading the purpose, performance and profits of restaurants, bars, food & beverage outlets and/or nightclubs. We have expertise in operations, start-ups, training, in-house leadership development and positive customer service experiences. 720.269.9537


My 30+ year hospitality career started as owner/operator of a nightclub development and management company. After successfully selling that business, I led within a variety of national and global operations as General Manager and multi-unit Regional Manager and I have also served corporations as Vice President and President. My extremely broad range of experiences includes leading training stores, entertainment complexes, fine dining establishments, high-volume theme restaurants, quick-service restaurants, dance/night clubs, comedy clubs, college taverns, dueling piano bars, pizzerias, high-volume sportís bars, live music showrooms, retail stores and gift shops, fast-food concessions, catering/banquet facilities and high-volume arcades.

"Staffing Doctor" columnist for Hotel F&B Magazine Top 10 - Core Hospitality - Quick Serve Leader - Wise Words - Inside F&B And have been a featured blogger for In addition to my new book High Impact Hospitality, I have been a contributing writer for and/or my properties have been featured in Cheers, F&B, Food Service News, Hot Spots America, Military Club & Hospitality, Nationís Restaurant News, Night Club & Bar and Top Shelf.

Attended the University of Colorado for three years and left to open my first nightclub at the age of 21.

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